Athletic Dept to give the academic side $5.8M from new TV contract!

Great news – just as President Gottfredson promised the Senate he’d try and do! This will certainly help reduce the expected tuition increases!

Just kidding, this news is from the University of Wisconsin athletic department. And of course there’s some funny accounting anyway – story here. But still, it’s progress. How did it happen? Well, unlike the Ducks, Bucky actually has *faculty* on the committee that determines the athletic department budget:


AD Mullens buys out Duck basketball coach Don Altman for 12 Gottfredsons

11/29/2016 update: The RG’s Ryan Thornburn has the shocking details here.

Or at least I think it was the basketball coach – he’s about to drop out of the rankings too. But maybe his buyout is next year.

Meanwhile, Mullens, Altman, Helfrich and the other well-paid Athletic Department employees haven’t been giving much to the University’s Charitable Fund Drive for state and community charities:


11/28/2016 update: Matt Helfrich wins excellent $9.4M buyout with lousy 34-44 Civil War loss

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UO students would rather do homework than watch Duck football

10/30/2016: First it was the survey revealing that students cared more about UO’s Urban Farm Program than big-time college sports. Now, according to sports reporter Kenny Jacoby in the Daily Emerald and his report on the brief student turnout for the Arizona State game, the list of things our students prefer to watching the Ducks has grown to include a nap, Halloween, and yes, homework:

Oregon was winning 30-22 when masses of students started heading for the exits. I was curious why they chose this point in the game to leave, with the Ducks on the verge of their first win since Sept. 10. So I went down to the concourse level, stood at the top of the stairs above the South Gate and asked departing students why they were leaving. Here are some of their responses:

“I’m really, really high, and I want to lie down,” the first student said.

“It’s Halloween weekend,” said another.

“We’re tired from last night. We’re trying to nap and recover before going out to tonight. I just turned 21.”

“We’re tired. I have homework to do.”

Which does raise the question of why the ASUO is paying Rob Mullens, Eric Roedl and the Duck sports enterprise $1.7M for “free” tickets. More on that here.

9/15/2015: UO’s urban farm brings in more students than Duck athletics

And, according to the NYT, it’s part of a movement. UO’s Landscape Architecture department is now running two sections, just a few slots left:

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Not bad compared to student attendance at Dana Altman’s basketball games.

2/27/14: UO students say “sorry Ducks, we’re just not that into you.”

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Finance and Facilities Committee — September 8, 10:00AM

Elevator version: Moffitt says the academic budget is sort of OK. Meanwhile Mullens is raking in the dough, and spending it just as quickly on whatever he wants. No talk of the long overdue Athletics Department contributions to UO’s academic mission.

Finance and Facilities Committee — September 8, 2016 10:00 am – September 8, 2016 [Materials] [Livestream]

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Whoops, that’s the OSU Board’s Finance and Administration Committee. Here’s what I could put together for UO’s committee:

Convene – Call to order and roll call – Approval of June 2016 FFC minutes (Action) – Public comment

Lois Yoshishigi, classified staff from the business office. Comments on the Oregon Hall renovation. Her office works with student loan repayment, and will have to move. She is worried that the move will make it more difficult for students to work with them on repayment rescheduling, and that this will discourage students who need help to stay in college.

Chair Ross Kari thanks her for her comments and says they will be considered.

1. Quarterly and Year‐End Finance Report: Jamie Moffitt, Vice President for Finance and Administration/CFO

This is the one place where UO beats OSU. See page 3 of the UO materials for VPFA Jamie Moffitt’s summary of UO’s financial situation, followed by pages of detailed information.

Moffitt: Students are taking more credits, fund balance is up a little, the well is run-rate-even and should be for this coming year too.

2. Auxiliary Budget Review: Athletics: Rob Mullens, Director of Intercollegiate Athletics; Eric Roedl, Deputy Athletic Director

I’m no internal auditor sworn to follow the IIA’s Red Book & Code of Ethics, but if Rob Mullens’ and Eric Roedl’s “budget review” doesn’t raise some red flags with UO’s Chief Auditor, what will? Starts on page 9:

Moffitt introduces, explains that the committee has mostly talked about the E&G budget, will spend more on “auxiliary units” like the Ducks.

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I’ve lost track of how many years, and how many auditors, UO’s Audit Office has gone through while saying it would someday audit athletics, or at least try “To gain an understanding of the athletics program in order to identify inherent risks ….”:

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Mullens, who got a fat raise from the trustees last year, skims through the finances with a few pie charts. Makes his usual subtle pitch for another Autzen expansion. Are the trustees going to ask him any tough questions? Such as:

  1. Why are you charging the President’s office $500K for the Autzen skybox and basketball tickets?
  2. Why are UOs regular students still subsidizing the $2.5M Jock Box, given all your new revenue?
  3. What’s the new sneaker deal going to look like? Where are you going to spend that money?
  4. Are you ever going to start contributing to UO’s academic mission?

Ann Curry asks Mullens about UO’s ranking in NCAA’s bullshit Academic Progress Rate. Break this out for the revenue athletes. Mullens explains all the help that the Jock Box gives student-athletes to make sure they can stay eligible to play and earn money for him and the coaches.

Ross Kari notes the risks of revenue variation. Mullens admits football season ticket sales have fallen. Kari asks him if he has plans for cost cutting or revenue enhancement.

Lillis: Any progress in refinancing the Arena debt? Moffitt: As you know the deal was structured in a way that makes it very difficult to refinance. We’ve talked with a lot of bankers. We’re stuck with it. [Meaning the academic side is also stuck with the high interest rate on the $500K a year we’re paying for the chunk of land that Matt Court sits on. Thanks for all that, Kilkenny.]

3. Capital Construction & Planning
‐‐Oregon Hall Renovation (Action): Jamie Moffitt, Vice President for Finance and Administration/CFO

Moffitt: It’s complicated, we’re trying to handle all the disruption and moves as well as possible. [Striking that the Jocks have everything, while UO’s multi-cultural student services don’t have places for confidential student advising.]

‐‐Pacific Hall Renovation (Action): David Conover, Vice President for Research and Innovation; Bill Cresko, Professor and Associate Vice President for Research

[Cheryl and Allyn Ford have already donated $7M for this. Nice]

Conover: We need more space for more science faculty and labs. We want to renovate, create space for 14 labs, with undergrad, PhDs, post-docs etc.

Cresko: This building was originally science, gradually got taken over by AAA etc. We’re going to convert it back to science. Much cheaper and quicker than new construction, we’re already recruiting faculty for these labs.

4. UO Buildings – Energy Policies and Programs: Michael Harwood, Associate VP for Campus Planning and Facilities Management

Price elasticity remains top threat to Duck Athletics, followed by the NCAA and professors

Here’s a bit from Athletic Department Director Rob Mullen’s July 2012 planning document, full pdf here. Price elasticity is the top threat to Duck Athletics, followed by the NCAA, and Professors Harbaugh and Tublitz:

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RG sports reporter Steve Mims reported on the elasticity threat w.r.s.t. Dana Altman’s basketball team back in March, here:

Oregon lowered ticket prices by more 34 percent this year, including a $500 reduction in the lower half of the 100 level, and added single-game tickets for $10. Oregon also provided free shuttles to games and offered season parking passes for $50 to $100.

Oregon is averaging 6,770 fans this season, which is up from 6,209 last year. The difference is even wider in conference games, with an average of 8,098 following 7,131 last season. (But for today’s Utah conference game announced attendance is only 6,807.)

A 34% cut in the price, and, using the midpoint method, an increase in the Qd of (6770-6209)/((1/2)(6770+6209)) = 8.6%. So the elasticity of demand is about 0.25. You don’t have to have passed microeconomic principles to understand that this price cut is going to reduce ticket revenue below last year’s dismal $2.6M. And rumor has it that AAD Eric Roedl has realized he can’t squeeze ASUO for more student money either.

The Oregonian’s Tyson Alger has a new story here. Duck PR Flack Craig Pintens is now reporting larger attendance numbers – but still not large enough to offset the loss from the lower prices. So this year’s basketball revenue will take another hit:

Oregon’s 2014-15 attendance was the worst in Matthew Knight Arena history and the lowest overall numbers for Oregon since 1992. It was a 20 percent decline from the prior season and well below the arena-high 8,018 fans per game posted in the 2010-11 season, the first year Matthew Knight Arena opened.

In response to an Oregonian/OregonLive article this winter detailing Oregon’s falling attendance, fans outlined reasons they stayed away last season. Parking, availability of games on TV and the fallout from the previous summer’s sexual assault accusations were recurring themes.

Oregon responded to the poor 2014-15 numbers by dropping ticket prices, creating new ticket promotions and generally bettering the fan experience inside the arena.

And the numbers returned to normal — with the help of a terrific on-the-court product put on by the Dana Altman-led team.

It was a nice bounce-back year, Pintens said. But it’s not good enough. Not yet.

“The goal was to fill up Matthew Knight Arena,” he said. “And until we do that, we’re not quite there.”

Fill it up at any price? That’s going to require Dana Altman paying our students to show up and watch him coach. Of course Altman’s got the money – at least until his players figure out how to break the NCAA cartel and get their cut.

Duck athletics transfers $4M of new revenue to support academics

The Chronicle of Higher Ed has the good news here:

Part of that money has gone to support the operations of the [Library]. It has also been used to establish faculty chairs in various colleges and to pay for art acquisitions and construction costs of an arts building. The athletic department has also given the university more than 20,000 square feet of office and meeting space that it no longer uses, helping the campus avoid millions of dollars in new construction costs.

The transfers to academics have remained consistent — about $8 million to $9 million a year in each of the past four years, …. The athletic department made those payments even in years, such as 2014, when it reported a deficit.

[The University President] believes that such transfers help connect the athletic department to the broader academic community.

“From the point of view of a president,” he says, “I want to make sure that athletics is an integral part of the university and represents our values.”

But of course this story is not about UO. It’s UT. The story lists 9 other universities that use athletics revenue to support academics.

Here at UO it’s the opposite, despite the surge in TV revenue. The UO administration uses a variety of stealth measures to extract ~$4M from the academic budget. See this UO Senate Legislation for details.

I did put an end to Frohnmayer and Kilkenny’s scheme to use UO money to pay the Ducks overhead costs, saving about $500K a year. That took quite a fight though. Steve Duin of the Oregonian helped, his report is here.

Big-time college football and rapes

While AD Rob Mullens and Duck apologists like VP for Enrollment Roger Thompson love to talk about the benefits of the Duck’s big-time sports enterprise, there are a few costs as well. Former UO economics professor Jason Lindo (now at Texas A&M) and coauthors (including Isaac Swensen a UO PhD grad) have some new estimates on one non-pecuniary cost, in an NBER working paper here:

This paper considers the degree to which events that intensify partying increase sexual assault. Estimates are based on panel data from campus and local law-enforcement agencies and an identification strategy that exploits plausibly random variation in the timing of Division 1 football games. The estimates indicate that these events increase daily reports of rape with 17-24 year old victims by 28 percent. The effects are driven largely by 17-24 year old offenders and by offenders unknown to the victim, but we also find significant effects on incidents involving offenders of other ages and on incidents involving offenders known to the victim.

InsideHigherEd has a write-up by Scott Jaschik, here:

On the days that big-time college football teams play, the campus and local police departments of institutions playing see a notable increase in reports of rapes of college-aged women, a new national study has found.

The study, released today by the National Bureau of Economic Research (abstract available here), analyzed data reported by campus and local agencies to the National Incident Based Reporting System, through which the U.S. Justice Department collects and analyzes crime reports. The data are detailed enough that the researchers were able to compare patterns by days of the week so that the football game days were compared to comparable days without games.

The analysis found a 28 percent increase in rape reports by college-age women (defined as 17-24 years old) on days on which Division I-A football teams played. The increase was greater on days of home games (up 41 percent) than away games (15 percent). (The study uses the term Division I-A that has since been replaced by the category Football Bowl Subdivision.)

These figures would translate into an additional 253 to 770 rapes of college-age women each year across the 128 colleges and universities in Division I-A of college football, the study says.

Previous work by some of the same authors, using data from UO, has shown the link between football wins and declining academic performance, particularly for males. The NYT write-up is here, complete with a statistical critique from Duck athletics spokesperson Dave Williford.

Washington Post calls for controls on big-time athletic pork

Columnist Sally Jenkins, here:

… For years, athletic directors have styled themselves as CEO-types and moaned about the difficulties of managing costs. But a Washington Post project published earlier this week shows that these so-called executives are about as fiscally responsible as Gabor sisters serving sevruga in chinchilla capes. The truth is, their deficits aren’t a necessity. They’re a choice.

Throughout The Post’s findings is the distinctly acrid smell of books cooking. The ledgers show that there is never enough money to fully comply with Title IX or cover the true cost of a scholarship but always enough to pay themselves more or to buy a new toy.

… The chair of an engineering department is not permitted to spend indiscriminately, so why should athletic directors be able to — especially when they siphon university money away from other departments to cover their overdrafts?

As matters stand, athletic departments aren’t answerable to anyone, budgeted separately from the university and almost completely unregulated. Their only real oversight comes from high-dollar donors. The reason for this is that years ago college presidents tried to wash their hands by allowing them to become stand-alone entities that raise and spend funds however they wish. Author Gilbert Gaul, in his new book “Billion Dollar Ball,” likens them to hedge funds or entertainment divisions rather than academic entities. As one Texas administrator put it to Gaul, “We eat what we kill.”

But that’s not enough, so they take from the academic side too.

Duck softball stadium gets 32 foot long jumbotron

You can’t make this shit up:

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The cost of this bloated project has gone from $8M to $16M. While the donor has apparently paid for all the construction, this is UO land that will now be off limits for academic use for a long, long time. At a very rough guess, it’s worth $10M. How much did AD Rob Mullens pay for it? His lapel pin says it all: $0 for academics.

And with a jumbotron like that, coach Mike White starts thinking he deserves big money too. $1.425M, to be exact. The RG story on this is here:

Softball ticket revenue is about $10K a year. Before the new raises for the coaches, costs were about $1.4M. The losses are covered from football profits. Why does the Duck Athletics Department get to spend those profits however they like? I don’t know. Back in 2004 the university took a serious look at athletics spending, and concluded that football profits should soon allow athletics to start contributing to the academic side. With deals like this, that will never happen.

Speaking of money losing sports, basketball fans are not exactly flocking to see Dana Altman’s team play in the country’s most expensive college basketball arena:

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Adidas takes on Nike in bid for Eugene School District sports gear

Nike’s no bid contract with UO is pretty stingy (except of course for the annual $30K clothing allowance for JH insiders). The Eugene public schools drive a tougher bargain. Alisha Roemeling in the RG:

Apparel giants Nike and adidas have found a new arena in which to compete: for the uniforms of high school student athletes in the Eugene School District.

At a Eugene School Board meeting on Wednesday, school district officials announced that adidas has submitted a sponsorship offer and will be competing with Nike for an ­exclusive-rights sports apparel deal for varsity high school athletes. Thankfully, for everyday use, people aren’t restricted to two brands of sports clothing – they have a wider choice, including options from Ryderwear which are enjoying increasing popularity right now.

The two companies’ basic proposals are ­similar, each offering to provide the school ­district with up to $300,000 in product rebates for school uniforms and equipment over the next five years. In ­exchange, varsity athletes at the district’s four high schools would wear the selected company’s uniforms.

But there are also some differences, or sweeteners. Adidas, for example, said it will offer $250 to any of the four schools that wins a league title in an Oregon School Activities Association-sanctioned sport during the life of the agreement. Adidas also offers to kick in $500 to any high school with a team that wins a state title during that time.

The Duck deal?

From Matthew Kish in the Portland Business Journal:

Which football championship team has the worst Nike contract? The Ducks.

Here’s a breakdown of Nike’s [athletic apparel] deal with each university in the playoffs. The terms cover the 2014-15 academic year [reordered in descending order of cash payment]:

– Ohio State: $2.5 million in equipment and apparel and nearly $1.5 million in cash. The university also gets $150,000 in discretionary apparel, typically for athletic department personnel.

– Florida State: $3 million in equipment and apparel and $1.4 million in cash.

– Alabama: $2.8 million in equipment and apparel, $780,000 in cash.

– Oregon: $2.2 million in equipment and apparel and $600,000 in cash. The university also gets $185,000 in discretionary apparel, typically for athletic department personnel.

But hey, we’re #1 in “discretionary apparel”!

From what I can tell from Dave Hubin’s redacted public records, $30K of that goes to our colleagues in Johnson Hall, presumably including some who signed off on the contract. So they’ll be looking good on their Jan 1 Rose Bowl junkets.

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More here.

Ducks to let regular UO students go upstairs at Jock Box

but just this Thursday at 1:00, for a meeting of the Senate’s Intercollegiate Athletics Committee:

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Word is that SSA Director Steve Stolp and his boss Lorraine Davis will address questions about the effectiveness of the Services for Student Athletes operation, which segregates Duck athletes from regular UO students while making the regular students foot the entire $2.4M bill for the athletes.

Only two of the twelve black male athletes UO admitted in 2008 had graduated by 2015. That’s a one-year anomaly, but from what I’ve seen of the data Stolp and Davis are going to have a hard time showing a positive effect, even using some of the NCAA’s specially cooked up measures. More here:

This is an open UO Senate committee meeting, so anyone can attend. Ignore the signs on the stairs saying “Stop: Authorized use only.” Just don’t ask too many questions. The last time UO student reporters started asking questions, AAD Eric Roedl had them kicked out, Dave Hubin made sure they couldn’t use student funds to pay for the public records, UO redacted the shit out of them anyway, and a few years later the administration subverted the IAC with a toothless, secret PAGIA.

Judge Aiken issues order in Duck / Chip Kelly bonus insurance dispute

11/16/2015: Full docket here, full opinion here. I have no idea what it means, except that UO’s lawyers at Harrang, Long, Gary and Rudnick are going to get many more billable hours out of us before this ends:

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2/17/2015: UO sues over Chip Kelly’s bonus insurance policy

The bonuses Rob Mullens and Dana Altman got after letting the accused basketball rapists play in the NCAA tournament are still the big scandal, but it turns out there’s another one. No, not the $20K in NCAA fines that Chip skipped town on:

Mike Tokito has the new story in the Oregonian, here. The docket is here, courtesy of RecaptheLaw.

The University of Oregon is suing a risk management company to recoup $688,000 it paid in bonuses to football coach Chip Kelly and his staff for the 2012-13 season.

University officials believed the bonuses would be covered by an insurance policy the school purchased, but they were not.

The suit names the Illinois-based Arthur J. Gallagher Risk Management Service and its agent, Monica Drummer, as defendants.

According to the suit, Oregon purchased a Lloyds of London insurance policy through Arthur Gallagher in September 2012. The policy, for which the school paid a $489,940 premium, was supposed to cover bonuses, written into the contracts of Kelly and his staff, that were based on how the Ducks fared during the 2012-13 season. …

Extract from UO’s claim, full doc here:

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This seems like an extremely expensive policy – even if it had covered what Roedl thought it covered. But hey, why not take it to court and pay HLGR some more money. Out of the academic budget, I’m guessing:

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Stump is well known for his asbestos work:

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Give to the UO, or to the Decade of the Duck?

No, this isn’t from the Duck Athletic Fund’s website, it’s from, the homepage of the UO campaign, which is supposed to be about the academic side of the fund-drive:

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To be fair, the other 4 landing pages are about academics. I guess 1 out of 5 ain’t bad. If you follow the link you get to the Duck Athletic Fund brochure, and this:

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“As one of only a handful of Division I programs that do not receive state general fund support …”

Now that’s a bold claim. None of the $2.4M the UO Provost’s office pays to run the Jock Box comes from the state’s general fund? I’m no internal auditor, but I’m thinking this claim is a stretch. And under Oregon law, it’s potentially a Class A misdemeanor:

ORS 128.886 False or misleading representations prohibited.

(1) No person shall make any false or misleading representations in the course of any solicitation of contributions.

(2) A representation may be any manifestation of any assertion by words or conduct, including, but not limited to, a failure to disclose a fact.