Well, someone is getting a raise at Baa Ram U. this year–just no one on the academic faculty:

Four years ago, Colorado State athletic director Paul Kowalczyk could envision this moment, a time he would look upon his men’s basketball program with equal parts pride and hope, and reward a coach for taking ashes and building a winner.

Thursday was that day — a day Colorado State made official a three-year extension for men’s basketball coach Tim Miles. Along with a $330,000 raise, the deal is expected to keep him in Fort Collins through 2016. It also has a $250,000 longevity incentive waiting for him if he stays until then.

.       .       .       .       .

Miles had a base salary of $420,000. On July 1, that will be bumped to $585,000. On July 1, 2012, that will move up to $750,000. So, over the course of the next 14 months, he’ll receive a total raise of $330,000.

This is a scandal.  With priorities like this, why should voters support tax increases for higher education?  I’m not feeling so great about self-funding my conference travel this summer, all of a sudden.  As I’ve said before, colleges and universities are suckers for providing free farm clubs for the NFL and the NBA.  MLB manages to run its own farm teams, and they still make bank.  Why should government be in the business of providing services to the NBA and the NFL on the taxpayers’ backs?

35 thoughts on “Priorities

  1. I was up half the night stressing over how to cut $5K from here or there — by taking away jobs from adjuncts who are barely making ends meet. Maybe I should ask the athletic department for donations? Hmm, maybe we could set up ‘athlete-friendly’ subsidized classes. No problem there, right?

    Anyone know where his salary comes from? Could it be from private donors? Or is it state funds?

    I’d love to see the figures that suggest how this kind of outlay is earned back…


  2. In a men’s BBall program that went 19 and 13, there’s no way in hell they’re generating that kind of coin. I think it’s been demonstrated conclusively that college sports don’t pay for themselves at an overwhelming % of unis and colleges. Only a few mega-programs pay for themselves–the rest are just socializing the costs of entertainment that are enjoyed by only a minority of students and citizens.


  3. But think of the menz who want the rest of us to subsidize their entertainment!!!!!

    /nastiness off

    This is shameful. I wish we could get rid of all intercollegiate athletics, and fund intramural and casual lifesports for all interested students.


  4. Right on, Bardiac. Let the men’s BBall team hold bake sales if they want gas for the team bus for away games, and let the men’s coach do it for the love of the sport and for the love of Baa Ram U. and the state of Colorado.


  5. Sports were always more important than academics. If education were important, would most politicians participate in the pogrom on all levels of education currently inflicted in this country?

    For those unhappy about “tax payer money” going to the sports department, is that an aberration? Citibank, BofA, Lockheed-Martin, Being, health insurance companies, pharmaceuticals and oil companies are on the dole in one form or another. They are given may more money than the pennies sports departments need.


  6. koshem Bos wrote, “Sports were always more important than academics.”

    I think team sports only got big on U.S. American campuses in the later 19th C, which not coincidentally is the era in which women’s colleges and co-education were established. Anxiety about the feminization of college isn’t an entirely new phenomenon.

    (Maybe some of you with a better grasp of the history of education/history of American universities can weigh in on this. I’d be grateful for further commentary on this point.)


  7. Love the Baa Ram spin on its 19-13 record. Mediocre? No way: it’s the school’s best record since 2002! The team didn’t win any glory but “it made an NCAA tournament push last season.” And the AD describes his sweetheart deal on the taxpayers’ dime as “a good investment.” Unlike, say, building academic programs or strengthening the faculty.


  8. But if we didn’t have these pricey sports teams, how could we have fancy sporting events at which to schmooze alumni and politicians into supporting the new sports arenas and other important initiatives?

    Ironically, my little university has a top-notch bball and swim team, but since these are so much more low-key here in Canada, the costs are much less. Our president was interested in reviving football until the costs were tallied at over half a million a year (with a lot of that earmarked for insurance) after staggering start-up costs. Nobody’s talking about that or hockey, even. We are a university, after all!


  9. Even the movie “Red Dawn”, not exactly a beacon of irony and wit, had it right. When one of the invading Russian officers asked where the name “Wolverines” came from as they were discussing the teenage insurgents in the hills, his subordinate replied, matter of factly, “It was mascot for a northern sports collective”


  10. Yeah, my first thought when reading this was that Colorado State’s basketball program hasn’t been that successful. I can’t imagine it is attracting many students to enroll for that reason.

    Although, I will admit that I probably would not have gone to the undergraduate school I went to had it not been for a successful run they had in the NCAA tournament many years ago. I didn’t go to the school for the basketball, but the press they got during the tourney alerted me to the presence of this school (with a fine academic reputation, but when you are 15 or 16 years old you aren’t always aware of what is around you).

    Now that I’m on the other side of the fence, and I see how humanities programs are being gutted due to budget cuts right now, yet the athletic program still gets plenty of rain, I just wish that colleges could be done with athletics and just focus on education.


  11. Wow-that is a big chunk of change! Especially when departments across the university have been on hiring freezes for years now!

    And I can’t imagine that it was even necessary to keep him. The program is mediocre. No one was trying to lure him away.

    Ah, money well spent.


  12. I think it’s time to ask the athletic departments to follow the rest of the university stakeholders to abandon the “bricks and mortar” approach in favor of “distance coaching,” “virtual management,” “networked administration” and things like that. There has to be an app store where you could point your “smart” device at a bar code on the bench and get a quick tip here, a thirty second film demo there, a rip-roaring halftime talk, a teary-eyed apology for that Facebook picture with the arm around the pretty coed at the Habitat for Humanity Saturday walkathon, whatever you need from the canon of coaching histrionics. At a dollar an app, pretty soon you’re talking about serious money.


  13. Only 32% of expenditures at at Baa Ram U. goes to instruction (source: CSU Financial Accountability Report 2010). About 13% goes to auxiliary expenses, which include things like the bookstore (if you have one any more), dining services, and sports. I don’t know where coach salaries end up, probably instruction because they teach classes too.

    Those numbers are pretty similar to the spending pattern at my institution. It strikes me as a problem for only a third of expenditures at a state university to be spent on teaching.


  14. @Truffula — if it is anything like my public U, “instructional budget” doesn’t include faculty salaries, so 13% may not really be representative. Not that I’m disagreeing with your general point…


  15. Team sports are necessary to socialise men to be manly, to instil appropriate manly virtues like competition, aggression, and assertiveness, preparing them to make America great and to go out into Empire and conquer the world. It teaches tactics and working as a team to achieve domination. Moreover, it weeds out the weak and gives power and prestige to the strong just like God, or Darwin, or maybe Dorkins, intended. This is as important than any of that noncy, useless knowledge and critical thinking stuff. Knowledge doesn’t conquer small continents. How dare you question this goal? You clearly hate America.


  16. While sports have been a part of higher ed in the US since the late 19th C, the disparity between faculty salaries and coaching salaries is a more recent phenomenon — I think linked the the television revenues that some teams get. Then everyone feels that they have to compete for the coaches who might get you on TV… Ain’t capitalism grand?

    And I’d agree with Shaz, at my U the “instructional budget” covers TAs and lecturers, but not faculty.


  17. I can’t even muster surprise at this. For years while at DOU, I had the suspicion that if you were to take to the state voters a referendum essentially forcing them to choose between funding a good university and funding a good (men’s) football team, they’d opt for the latter without a second thought. DOU continues to inch closer to this, um, ideal every year.

    No doubt I’ll feel the same way at my new uni, but at least I won’t be as psychologically invested and therefore aggravated.


  18. This is anecdotal from my time as a student at University of Chicago, but I’m pretty sure they told us on the tour that we’d once had a football time in the Big Ten (or whatever it’s called), and that university president Regenstein (?) decided that was a misplaced set of priorities — he dissolved the team, and built a fabulous library on the football field instead. Okay, now I have to go look it up. Ah yes, here’s the cite from Wikipedia:

    “At one point, the University of Chicago’s football teams (nicknamed the Monsters of the Midway at the time) were among the best in the country, winning seven Big Ten Conference titles from 1899 to 1924, including a national championship in 1905 while playing at the old Stagg Field….However, the university, (a founding member of the Big Ten Conference), de-emphasized varsity athletics in 1939 when it dropped football and withdrew from the league in 1946. It would reinstate football as a Division III team in 1969, continuing to play its home games at the new Stagg Field. ”

    We may have a football team again, but I can’t remember anyone I knew ever going to a game, or even knowing when the games were.


  19. The Regenstein Library at the University of Chicago: what a waste of educational resources! I like how they built it on the grounds of the former Stagg Field, kind of like Christians building their churches on the ruins of old Pagan temples, or Conquistadores building the cathedral in Mexico City on top of the old Aztec zigguat. Suck it, football program!!!

    When I had a fellowship at the Newberry Library in Chicago, most of the European history fellows were always scheming to find a way to get down to Regenstein to use their collections. Sadly there’s no convenient way to get there & back, but who wants to leave once you get there?


  20. When I was at the Newberry you could get there, to the Reg I mean, but you couldn’t exactly get IN there, unless you had some particular pretext. I think fellows may have had one self-granted admission, but after that you had to work some angle. That plus the bookstore, though, who needs football?

    Starting a football team in 1969 must have been kind of like reversing the flow of the Chicago River!


  21. It’s very satisfying for unathletic dweebs to piss on college sports, but what evidence is there that the money that funds sports at state universities would be spent on academics in the absence of the sports?


  22. In more depressing misplaced priorities news, I just found out today that next year’s Fulbright-Hay Doctoral Dissertation competition has been cancelled:

    So far, it doesn’t seem to have hit any media sources yet; about the only non-facebook website I can find the information on is the Chinses History Dissertation review:

    There’s also a “Save the Fulbright-Hays DDRA” facebook site, which is where I found this information, linked from a friend who’d just received one of these awards for next year, and is now uncertain as to whether it will still be available. According to my friend, this program only costs around $6 million a year–peanuts in any federal budget.

    I don’t want to distract everyone from this thread on funding athletics, but I thought the Fulbright cancellation might be important news to readers of this blog, especially those who either are grad students themselves or who might be advising them.


  23. Who’s an unathletic dweeb? Not I.

    I’m on the record here as supporting club sports for all students. I think team sports are great–it’s the disproportionate investment on just a few men’s sports versus labs, libraries, and the faculty I object to. I merely think that spending on things that are not mission critical is a foolish boondoggle. I think this is particularly important when looking at *public* higher education, since the vast, vast majority of our students aren’t on the few richly supported men’s athletic teams. Unless and until the AD is conducting research and teaching the majority of our students, it should have no more than a minimal claim on the university’s resources.

    Bad news about the Fullbright-Hays–it looks like it was a nice source of funding.


  24. Unless and until the AD is conducting research and teaching the majority of our students, it should have no more than a minimal claim on the university’s resources.

    This is by your definition of what a university’s legitimate priorities ought to be. Who’s to say that big-time athletics is not a legitimate university priority? It is not some sort of self-evident truth that big-time athletics is an illegitimate public university priority. Now if you can show that the decision making processes that lead to these outcomes are illegitimate, then you’re getting somewhere.


  25. CPP, you had a point in your first comment–yup, we can’t prove that taking money away from the athletics boondoggle will result in gains for any other line in a budget–but your second comment: Zuh? You’re not kidding? The purpose of a university is education. How does operating a branded enterprise to benefit the NFL and the NBA advance that goal … especially when the majority of these enterprises are money-losers and need to be underwritten?

    I assume you’re not arguing that athletic scholarships make college accessible for unprepared low-income persons, mostly men, who otherwise wouldn’t be admitted. That’s the only hypothetical educational value I can imagine. And the evidence is clear (e.g. graduation rates, employment prospects in the pros, grade scandals) that Div I sports is NOT a good way to educate deprived young people.

    You’re probably kidding.


  26. Even if Div I sports had some value beyond enriching individual male coaches and ADs, what’s the proven value to Baa Ram U. of paying $750,000 for one coach? Is that really responsible stewardship of university resources?

    I’m f^(king sick and tired of fighting about the value of actual professors in actual classrooms when there’s this kind of unquestioned payday for people who produce exactly ZERO student credit hours or FTEs. But, if that’s what people want, then I suppose public universities should be in the van. Online education for all, plus you can buy tickets to see the men’s athletic programs!

    Somehow, I don’t see Harvard, Stanford, Chicago, or Rutgers going in this direction. Just my instincts, I guess.


  27. Sigh. In fact, Rutgers has also moved in this direction, cutting back on the once excellent honors college and the library to pay for big-time football. William Dowling, an English professor there (and former college athlete), describes these events, and faculty and student efforts to resist, in Confessions of a Spoilsport.


  28. A newly-appointed president of Temple University about a generation ago was asked at the obligatory intro news conference about his “vision” for the U., and memorably said: to be in the Sugar Bowl by [1989? or whatever]. It didn’t happen, although the “prow-gram” has been on an uptick lately, and Temple has since turned to other and more successful strategies for institutional advancement. Meanwhile, another institution in the same town, Drexel, has been on a rampage, gobbling up law schools, medical schools, and natural history museums [it just “joined” with the Academy of Natural Sciences] to get way up close in the rear view mirror of its friendly neighbor and rival, BFU. The height of its athletic ambitions appears to be fairly regularly knocking off members of the locally renowned “Big Five” group of schools (not a league or conference) in basketball. This seems like, overall, a considerably more healthy approach to academic competition.


  29. Well, I’m sorry to hear about Rutgers, but Drexel’s rise sounds much more respectable.

    Maybe the History Department at Baa Ram U. should approach coach Tim Miles and ask if he’ll endow a Chair?


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