UO’s well paid NCAA FAR Jim O’Fallon, and his explanation for why UO students should spend their tuition money subsidizing athlete-only tutoring, is not getting much respect. In the RG, here:
Free up money by cutting teams
The University of Oregon president and the UO Board of Trustees have the power to use funds from the university’s athletic department to run the John E. Jaqua Academic Center for Student Athletes, and to keep tickets plentiful and affordable for students.
That the athletic department is strapped for money and can’t aid general academics and its fan base is a constant mantra.
But if UO administrators and board members knew and understood NCAA regulations, they could quickly refute such claims.
For the top division in the NCAA — the one to which Oregon belongs — one of the requirements of membership is sponsoring at least 16 varsity sports. The required number used to be much lower but the NCAA constantly raises the stakes to make divisions ever more exclusive — and, in the end, more costly for universities.
Over the years, Oregon has increased its number of sports and has usually been above the minimum. The number of Duck varsity sports currently stands at 18, two more than is necessary to retain the UO’s NCAA membership.
There’s a simple solution for getting the athletic department to find money to support academics campuswide and to stop asking students to pay more incidental fees for game tickets.
Interim President Scott Coltrane and the board of trustees can and should establish, starting now, a policy that Oregon won’t field more than the minimum number of teams required for its NCAA membership.
The savings from such a move should then be applied toward general academics costs and to making students’ game tickets more available and affordable.
RICHARD A. SUNDT
AD should pay for exclusive uses
University of Oregon athletics supporters often contend the UO athletic department is “self-supporting.” In his March 12 letter, UO law professor emeritus Jim O’Fallon reminded us that such isn’t the case.
O’Fallon defended the university spending approximately $2 million per year from its general fund to maintain and staff the Jaqua academic center for student-athletes, declaring it a “benefit.”
It is — for the athletic department. But not for Oregon taxpayers and other UO students (the money comes from their tuition and fees and funds a facility from which they’re excluded).
It would be interesting to know how much general fund money is spent maintaining and staffing other athletic department facilities (Matthew Knight Arena, Autzen Stadium, PK Park, Howe Field, Hayward Field, the UO tennis center, etc).
To the extent that non-athletes use those facilities, the costs should be shared. But the bulk of the cost should be borne by the athletic department.
If the athletic department and the university want to open the Jaqua center to all students, great. Do it and fund it through the general fund.
If, instead, they wish to continue maintaining it as an elite facility serving only student-athletes, that’s fine, too. But it should then be funded by the athletic department.