Pres Schill cuts deal with ASUO on ending $1.7M student fee payment to Ducks, students meeting at 4 today

2/2/2021: No details on the deal til 4PM today. Maybe some wealthy UO donor finally decided to start paying for the students, like he pays for the coaches raises? While UO’s students pay the Ducks $1.7M a year for “free” tickets, at Maryland the athletic department pays the students to go to the games via a scholarship lottery, if they stay til the 4th quarter.

From the ASUO student government to the UO Senate:

The ASUO has been in discussion with the University of Oregon administration over the athletics agreement through which students pay for their student tickets. This year’s ASUO administration decided that the use of I Fee funds to purchase tickets was unfair due to the price we were paying, and the way tickets are allocated and distributed, therefore, on Saturday, January 30, the ASUO Legislative branch voted to discontinue the current athletics agreement.

University of Oregon administration approached the ASUO yesterday about this decision, and late last night, President Michael Schill and Senate President Claire O’Connor negotiated a new proposal of a restructured system to secure student tickets to athletic events. If you would like to ask questions or hear more details, the ASUO will be having an open public forum from 4-6 pm and all students are welcome to come learn more and voice their opinions before the ASUO Senate votes on the proposal during an open meeting from 6-6:30 pm. Please consider using this opportunity to learn more and voice your opinion.

This is the link to the public forum:

1/25/2021: ASUO committee votes to end $1.7M payments to Duck Athletic Cartel for “free” tickets

The final decision seems to be up to President Schill, and since he firmly believes and restated in the Senate 2 weeks ago that the Ducks should not be subsidized, ending this particular subsidy should be an easy call for him. Student attendance has been dropping for years – and many leave early to get on with the partying – and those who do care about big-time college sports can of course still buy tickets. Presumably Duck financial director Eric Roedl will heavily discount these or hire ringers, since they’ll need a section of excited looking student-types with painted faces to focus the TV cameras on.

Reporter Leo Baudhuin has the story in the Emerald:

ASUO’s Athletics and Contracts Finance Committee voted against renewing its athletics ticketing agreement at a Jan. 19 budget hearing. This means the student ticket subsidy will not be funded for the 2021-22 academic year, with the money reallocated to a handful of new programs that ACFC believes will more equitably serve the University of Oregon student body. 

The UO athletics department declined to speak with the Daily Emerald for this story.

According to the 2020-21 contract, ACFC and athletics had mutually agreed upon this markdown rate beginning with Fiscal Year 2016-17. For the 2020-21 fiscal year, ACFC was paying over $1.7 million in student fees for the ticketing contract. The agreement stood at 50% of market value prior to the 2016 deal.

This price allowed I-fee paying members to attend any Ducks sporting event with a student ID — with the exception of football and men’s basketball, which were run through a lottery system that students had to register for.

In place of the athletics contract, ACFC is allocating the $1.7 million to seven new programs: menstrual product accessibility in the EMU, a tiered textbook subsidy program for students with financial need, a basic needs coordinator who will help students apply to programs like SNAP, a student advocacy coordinator for ASUO’s peer-to-peer advocacy work, an across-the-board 20% wage increase for students employed at UO, an emergency housing subsidy fund and a redistribution of roughly $400,000 to other finance committees — which will allow ASUO to decrease or maintain the current I-fee for the 2021-22 fiscal year.

“The reality is not everyone gets a football ticket,” ACFC chair Annika Mayne said, “and a football ticket is not going to pay your rent or help you with legal trouble or increase your wage.” …

… From the hearing, ACFC’s budget proposal will go to the ASUO senate, Mayne said. Pending the senate’s approval, it will make its way to ASUO President Isaiah Boyd before going to UO President Michael Schill. Both Boyd and ASUO Senate President Claire O’Connor voiced their support for the plan during the public comment section of the budget hearing.

“There are some populations of students that I’m sure aren’t going to be happy about this,” said Laus. “But by and large, it’s a university, it’s not a sports team.” …

Here’s a past post on this issue:

June 2017: Duck athletic cartel’s Eric Roedl shake down UO students for another 40 large:

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Kenny Jacoby has the story in the Daily Emerald, here:

This year, athletics requested another 4-percent increase, even though prices for regular season-ticket holders are decreasing.

“Really the reason behind the 4-percent ask is that we’ve been frozen for so long and we’re trying to just catch up a little bit with the [incidental fee],” [the very well paid AAD Eric Roedl] said.

Dunn said each year Roedl and other athletic department officials “come to the table very frustrated that the conversation is the same.” Students want to pay less, but athletic department officials wants them to pay more, so the end result remains unchanged.

“They don’t think about how any sort of change in these fees or tuition will actually impact the students here on our campus,” Dunn said. “Asking students to pay more for their student athletic tickets in a year where tuition is supposed to go up almost 11 percent is a little ridiculous.”

In the end ASUO gave them only $10K, so now Roedl is threatening to take away the students tickets – or go directly to the TFAB, for a new student fee devoted solely to the athletic department.

AAD Eric Roedl’s falling football ticket revenue can’t keep up with coaches bonuses, so he wants to squeeze the students

11/21/2019: I’m sitting at the meeting in the EMU now – four athletic department administrators and several very skeptical ASUO students.

Here’s the data for revenue from tickets sold to non-students. It’s fallen by about $4M in 5 years.  So he’s trying to increase what students have to pay to athletics from the mandatory student i-fee.



On the cost driver side, Roedl’s salary was about $225K in 2016. Up 18% in 3 years:

11/19/2019: UO students just not that into Duck football, even at $0.00 a ticket

ASUO – UO’s student government – pays Rob Mullens’s Athletic Department about $2M a year for student tickets, which they then distribute “for free” to students. They get the money from a mandatory fee they charge all students every term. A previous post about how Assoc Athletic Director Eric Roedl runs this shakedown operation is here.

But apparently $0.00 is too high a price. As this photo of the student section from the interesting fan blog shows, our students don’t really care much about big-time college sports:


Heavily subsidized Duck Athletic program paid $3M for body-bag games

Henry Houston has the report in the Eugene Weekly:

UO spent more than any other Pac-12 college team this year for its nonconference schedule — sometimes scornfully called “body-bag” games because of the mismatch between teams. Bowling Green received $900,000, Portland State received $500,000 and San José State received $1.6 million, according to contracts obtained by Eugene Weekly. …

The high cost was an aberration of scheduling, says Eric Roedl, deputy athletic director at UO.

Originally, the UO was planning on playing Texas A&M instead of San José State, but a clause in that agreement allowed Texas A&M to back out if it left its football conference. In 2011, Texas A&M announced it would leave the Big 12 conference for Southeastern Conference. The university voided its contract with UO in 2016, Roedl says.

Other contracts obtained by EW have a penalty clause if the game is canceled. Texas A&M didn’t have one.

“It was a unique agreement,” Roedl adds. …

Whoops. Sounds like it’s going to be a while before the academic side can stop subsidizing them. I wonder if Roedl is going to hit up ASUO for another increase?

How much can Willie Taggart roll Rob Mullens for with a few Florida rumors?

The Emerald has the story here about how Taggart is “committed” to Oregon despite the Florida job. I’m no economist, but what’s “committed” mean in dollars?

Duck AD Rob Mullens is famously easy to roll – just ask Mark Helfrich, Dana Altman, or Eric Roedl. I’ll give my last University of Nike coffee cup to whoever provides the best estimate of how much a desperate Mullens will throw on the table this time.

Southern Utahns crush Ducks in body-bag game records release

8/25/2017: While the Ducks are so broke they can’t pay for tutoring their student-athletes, they’ve got no problem paying Southern Utah $500K to show up and lose the football season’s opener next weekend. The contract is below.

10/13/2015: It’s not really a fair contest. While for years the UO administration has used its Public Records Office and their $300K budget to delay, redact, and charge excessive fees to frustrate the intent of Oregon’s public records law, the PRO’s at most other universities are in the business of making public records public. Here’s the latest example.

Monday morning I emailed identical public records requests to UO and Southern Utah University, asking for copies of the contract for the football body-bag game scheduled for September 2017:

Date: October 12, 2015 at 10:14:21 AM PDT

To: Lisa Thornton <[email protected]>

Subject: public records request, football game contract with SUU

Dear Ms Thornton –

This is a public records request for a copy of the football game contract between SUU and UO, for the game to be played in the fall of 2017.

A sample of the sort of contract I am looking for is here:

I edit a news and opinion blog about the University of Oregon, and I ask for a fee waiver on the basis of public interest.

I would appreciate it if you could send a pdf copy of this contract to this email address.

Thanks for your assistance

This sort of request typically takes UO a week or two. But SUU responded in less than 24 hours:

From: Jennifer Oberhelman
Date: October 13, 2015 at 9:13:01 AM PDT
To: [email protected]
Subject: GRAMA Response

Good morning Mr. Harbaugh,

Attached is the contract between Southern Utah University and University of Oregon for a football game set for 9/2/17 in Eugene, OR requested 10/12 in the form of a GRAMA request.

Please contact me if you have any additional questions.

Thank you.
Jennifer Oberhelman
Exec. Asst. for Administration

“We don’t quit playing because we grow old, we grow old because we quit playing.”

Not bad, though the record is still the 50 minutes it took Georgia State to provide their contract, and Eastern Washington’s General Counsel only took 3 hours.

So Rob Mullens will pay SUU $500K to come to Eugene. Presumably AAD Eric Roedl will get the cash by raising the price he charges ASUO for “free” student tickets  to these body-bag games:

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9/14/2015: Georgia State Panthers whip Oregon Ducks in football public records release

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Fans lose interest, Dana Altman can’t match Mac Court attendance from 1977

Steve Mims has the news in the RG here:

Oregon drew an average of 7,467 fans last year, but that number will rise to 9,895 this season after another full house of 12,364 shows up for the home finale. That is the largest average attendance since 9,984 watched at McArthur Court in 1977-78.

In those 40 years UO enrollment has increased from 16,000 to 24,000, the Lane county population has increased from 250,000 to 370,000, and UO went heavily into debt to replace Mac Court with a huge gaudy new arena that the fans hate. The Ducks have had to cut ticket prices and – horror of horrors – give away tickets to faculty and staff even to get to this attendance number. See “Price elasticity remains top threat to Duck Athletics, followed by the NCAA and professors“. Meanwhile AAD Eric Roedl tried to squeeze our students for another 4% increase in the $1.8M they pay for for “free” tickets, but ASUO just told him no.

UO’s HLGR lawyers make bank off Bowl of Ducks insurance policy

Jack Moran has the story in the RG here:

The University of Oregon has accepted a $242,000 settlement deal to end a legal dispute over bonuses the UO paid to then-head football coach Chip Kelly and his staff for the 2012-13 season.

“The university is glad we were able to reach a settlement agreement and now we are looking forward to the upcoming season,” UO spokesman Tobin Klinger said.

The university had paid a nearly $490,000 premium for an insurance policy the UO says it thought would cover all incentive bonuses Kelly and his assistants earned in the 2012-13 season.

After the highly successful season, the UO paid out bonuses totaling nearly $688,000 and sought reimbursement under its policy. The insurer refused.

Financially, it appears the university would have been better off not buying the insurance at all, as the lawsuit settlement doesn’t even cover the cost of the premium the UO paid. …

Duck Associate Athletic Director Eric Roedl, who agreed to this $490,000 contract without understanding it, has been fired:

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Just kidding, Rob Mullens gave him another raise:

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So how much did HLGR bill UO for settling this case for 50¢ on the dollar? I don’t know, but judging by the long docket below, they probably did OK at ~$300 per. Here’s hoping PURMIT picked up their tab:

Case details

Court: ord
Docket #: 6:15-cv-00260
Case Name: University of Oregon v. Drummer et al
PACER case #: 120541
Date filed: 2015-02-13
Assigned to: Judge Ann L. Aiken
Case Cause: 28:1332 Diversity-Insurance Contract
Nature of Suit: 110 Insurance
Jury Demand: Both
Jurisdiction: Diversity


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Harbaugh brings in $174M in Nike money for university

Sports Illustrated has the details on the ~$11M a year deal here.

Meanwhile the Ducks get only $600K a year from Nike, plus free shoes and clothes for UO administrators, of course. Frances Dyke renewed this contract in 2009, and it expires November 30, 2017. This deal is so bad.

Unfortunately the Nike contract renegotiation will likely be in the hands of the Duck’s feckless – but well paid – Associate AD for Finance Eric Roedl:

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Roedl talks tough to UO students when it’s time to squeeze them for more football ticket money. But, according to the legal briefs filed over his botched attempt to buy insurance from Lloyds of London for Duck football coach bonuses, it’s not clear Roedl knows how to read a contract, much less write one:

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OK, the truth is that Cousin Jim brought in the $174M for Michigan, not me.  But my muckraking here at UO did play a small part in setting up the AD’s $100M reserve fund for the $235M arena bonds – along with work by John Chalmers (Finance) and Dennis Howard (Marketing) and the Senate Budget Committee. And my well-researched complaint to the state auditors did force VPFA Jamie Moffitt to make a modest $455K a year increase in the AD’s overhead rate. Frohnmayer and Bellotti had set up a sweetheart deal for the jocks, the auditors decided it violated state rules after the DOJ made Jamie Moffitt and Rob Mullens give up the secret MOU they’d had been hiding from the Senate IAC.

Eric Roedl’s Bowl of Ducks case goes to mediation, and he gets another raise

3/7/2016:  And another raise. Mediation starts April 27, meanwhile the legal bills pile up. All paid from the academic budget, of course.

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2/07/2016: What’s it about this time? Duck bowl games.

Back in 2012 Duck Executive Senior Associate Athletic Director for Finance and Administration Eric Roedl got a call from some insurance salesman, and ended up buying a policy that would pay the Duck football coaches in the event their unpaid student-athletes won enough bowl games to trigger the lucrative bonus clauses in the coaches’ contracts. These bonuses topped out at about $1M. UO paid Lloyd’s of London $489,940 for the policy.

Unfortunately, it seems that Roedl didn’t read the fine print on the contract. Hey, it’s not like he was spending his own money, as Milton Friedman would have put it. It turns out Lloyd’s was only obligated to pay the coaches if the Ducks won the BCS. If they topped out at some intermediate lesser bowl, then the bonuses were UO’s problem. Which, of course, is what happened, meaning UO was out $687,965.74 in bonuses, *and* the $489,940 insurance premium. Clever salesman.

So UO promptly sued Roedl for spending UO money without exercising due diligence.

Just kidding. Roedl works for the Ducks. How bad would that look? Instead UO sued the insurance salesman. And, from the looks of the lengthy docket here, I’m guessing UO’s HLGR lawyers are doing pretty well off this.

Then UO gave Roedl a raise. Then another raise. He’s now at $225K – up $55K from his starting salary three years before, and up $81K from what Jamie Moffitt was getting in 2010 to do the same job:

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So it’s win, win, win for Roedl, Lloyds, and HLGR. Not so good for UO, of course. Originally HLGR wanted to take this case to a jury, but that hasn’t been working out too well for them lately, and so now the plan is to try for mediation:

MINUTES of Proceedings: Status Conference. Parties are to schedule mediation. All court deadlines are stayed pending the completion of mediation. Telephone Status Conference is set for 4/27/2016 at 09:00AM by telephone before Chief Judge Ann L. Aiken. Court will send call-in instructions prior to the call. C. Robert Steringer present as counsel for plaintiff. John E. Zehnder, Jr. present as counsel for defendants. James T. McDermott and Gabriel Weaver for Third Party Defendants. Court Reporter: Kristi Anderson. Chief Judge Ann L. Aiken presiding. (rh) (Entered: 12/15/2015)

Ducks squeeze students on mandatory ticket fees as football demand falls

12/19/2015 update: 

John Solomon has the latest college football data, on CBSsports. Basketball demand is even lower, in part due to a secular trend, in part because many fans think Knight Arena is a soulless big box, and in part because some fans can’t stomach the sight of Dana Altman after how he handled the rape allegations.

So how are the Ducks going to pay for the admins Alamo Bowl game junkets, and the jock bosses bloated bonuses?

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They’ll squeeze our UO students. Since regular fans won’t pay, AD Rob Mullens and AAD Eric Roedl are doing everything they can to extract more money from the ASUO student government, as explained below.

8/3/2015 update: Duck athletics uses monopoly power to discriminate against students

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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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DESAADFA Eric Roedl’s Bowl of Ducks case to go to jury Feb 2016

What’s it about this time? Duck bowl games.

In a nutshell, Duck Executive Senior Associate Athletic Director for Finance and Administration Eric Roedl – let’s just call him the DESAADFA – got hit up by some insurance salesman for a policy that would pay the Duck football coaches in the event their unpaid student-athletes won enough bowl games to trigger the lucrative bonus clauses in the coaches’ contracts:

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These bonuses topped out at about $1M. Eric Roedl paid Lloyd’s of London $489,940 for the policy:

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Unfortunately it seems that our DESAADFA had not read the fine print on the contract. Hey, it’s not like he was spending his own money, as Milton Friedman would have put it.

It turns out Lloyd’s was only obligated to pay the coaches if the Ducks won the BCS. If they topped out at some intermediate lesser rank, then the bonuses were UO’s problem – not a dollar from those pommie bastards at Lloyd’s.

Which, of course, is what happened:

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So now UO is out the $687,965.74 in bonuses, *and* the $489,940 for the useless insurance.

So the UO General Counsel’s Office promptly sued the Athletic Department’s Eric Roedl, for not reading the contract.

Just kidding. Roedl works for the Ducks. How bad would that look? Instead we sued the insurance brokers. HLGR is now collecting its usual ~$300 an hour. As for Duck Executive Senior Associate Athletic Director for Finance and Administration Eric Roedl?

He got a raise:


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And, from the looks of the lengthy PACER docket available free from RECAP here, I’m guessing HLGR ain’t doing too badly on this deal either, when it comes to billable hours.

From what I can tell this is Harrang et al’s last unfinished business for UO, unless they get the contract to defend UO and former interim GC Doug Park in state court over the Bowl of Dicks case they lost in federal court. Which would seem unlikely.

Harrang has already had to change lawyers on this once, after Joshua Stump and a bunch of other attorneys left HLGR for Buckley:

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UO could save $3M a year by shutting down basketball, mothballing Knight Arena

7/11/2015 update: Matt Prehm has an interview with Duck spokesperson Craig Pintens on basketball tickets, here:

The Ducks averaged just 6,209 fans per home game during the 2014-15 season, ranking seventh in the Pac-12. It was the lowest figure since 1992 when an average of 5,819 fans attended games at McArthur Court.

… The Athletic Department operates on zero funding from the University of Oregon [Yeah, sure it does], and so every penny can sometimes count. That’s why when Oregon decided to slash prices across the board – a 34-percent slash on average – was such a difficult decision.

The Athletic Department is reporting a near 90-percent season ticket renewal rate from last season, and while that’s well above the 80-percent renewal norm for the basketball team, it’s still a huge financial hit with the slashed prices.

… With a better marketing plan of the program, ticket costs slashed, and a better non-conference schedule Oregon is seeing early returns pay off.

No, actually this isn’t paying off. I’m no economist, but if you cut prices 34% and sales only increase by 10 points on a base of 80 – lets call that 13% – total revenue will drop. As it did. And as explained below the basketball program is now losing millions – even if you ignore the sunk costs of the $13.5M Knight Arena bond payments.

And it seems that they are prepared to lose more millions to avoid the embarrassment of having the country’s most expensive college arena sit half empty. Meanwhile, the millions in hidden subsidies from the academic continue – including the $450K we pay athletics each year for the Knight Arena land.

Meanwhile Coach Altman has also succeeded in driving away the UO student fans:

… Based on numbers given to me by [Duck PR flack Craig Pintens], the average student attendance for this season was 989 per game. Last season, they were 1,539. In 2012, it was 1,541. In 2011, it was 1,574.

5/15/2015:  UO could save $3M a year by shutting down basketball, mothballing Knight Arena

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Civic Stadium’s replacement, PK Park, will divert money from UO academics until 2021

Today’s devastating Civic Stadium fire prompted me to look at the agreements between UO Foundation CEO Paul Weinhold, UO Presidents Frohnmayer and Lariviere, and Duck Athletic Directors Bellotti and Mullens for the UO Foundation guaranteed loans that financed PK Park, which became the Eugene Emerald’s replacement field.

One interesting clause shows that UO is using general unrestricted gifts to the UO Foundation – i.e. gift money that could be used for academic purposes – to subsidize the Duck Athletic Fund. Furthermore, the agreement specifies that UO’s academic side can’t reduce those athletic subsidies until the PK Park balloon loan is repaid, in 2021.

The full MOUs – which UO kept secret until I made a public records petition to the Oregon DOJ – are here:

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Read more about Sambla

I’ve made a public records request for the accounting records:

Date: June 29, 2015 at 11:19:25 PM PDT
To: Lisa Thornton <[email protected]>
Cc: Eric Roedl <[email protected]>

Dear Ms Thornton –

This is a public records request for BANNER accounting statements showing how much in UO Foundation general unrestricted gift funds and gifts designated to general operations (as distinct from Duck Athletic Fund or other contributions specifically earmarked by the donors for athletic purposes) have been allocated to the UO Athletic Department, for each of the fiscal years from 2008 to 2015.

I attach a copy of the PK Park loan MOU’s for 2009 and 2011, which note the existence of these allocations.

I’m ccing Duck AAD Eric Roedl, as he should be able to easily produce these records.