UO Athletics Committee member arrested after posting video of meeting.

Video and interview with the recently released perp here.

Oh wait, that was at the Supreme Court last Wednesday – apparently it’s the first time in history that anyone has managed to get video from inside the court. The SCOTUS arrested the protestor, then according to this NYU law blog, deleted all references to the protest and arrest from the minutes of their proceedings. (Thanks to UO Journalism Prof and First Amendment Chair Kyu Ho Youm’s excellent twitter feed for the link.)

So, what about UO’s Intercollegiate Athletics Committee? At its most recent meeting Chair Rob Illig (Law) and Senate President Margie Paris (Law) launched an attack on IAC member Bill Harbaugh (me), claiming I was responsible for the Athletic Department’s lack of trust in the committee’s willingness to keep the Ducks peculiar finances and activities as secret as they would like them to be.

The minutes of the meeting detailing this attack and the objections to it raised by myself and other IAC members, which were kept by an athletic department employee, are supposed to be made public. So I asked Illig for a copy. No answer. Other IAC members also asked. Eventually Illig sent his response: He will not release the minutes of any IAC meetings.

OK Professor Illig, let’s go there:

Dear UO Public Records Officer Thornton:

It seems strange that the member of a Senate committee should have to make a public records request in order to see the minutes of a meeting of that committee, but that seems to be the message Professor Illig is sending in his email below.

Therefore, this is a public records request for a copy of the any notes taken by AD employee Colleen Morgan during IAC meetings this academic year.

I ask for a fee waiver on the basis of public interest.

As IAC chair, Illig’s charge is to report on the following to the UO Senate in writing by Monday, and then answer questions on Wednesday, in public and on video:

a) issues related to student athlete welfare;

b) priorities for the athletics department (and the relation of these priorities to the university mission);

c) the financial status of the athletics department;

d) planned expansion, remodeling or removal of athletics facilities;

e) changes in the status of sports teams;

f) changes in facilities management that might affect the university community;

g) any major violations by the athletics department, and their resolutions;

h) possible roles for faculty governing bodies to assure that academic policies and practices are consistent with supporting the intellectual growth and academic success of student athletes and the viability of athletics as an integral part of campus life;

i) any others topics the athletics director deems relevant to the university community.

(2) The chair of the IAC shall provide an annual report to the University Senate during spring term.  This report should cover IAC involvement on the issues stated above and an assessment of the consistency of athletic policies and practices with the academic mission of the university.

Illig hasn’t pursued any of these matters, so it should be a short report.

What do we need to do to make the IAC chair do his job? Legislation. On Wednesday the Senate will vote on the following motion:

The Senate Directs the IAC to Report on UO’s Academic Support for Student Athletes

1.1 WHEREAS, the issue of the academic opportunities and outcomes of student-athletes is of longstanding concern, dating to a 1905 White House meeting by (U.S.) President Theodore Roosevelt that led to the creation of the NCAA’s predecessor organization[i], and as most recently demonstrated at the University of North Carolina, where a professor has been indicted by a grand jury on charges of  providing sham courses to student-athletes[ii]; and

1.2 WHEREAS the University of Oregon’s Intercollegiate Athletics Committee’s charge includes the duty to

“Promote and safeguard opportunities for student athletes to excel in academics and protect and ensure the academic integrity of student athletes”[iii]

; and

1.3 WHEREAS the UO Athletic Department and/or the Jaqua Center have required that UO student-athletes take classes taught and graded by Athletic Department employees, which from the syllabus do not appear to meet UO’s regular academic standards[iv], which were not submitted to the Senate’s Committee on Courses according to the regular 2-year timeline for new courses, and which were rejected when finally submitted for review[v]; and

1.4 WHEREAS the UO Athletic Department and/or the Jaqua Center have also steered student-athletes into at least one course offered only to student-athletes, in which all those taking the course for a grade were given a grade of A+; and

1.5 WHEREAS this fall the IAC interviewed several former UO student-athletes about their concerns about the academic and career support services they had received from the Jaqua Center, but did not pursue their concerns, or make any report to the Senate, or make any proposals for improvements[vi]; and

1.6 WHEREAS other universities have conducted outside reviews of their academic support for student-athletes, including statistical information on qualifications, academic performance, responses of student-athletes to survey questions, and recommendations for improvements[vii] ; and

1.7 WHEREAS in contrast the UO’s most recent review of support for student-athletes is an internal review, conducted in 2012 by an administrator who (as near as can be determined from the redacted response to a public records request made by the Register Guard[viii]) is not independent of the athletic department, and whose review does not include any analysis of academic qualifications, performance, or career outcomes, or any interviews with student-athletes, or any recommendations for improvements[ix].

Section II:

2.1 BE IT HEREBY MOVED that the University Senate establishes an ad hoc “Student-Athlete Success Committee” comprised of IAC members and other Senate constituents, charged with conducting a review of UO’s academic services for student-athletes, with a focus on how to improve these services, and the academic and career outcomes of student-athletes; and

2.2 BE IT FURTHERMORE MOVED that this committee’s report shall include:

1) an analysis of the academic qualifications and educational and career outcomes of student-athletes,

2) surveys and interviews of current and former student-athletes, including questions about their academic experience at UO, the academic support services they have received at the Jaqua Center including questions about academic advising and support, support for post-graduation job searches, and outcomes,

3) surveys of current and former UO admissions employees and Jaqua Center staff and tutors about these matters,


2.3 BE IT FURTHERMORE MOVED that the Senate requests that the UO Administration provide any necessary assistance for these analyses and surveys; and

2.4 BE IT FURTHERMORE MOVED that the Senate President form the membership of this committee, to be approved by vote of the Senate by the end of its current term, with a report to follow at the first meeting of the winter session of the 2014-2015 academic year.

[i] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Collegiate_Athletic_Association

[ii] http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/01/sports/as-for-athletes-but-charges-of-tar-heel-fraud.html

[iii] http://committees.uoregon.edu/iac

[iv] https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/971644/uomatters/IAC/SAPP/FHS199 Syllabus 2012.docx

[v] http://committees.uoregon.edu/sites/committees.uoregon.edu/files/FINAL-Spring_Report-%285-22-13%29.pdf

[vi] This year’s IAC minutes are missing or were never taken, according to an email to the IAC from chair Rob Illig (Law).

[vii]  E.g. the University of Washington report athttps://www.washington.edu/uaa/downloads/StudentAthleteAcademicServicesEvaluationAndReview2009.pdf

[viii] https://uomatters.com/2013/08/special-agent-lorraine-daviss-secret.html

[ix] https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/971644/uomatters/IAC/SSA Report  2- 2012 _ Final.docx

William Harbaugh (Economics), Senator

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One Response to UO Athletics Committee member arrested after posting video of meeting.

  1. Hopeful says:

    This is long overdue. Let’s rally, Senators. Real change is not happening any other way.

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