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brainofdtrain: You are aware that McElroy was playing with broken ribs, right?
posted by raysmj at 06:18 PM on January 08
rcade: But those are *secondary* benefits which are tied into and contribute to the overall school rep - the money doesn't go directly into academic programs, and sometimes maintaining these programs isn't a cinch regardless. That's exactly and all I was saying. At the same time, the programs don't always provide the benefits that everyone assumes they do. The University of Alabama at Birmingham has pretty much found that out with its unprofitable and scandal-plagued program. It's not as if the school, which has among the finest reps on the planet in medical and public health research, needed that sort of PR. This is where my big question lies. Is there a point where costs absolutely outweight benefits, to a point where only those in major denial could say otherwise? Very possibly. Methinks the president at Alabama saw that point coming. (I'm thinking that to some degree it's already here, but football is too worshiped here to make doing anything severe even halfway practical.) Maybe publicity is publicity, whether negative or positive, but running a university isn't quite the same as maintaining one's celebrity.
posted by raysmj at 11:28 AM on May 05
Oh: There is a precedent for a university's president voluntarily shutting down a program - and having it thrive once recovered. It happened at Tulane in 1985, with its basketball team. By the early 1990s, the Green Wave team was being invited to the NCAA tourney. This was basketball, however, which is not a religion in the South (even if players get little extras now and then), and half the state of Louisiana isn't freaked out over Tulane, exactly.
posted by raysmj at 08:54 PM on May 04
rcade: The key word is "can." How often does it go into academics? From what I hear, football is mostly self-sustaining at schools such as Bama. Money that does go into academics is instead second or third-hand - say, a football nut or alum/football nut who gives money to the engineering school or something. But the negative reports can also hurt a school's academic rep in a very serious way - in short, they can make a school look like a complete joke. Even then, according to a NY Times Magazine article, some of the larger programs have had financial troubles as of late. The University of Michigan, which averages more than 110,000 fans for home football games, lost an estimated $7 million on athletics over the course of two seasons, between 1998 and 2000. Ohio State had athletic revenues of $73 million in 1999-2000 and ''barely managed to break even" ...
posted by raysmj at 08:31 PM on May 04
rcade: True, but surely SMU's academic rep took a greater hit, at least in the short run, and the situation might have grown worse over time. (SMU went on probation again in 2000, by the way.) Meantime, maybe nothing the NCAA tries can really work. Ultimately, it's probably just a cultural/social thing. But universities are there to provide people with an education, not act as a semi-pro farm operation for the pros. Football brings in money and probably students, but for several years now the costs have been outweighing any benefits at Alabama, as far as I can tell (although the impossibly delirious news coverage admittedly provided me with some entertainment I probably needed this week).
posted by raysmj at 01:34 PM on May 04
The new president will undoubtedly be receiving death threats over the weekend too, and maybe on into the next month. Regardless of his academic pedigree, he's either a) totally naive and stupidly moralistic; or b) has balls the size of all of Texas, which is exactly what the football program needs in order to shut the death-threat crowd down. He might be a combination of both. (For the record, I've hear that Paul Bryant, Jr., who made his way onto the Board of Trustees because football supporters thought he'd put more emphasis on athletics - I kid you not - was in favor of keeping Price around, which kinda contradict's Stewart Mandel's implication that this was all good ol' boy-related.)
posted by raysmj at 06:13 PM on May 03
rcade: It *could* have gotten the school in trouble. Every move the football program makes these days is being closely watched by the NCAA. You know that has to be true. Meantime, it's my understanding that the woman was not necessarily a dancer. (Price claims to have blacked out, and doesn't remember.) Meantime, Dubose problems had shown up before, long before the new president came along. He was sued for sexual harassment, the school paid a $350,000 and kept him on and ... the school went on the most severe probation of its history two years later, thank in no small part to Dubose negligence and turning a blind eye. Finally, Price had received a warning earlier this year, related to buying alochol for students. I'm not sure if it involved students of legal age or underaged, but if the latter, Price was a knucklehead. The firing seems to be violently hacking some the usually can't-be-satisfied types off, by the way. I'm of the opinion that, as weird as things get here, it wouldn't be bad to shut down the program for a year or so. Really. Something severe needs to happen. Today's firing may have been a morally haughty thing by a small-minded administrator, or not. But the attitude toward football here is far too all-consuming, and no crap should be tolerated.
posted by raysmj at 05:47 PM on May 03
rcade: It would have been old news, were it not for the fact that the NCAA put the school on a rather severe probation not all that long ago. That's pretty much why he was fired. Why take a risk? The guy pretty obviously has a serious drinking problem.
posted by raysmj at 05:02 PM on May 03
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