Fiesta Bowl CEO Michael Nealy gets $871K, Cristobal gets $300K+, players get $0

I hope this is not true, and that the Duck boosters have figured out how to slip them some bitcoin along with the customary trinkets and sneakers.

Here are the top earners for the Fiesta Bowl, which has managed to keep it’s non-profit status despite the scandal which lead to the imprisonment of its former CEO John Junker for spending bowl money on strippers, politicians, and flowers for his daughter’s college admissions officer. Junker was paid $600K, Nealy gets much more – presumably enough to keep him from padding his expense accounts. Not bad for organizing a football game. (2017 data from the IRS):

And of course a $800K loan:

Meanwhile the Ducks will pay coach Mario Cristobal a $300K bonus:

But wait, there’s more! UO’s Board of Trustees just gave Cristobal a new contract with big increases in pay and retention bonuses, and made it all retroactive to January 2020. He gets another $100K if the Jock Box can game his student-athlete’s academic progress, as measured by the NCAA:

And we just paid him a $500K retention bonus – and will owe him more:

Along with the other customary pork:

etc. Old contract, new contract. I don’t know how much his assistant coaches are getting.

More big money for another useless Duck coach

EUGENE, Ore. – University of Oregon athletic director Rob Mullens announced today that the University has reached an agreement on a contract extension with head women’s basketball coach Kelly Graves. The extension runs through the 2028-29 season, and the incremental increases are funded through private athletic gifts.

In his seventh season with the Ducks after being named the program’s head coach on April 7, 2014, Graves owns a record of 162-54 (.750) and has led Oregon to three consecutive Pac-12 regular-season championships as well as two conference tournament championships in the last three years.

Kelly Graves has built a tremendous culture and family atmosphere within Oregon women’s basketball program that has created a first-class experience for our student-athletes,” said Mullens. “He and his staff have elevated the standard in our program to consistently competing for and winning Pac-12 championships while also competing at the highest level nationally. Kelly and Mary Graves have formed a strong bond to the Eugene community and all Duck fans, and we are grateful for their continued commitment to our student-athletes and the University of Oregon.”

“I am extremely grateful to President Schill, Rob MullensLisa Peterson, and the entire administration for their continued support and trust in me to lead this program,” said Graves. “My family and I absolutely love being a part of the Duck family and the amazing University of Oregon community. We are building something special here in Eugene, and this is a testament to the hard work and dedication of all of the tremendous student-athletes we have had the privilege of working with over the years, as well as the commitment of my incredible staff. I also want to thank the best fans in the nation for their unbelievable passion and support of this program; we can’t wait until the day we are able to pack the house at Matthew Knight Arena again.”

The John R. Wooden Pac-12 Coach of the Year in each of the last two seasons, Graves guided Oregon to the program’s first-ever Final Four appearance in 2019 while also leading UO to three consecutive Elite Eights. The Ducks set a program record for wins in 2017-18 with 33, a total equaled in 2018-19, and Oregon went 31-2 in the COVID-19-shortened 2019-20 season to become the only team in the nation with 30-plus wins in each of the last three campaigns. 

The Ducks – 7-0 overall and 5-0 in Pac-12 play to open the 2020-21 season – have won a program-record 26 consecutive games dating back to last season, the longest active winning streak in the nation. Oregon also owns current win streaks of 23 consecutive in conference play, 21 in a row at home, and 13 consecutive on the road, and the No. 8 Ducks have been ranked in the Associated Press top 10 for 64 consecutive polls.

In his 24th season as a Division I head coach, Graves owns a 544-216 (.716) career record with 13 total conference titles, and his 162 wins as Oregon’s head coach rank second in program history.

Graves has coached and recruited some of the greatest players in women’s college basketball history, including the only two players ever to record 2,000 career points and 1,000 career assists in Oregon legend Sabrina Ionescu and former Gonzaga star Courtney Vandersloot. Ionescu is the undisputed NCAA triple-double queen with 26 during her incredible career, and she was the unanimous national player of the year as a senior in 2019-20 before going on to become the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 WNBA Draft.

Under Graves’ tutelage, Ionescu teamed up with fellow All-Americans Ruthy Hebard and Satou Sabally to form one of the most lethal trios in the history of the game. Sabally followed Ionescu as the No. 2 pick in the WNBA Draft and Hebard went at No. 8, becoming just the seventh trio of teammates ever to go in the top 10 of the same draft.

Despite losing the “Big Three” as well as a fourth starter from 2019-20 in Minyon Moore, Graves has maintained Oregon’s status as one of the nation’s premiere programs in 2020-21 with the addition of the nation’s No. 1 recruiting class as well as multiple talented transfers. The top-ranked freshman class – made up of five McDonald’s All-Americans – is the first in program history.

Donate to SAIL, UO’s Summer Academy to Inspire Learning

How to give: click here to go to the UO Foundation donor page for SAIL, you know the rest of the drill. There’s a one page info sheet here. (OK, actually it’s two pages.)

Some SAIL history and future, and how to volunteer:

UO’s Summer Academy to Inspire Learning was started in 2006 by two economics professors. Our goal was to increase the number of low income and first generation students going to college. We began with a summer camp with 13 students whom we’d recruited from local middle schools by promising them a $50 gift card if they stayed for a whole week of economics classes and some talks from UO admissions and financial aid staff about how to get into college and how to pay for it.

We got our colleagues to volunteer to help by telling them “surely there must be something interesting enough about your research to keep HS students engaged for 45 minutes?” The results were surprisingly good – who would have guessed that a professor from England could teach game theory and backwards induction with examples from NASCAR racing? The next year Helen Neville from psychology and her grad students Eric and Scott set up “SAIL Brain Camp”, enticing our students to come back next summer by bringing in a bucket of brains for them to poke around in. Raghu from Physics and Andy from Human Physiology then took those students the following summer, and then Journalism took them for their last year as entering HS seniors, to work on college application essays. Every year we started with a new group of entering HS students in economics – but now we have too many students, so they get a choice of what to take. Last year we had about 15 different camps, 500 students, and 100 or so faculty and staff volunteers.

Part of our original pitch was “see, college does pay off – you just got $50!” But I think the part that has worked has been just showing these students – many of whom have no family member who has gone to college – what college is about. By the time they finish a few camps they certainly aren’t intimidated by the idea of college, or by professors! And of course the volunteers learn a lot about how difficult life can be for low-income people in America, living just a few miles from our campus.

The UO president at the time we started SAIL was not enthusiastic, and for the first few years we ended up in un-airconditioned classrooms in places like the attic of Gerlinger. Sweaty. President Lariviere liked it though, and we started to get some university funding. We hired Lara, the SAIL Director, then with her help we got a big donation from a very generous family, and she recruited more and more faculty volunteers and new camps.

Last year, with support from President Schill, we were able to start weeklong overnight camps for students from around the state. This year of course the pandemic meant no in-person camps. (And no after-SAIL party at McMorran House, bummer!) I thought this would be a disaster, but Lara and her staff quickly pivoted to remote. Full disclosure: my supply and demand experiment on zoom was a humiliating disaster, but it seems everything else went pretty well.

SAIL now has an increasingly well developed system where HS teachers all over the state can sign up to have faculty give guest lectures, or schedule some UO undergraduate mentors to lead their class in discussions about college. Website here. We plan (hope?) to be back in person this summer, but regardless we can now give low income and underserved HS students around the state a little more info on college – direct from UO’s faculty and undergrads.

If you’re interested in organizing a camp for your department or volunteering in some other way, you can reach the SAIL Director Lara F at laraf at She and her staff do all the organizing, and you can focus on the students.

Million dollar Duck coaches just not that into the Charitable Fund Drive

Every year Oregon holds a Charitable Fund Drive for state and university employees. Donations can be made by check, credit card, or convenient payroll deduction. The CFD has a long list of charities you can earmark your gifts to. The CFD reduces the cost to charities of fundraising and reduces the costs for givers, and lets them opt out of spam and junkmail. University employees can sign up here. (Don’t forget that, for this year at least, the IRS will let you deduct up to $300 in donations even if you don’t itemize. I believe all donations are deductible on your Oregon income tax.)

In an effort to promote a little altruistic competition, the CFD posts the number and total of donations by department. Here is the current data (the drive closes Dec 31). The Duck Athletic Department and it’s well-paid AD and coaches are missing because their donations so far total $0. Last year they gave a total of $150.

Top UO admins cancel their pay cuts:

From reporter Elizabeth Gabriel of KLCC, on OPB here:

Administrators at the University of Oregon have stopped taking pay cuts, despite a $3.4 million dollar budget deficit due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In April, 21 administrators volunteered to take salary deductions of 10%-12% for six months in order to help offset a budget shortfall caused by the pandemic. UO Chief Finance Officer Jamie Moffitt said budget cuts, combined with other measures such as a hiring freeze and a travel freeze, has helped save money. …

Robert E. Lee finally removed from the U.S Capitol

A bit off topic, but who doesn’t love a good confederate de-statufication video? This job might have gone quicker with just one chain around his neck, but not bad for government work. Turn up the sound or you might miss the laughing:

And who will replace this traitorous slaver and incompetent general in the Capitol Crypt? A 16-year-old high school troublemaker named Barbara Johns. May her statue forever be an inspiration to visiting school tour groups!

UO “All In” on Paris climate accord – unless it means cutting back on Duck game travel or Track Championships

Great moments in greenwashing from Around the O, here:

“Tackling climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our time,” Schill said. “Solving this problem requires a massive coalition working at all levels of our nation and across the world. The University of Oregon is pleased to contribute to those efforts in our campus operations and through our teaching, research and service to our community.”

The reaffirmation of the pledge comes alongside Provost Patrick Phillips’ campuswide environmental initiative, which will amplify the university’s existing strengths in environmental research and teaching to help meet the climate challenge. The provost’s office recently created a website that describes the initiative and showcases the UO’s leadership in the area.

While the United States officially exited the Paris Agreement on Nov. 4, the incoming Biden-Harris administration has committed to reentering the global agreement. The statement was delivered to the Biden-Harris team, as well as to United Nations officials and global heads of state at the Climate Ambition Summit hosted by the United Kingdom, also on Dec. 12.  

“This commitment reinforces the goals set by our campus Climate Action Plan,” said Steve Mital, director of the UO Office of Sustainability. “It calls all in our campus community, and beyond, to work together to address the significant challenges posed by climate change.”

Meanwhile, I don’t know if our sister flagship in Corvallis has bothered to put together an “Action Plan”, but they’re certainly taking action with new technology to generate the electricity all those nuclear-friendly Teslas will need:

UO Board of Trustees to give Mario Cristobal his Covid raise Th at 10AM

By doing this on the phone rather than Zoom, Board Secretary Angela Wilhelms has insured that we don’t have to look at Rob Mullens’s smug face, and that none of the reporters phoning in can understand a word the trustees are saying. I think I hear “budget deficit” and “raises for assistant coaches” though.

10AM update:

10:12: Avuncular UO Board of Trustees Chair Chuck Lillis, perhaps best known for his minor role as a board member of Washington Mutual during the largest financial bankruptcy in US history, brags he’s been betting on the Duck games, then calls the vote. It’s unanimous! Hearty round of “Go Ducks” and our Board has done its due diligence once again.


“Members of the media and public may listen to proceedings via teleconference by dialing 1-888-337-0215 and entering access code 6295684.”

The Board has posted Cristobal’s new contract here. On the one hand, the Board asserts, without providing any supporting evidence, that the raise “will be funded with secured private philanthropy”:

On the other hand, they write in the contract:

Here’s Cristobal’s previous contract.

12/16/2020: Ticket revenue is $0, student government has cut Duck athletics off from the usual $1.8M in student fee payments, and at the last board meeting VPFA Moffitt was concerned the Duck deficit might have to be financed from academic funds (about $5M of it already is). Uncle Phil is an old man, and I hope whatever promises President Schill has from him are in writing.

Chuck Lillis and Mike Schill will claim we need to pay coach this money because football builds the brand and brings in rich students who will pay high tuition. It’s not working:

From: Board of Trustees <>
Subject: Board of Trustees Notification
Date: December 16, 2020 at 9:54:24 AM PST
To: Board of Trustees <>

You received this email because you have signed up for UO Board of Trustees updates. If you wish to unsubscribe from this list, please reply to this email with UNSUBSCRIBE in the subject line.


The Executive and Audit Committee of the Board of Trustees will hold a meeting at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time tomorrow, December 17. This is a single-item meeting for purposes regarding an employment contract for the head intercollegiate football coach. Members of the media and public may listen to proceedings via teleconference; that information will be available at  Meeting materials will be available by going to that URL and clicking the “Upcoming Meetings” button; they are not yet finalized.

The next quarterly meeting of the full Board of Trustees is scheduled for March 8-9, 2021.

Thank you.

Office of the University Secretary
University of Oregon Board of Trustees

Board Meetings

The Executive and Audit Committee will meet on Thursday, December 17th at 10:00 a.mPacific Time. This is a single-item meeting for purposes regarding an employment contract for the head intercollegiate football coach. Members of the media and public may listen to proceedings via teleconference by dialing 1-888-337-0215 and entering access code 6295684. Meeting materials will be available by clicking on the “Upcoming Meetings” button below.

Cristobal has the second most expensive staff among the 10 public PAC-12 programs, from USAToday:

UO enrollment – the long run is bad and more bucks for Cristobal isn’t going to make a damn bit of a difference

From Knocking at College’s Door from WICHE, the higher ed research group with the best acronym ever. The total number of Oregon HS graduates will peak in 5 years. The number of Hispanic HS graduates has doubled in 11 years, but will also peak in 2026. As for UO’s strategy of paying Duck football coaches more and more to magically bring in the Californians, WICHE forecasts the peak in CA will come sooner, and the decline will be much quicker.

What do tuition freezes really do? What about tuition increases?

Of course they lower the listed tuition price which is paid by higher income students, but it turns out they reduce the amount of needs-based support that universities provide low-income students by twice as much. I wonder how strong the inverse effect is – do increases in listed tuition lead universities to decrease the tuition cost for low income students? Thanks to a reader for the working paper here: