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Letters to the Editor

Athletics vs. academics

April 6, 2010

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To the editor:

In these days of financial hard times, it is not easy to get a college education. Even if you were a brilliant student in high school, scholarship money is tight. Most end up in hock to Sallie Mae for the rest of their lives.

But if you are a promising athlete, that’s a different story. You’ll receive the red-carpet treatment with ample help for tuition along with special housing and numerous other perks. Universities have no problem in bestowing a free ride to athletes who have little or no intention of completing a four-year program. After all, it’s all about winning games. Isn’t it?

Here in Lawrence, the highest paid person on campus is not the chancellor. It is our basketball coach. A tenured professor makes less than 3 percent of his salary. This disproportionate remuneration should cause us to re-examine our core values.

Does March Madness mean we are so crazy about basketball that rewarding athletic prowess becomes exceedingly more important than promoting academic excellence?

Comments

Pilgrim2 4 years ago

theironmouse (anonymous) says…

Jaywalker, if your a lawyer your a very bad one if all you have to do is spend your day on a forum. Now, I have gone to schools that are much higher ranked then KU is, University of Iowa, University of Nebraska. Yes there sports is seperate from the academic side. however, unlike KU, which is sub-par to UofI and UofN, there sports programs donate large sums of money back into the acadmic side because unlike KU spends untold dollars on private tutors, are allowed to skip tests, and other appauling methods to promote sports. The above mentioned schools understand that education of the athletes come first.


Wow, you've gone to three universities? Attended class or just visited the campuses? I've seen better spelling and grammar from junior high students. No wonder you keep having to switch schools.

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Alexander Smith 4 years ago

Jaywalker, if your a lawyer your a very bad one if all you have to do is spend your day on a forum. Now, I have gone to schools that are much higher ranked then KU is, University of Iowa, University of Nebraska. Yes there sports is seperate from the academic side. HOWEVER, unlike KU, which is sub-par to UofI and UofN, there sports programs donate large sums of money back into the acadmic side because unlike KU spends untold dollars on private tutors, are allowed to skip tests, and other appauling methods to promote sports. The above mentioned schools understand that education of the athletes come first.

Now as for the KU sports idiots that go to NBA, for the person that said they come back to Lawrence.. YOUR DEAD WRONG. They don't.

I hope Obama cracks down on Universits that split the two sides to avoid taxes while the students suffer financially as does the teachers and quality of eduction. It is unethical for universities to do this.

People complain about losing jobs to foreigners and complain about eductation. WELL THERE YA GO. How about we merge the two sides of the business back togther and instead of paying a moron like Bill Self 30 million. How about we take 1/2 of it and pump it bck into education.

KU does not care a blast about the athletes. They use them for the talent so that they get their millions and once they are done the push them out, like a wet dirty rag. Thanks for giving us the millions we dont' care about your future beyond the money you helped bring in.

KU is a horriable school, I have gone to it and left after 1 year on how poorly run it is. Was appauled that it can even retain the title of educational institution.

To show you how bad it is, KU med school denies incoming KU students course credit that the took at KU because it is sub-level education. SAD

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jonas_opines 4 years ago

I think it also means "I have nothing of value to contribute, but I have to say something anyway."

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SnakeFist 4 years ago

From the Online Slang Dictionary: "whatever" means "shut up and go away", which perfectly expresses my view of you and your specious argument (take your time looking that up).

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jaywalker 4 years ago

Moot: an obsolete debate, argument, or discussion.

No, I don't work for KUA nor am I a law student. And sorry, your argument is still moot as it has nothing to do with an investigation into individuals within the KUA that illegally dispersed tickets. Sorry.

And given your use of "whatever" as a retort earlier, it's likely you're a 12 year old girl. How's that smugness tastin' now?

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SnakeFist 4 years ago

Hey, jaywalker, did you see Hoeflich's article of April 7 about KUA? Guess my arguments weren't so "moot" after all.

Given your irrational defense of KUA, I assume you work for it. On the other hand, given your incorrect usage of the word "moot", its equally likely that you're a first year law student.

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independent_rebel 4 years ago

Actually, Merill, for numerous kids, playing sports is their ticket to college. I know, I know, you want to take money from my pocket to give all kids a free college education...but that will quickly reduce the value of a college education of the future to the value of a high school education of today.

Try this. Ask LHS and Free State to provide you with the number of student-athletes who get a full or partial ride to a college versus those who get a full or partial ride to college because of art, skateboarding, or hanging out in Veterans' Park before and after school. It would not be close.

When you factor in that many of these student-athletes would not be able to afford to set foot on a campus with major finacial investment that his or her family could not afford, it's simple.

Athletics are often a springboard to a college education that would not be possible without them.

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Number_1_Grandma 4 years ago

merrill (anonymous) says… Lawrence,Kansas could not live off what athletes spend in the city.

It's the other 29,700 students that make Lawrence what it is and what make KU what it is.


The same could be said about the T' Merrill

It's the other 99,999 citizens that pay for the 1 rider AND make Lawrence what it is....nothing but freeloaders and panhandlers who complain a lot.

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jonas_opines 4 years ago

Hello,

The user sandycove sent the following message to you via LJWorld.com:

==============================

Hint 1. The game makes money. Points, literally, are dollars. Mr Self and Mr Perkins do not own the game, nor play the game, nor score game points. But both men are extraordinarily well compensated. Clearly, they do add indirect value to the game -- unlike, for example, some owners of some professional sports enterprises, who might add no value at all, other than their initial investment. It’s not for me to say whether these two men are overcompensated, although the appearance of huge numbers like these is awkward in the context of a public, allegedly academic environment.

Hint 2. Mr Henry (and his mates) stirs the drink; he does produce points and he puts tails in seats and he compels people to watch television, where they become products themselves to be sold to commercial enterprises. One can argue endlessly about how under-compensated he is; I’m in the camp that believes he is desperately, fraudulently underpaid and that the notion of the “student-athlete” at the level of Kansas basketball is a duplicitous pretence. (I know I am tilting at windmills in this.)

One of my mates, an all-conference Jayhawk gridiron performer in the ‘early ‘60s, calculated the value of his compensation over three years at less than 15 cents an hour. He washed dishes for date money and still managed to practice, play, study and make the honour roll.

So, my fundamental point was that, if and when the man shows you the money, the wise person takes it, just as Mr Self and Mr Perkins did, and as Mr Henry should. My secondary point was that, in popular sport, labour is far more entitled to compensation than management.

(The fact that Self and Perkins once shot baskets themselves, in context, is childishly irrelevant.)

____-

Please don't start private debates with me. I'm not interested.

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Richard Heckler 4 years ago

It's an addiction = the end is not in sight:

By Susan Rischer - Lawrence

October 22, 2009

To the editor:

Let me get this right. The Lawrence school district approved funds for two sports stadiums to be built ($400,000 each) and yet Superintendent Rick Doll discusses teachers not having items they need (Journal-World, page 1A, Oct. 19)? What’s wrong with this picture?

I assumed children went to school to be educated, not to play sports in luxurious facilities. After reading Chuck Woodling’s description of the Free State facilities in his Oct. 20 column, I was disappointed. I understand some of the funds for Free State came from a private donor. Fine. But to me it seems like it’s a matter of “keeping up the with Joneses” and perpetuating a misconception of what is really important in life.

I know sports are important to a lot of kids. Playing a sport does benefit our youths in several ways. Realistically, how many kids are going to play sports professionally? Or even in college? Yet every child needs a solid education. To my way of thinking, the priorities are turned around. It’s quite unsettling.

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Richard Heckler 4 years ago

Lawrence,Kansas could not live off what athletes spend in the city.

It's the other 29,700 students that make Lawrence what it is and what make KU what it is. If there were no students there would be no university thus no BB team.

The letter writer is on the money.

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boltzmann 4 years ago

Seamus (anonymous) says… "The above comment underscores how our public education system as failed, and the slick marketing types have triumphed. BABBOY apparently believes the function of an institute of higher learning is to provide him with entertainment. We truly are heading towards the world portrayed in the movie "Idiocracy.""

...but, Brawno has what plants crave. It has electrolytes....."

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Seamus 4 years ago

The above comment underscores how our public education system as failed, and the slick marketing types have triumphed. BABBOY apparently believes the function of an institute of higher learning is to provide him with entertainment. We truly are heading towards the world portrayed in the movie "Idiocracy."

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BABBOY 4 years ago

Blah blah blah blah blah.

Seriously, KU would be nothing without that basketball program. Let me say that again.

Nothing.

Self gets paid what he gets paid because basketball brings in money at KU.

When the the journalism school brings in millions of dollars, then their professors can ask for raise......

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jonas_opines 4 years ago

Well thought retort, there.

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SnakeFist 4 years ago

"Without KUA, KU has no athletics." - Whatever.

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devobrun 4 years ago

Did_I_Say_That: I know of some KU professors who run consulting engineering businesses on the side that do quite well financially. My guess is that there are KU profs who do well with their investments, too.

All outside the U. At various times Deans and other high officials have had to reprimand profs for taking business on KU time and using KU telephones.

The University set up a Center for Research inc 40 years ago. The dean of engineering was the head of the corporation, and it was staffed by professors and students. Research was done, all off the university record. No body was getting rich directly, but the books were quite separate from the state of Kansas. Current incarnations include CreSiS, and others.

Separating oneself from the university and the state is very beneficial because it reduces the paperwork, boilerplate, procurement restrictions, and employment limitations associated with the behemoth.

All universities have spinoff organizations, athletic and research, to avoid the bureaucracy. Jet Propulsion Lab, MIT Lincoln Labs, and many others exist separatly from the U. All to get away from the beast.

Wait till you see what Obamacare will do for paperwork.

Everybody wants away from the angry and vicious bureaucracy. Unless they are idiots.

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MyName 4 years ago

Even if you were a brilliant student in high school, scholarship money is tight. Most end up in hock to Sallie Mae for the rest of their lives.

I can't imagine a 40 or 50 year student loan, maybe something expensive like this for a Medical student or a Law Student, but not your average college student. In fact, while State Universities are more expensive than they used to be, they are still somewhere around the price of a Ford Expedition for 4 years of school: not cheap, but not exactly indentured servitude.

As someone mentioned earlier, there are fewer people who are able to do what Bill Self does than able to teach and research at a University, which explains some of the compensation difference. However, there is another issue that explains the athletics arms race a little better: the revenue coming in from entertainment sources like sports obeys a log-normal distribution. This means winning programs at a large University can bring in the equivalent revenue of a minor league basketball team. Losing sports at a large University bring in quite a bit less, and losing sports at a smaller University probably couldn't even fund a single professorship.

This is why you will see large differences not only between the salary of a coach and a professor, but also between the highest paid coaches and the lowest paid coaches. Or for that matter, between a research professor at Harvard and a non-tenure track at a Jr. College.

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jaywalker 4 years ago

"Right, they're an unecessary facade, created, presumably, to convince people like you that KU doesn't lose anything by allowing a major stream of revenue to be diverted."

Once more, from the cheap seats, the revenue stream is not diverted. It flows directly to those who create it.

"Newsflash: people don't fill the stadium to see the KUA Jayhawks"

For the love, and the learning impaired: KUA is an arm of KU, created to manage the money, interests, and multiple athletic teams sponsored by the university. It was created to do exactly what it does: operate the entire athletic dept. as efficiently as possible in order to keep the books balanced and the teams in compliance with NCAA regulations. Ideally, KUA will operate with a profit and be able to contribute to the academic progress of the school, as it has. At the least, they do what it takes to break even so the sports teams don't need subsidizing from the university itself, which is what Perkins has done extraordinarily well. They are not some grand money-stealer as you somehow believe. Every university that has sports has an AD, even the Ivy League schools that don't give out scholies for athletes.

From your subsequent posts, it's apparent that you just plain don't like sports. That's a shame, but to each their own. But please give yourself a break and lose the delusion that somehow KU is missing out on big money because there's an athletic department. Without KUA, KU has no athletics. Therefore, again, your argument is moot.

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BrianR 4 years ago

smitty (anonymous) says… "Johnathan, can you explain why the only time my computer locks up is when I criticize the JW? At no other time, on no other site, why?"

Tools --> Options --> uncheck the box that says "stop embarrassing myself."

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smercer 4 years ago

Per USAToday - only seven universities had more revenue than expenditures during each of the last five years: Georgia, Iowa, Louisiana State, Michigan, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas. http://www.usatoday.com/sports/college/2010-04-01-college-sports-subsidies_N.htm

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Kash_Encarri 4 years ago

Made_in_China (Paul R. Getto) says… JO: "When 5 million people want to tune in to watch Professor Pennybaker give a dissertation on...well, any academic subject, ... " === Was about to say the same thing; when people fight to get in the lecture halls and will pay hundreds of dollars per seat, we will start paying the professor in question lots more money.

That's an idea, start having the students bid on seats in some of the more highly regarded classes and those needed for graduation. The Puritans around here would shudder, but Dennis Daily's Human Sexuality class would have sold out the Wescoe Auditoriums quite easily. That was one class that was filled the first day of enrollment just about every semester that it was offered. We could then pay the instructors based upon what the students were willing to pay to get into class. Those students also might care a little bit more knowing they had to pay extra in order to get into the class. :-)

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Roland Gunslinger 4 years ago

Snakefist-

Just like in a university classroom- things are taught but not every student learns the lesson.

Does everyone who goes to college earn an A+? Or are there students who do enough to just get by and others who fail?

See athletics, like a professor, teaches those things. It's up to the student to do their part and learn it.

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jonas_opines 4 years ago

Personally, I think that without the release of energy and excitement provided by sports and other physical entertainment we'd all be shooting at each other within the month. I suppose we could ban guns, but sticks and stones would be just as effective.

They do, after all, break our bones.

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SnakeFist 4 years ago

"Athletics teaches responsibility, respect, fairness, and discipline? How about it teaches success with grace and failure with dignity? Socialization skills?" - You're kidding right? How many programs have had wins taken away, have been sanctioned, or have been placed on probabtion because they broke the rules - not much respect or fairness there. How many athletes have gotten away with DUIs, batteries, rapes, and more because of their fame - not much responsibility or dignity there. Try following professional athletes' lives and you'll see that athletics definitely did not teach them to be paragons of virtue. College athletics is about making gobs of money, nothing more.

"Let's not forget the health and well being factors associated with sports." - Are you referring to the steroids or the concussions?

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Paul R Getto 4 years ago

JO: "When 5 million people want to tune in to watch Professor Pennybaker give a dissertation on...well, any academic subject, ... " === Was about to say the same thing; when people fight to get in the lecture halls and will pay hundreds of dollars per seat, we will start paying the professor in question lots more money. Sports and the (for lack of a better term) bloodlust they inspire are hard-wired into our little chimp brains. It's great KU has some good sports teams so we can rally around our 'tribe.' Everyone needs to settle down and take some deep breaths...and wait to see which minor player in the ticker scandal gets thrown under the bus and sent to jail.

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Roland Gunslinger 4 years ago

SnakeFist (anonymous) says… what does athletics do for society - give it an excuse to drink beer?


You mean besides the entertainment factor? You know all work and no play...

How about it teaches team building skills?

Or that athletics teaches responsibility, respect, fairness, and discipline?

How about it teaches success with grace and failure with dignity?

Socialization skills?

Let's not forget the health and well being factors associated with sports.

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Larry Bauerle 4 years ago

You mean professors don't make as much as coaches? Wow, when did that happen? Have you been sleeping for 30 years? I get really tired of people complaining about others' salaries, and in my profession, that is a somewhat constant chirping. If the professors want to make Self money, go train for the job and get it. Otherwise, they should do their chosen profession as best they can and earn what they are paid.

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SnakeFist 4 years ago

"When 5 million people want to tune in to watch Professor Pennybaker give a dissertation on...well, any academic subject, ... "

On another point, "Professor Pennybaker" is the person who just created a new life-saving drug or a new way to predict earthquakes; what does athletics do for society - give it an excuse to drink beer? The fact that few people appreciate Pennybaker's contributions, and most would rather donate millions to see their name on a new stadium rather than a new research laboratory, is sad.

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SnakeFist 4 years ago

"KUA contributes nothing to the system?!" - Right, they're an unecessary facade, created, presumably, to convince people like you that KU doesn't lose anything by allowing a major stream of revenue to be diverted.

"KUA runs the entire department. Ticket sales, TV deals, merchandise = all because KUA and the sports programs it runs exist. I'd love to see KU sell a bunch of tickets to an empty stadium." - Newsflash: people don't fill the stadium to see the KUA Jayhawks; KUA could go away tomorrow and nothing would change except that KU would keep the money. KU can run the show by itself, just as it did before KUA was created. In fact, KU can keep the same people in place and simply remove the facade of KUA.

"The university reaps the benefits of solid athletic programs in many ways." - KU would have a solid program without KUA, and get to keep its money.

I understand that you've been brainwashed into thinking that for-profit corporations have your best interests at heart, but at least try to be rational.

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jonas_opines 4 years ago

"When 5 million people want to tune in to watch Professor Pennybaker give a dissertation on...well, any academic subject, ... "

Not to mention when Prof Pennybaker has it publicized every time he has a class pass with slightly less than an A or B average, and has thousands of people screaming to have him fired in highly public venues.

"Ask any sports nut any question dealing with sports and they can give you a correct answer, but ask them the state capital of Kansas and they will not know the answer"

Kind of like: give anyone with poor conversing skills examples, facts, and logic that they don't like, and they escape into insults.

Anyway, I think I heard that one before. Capital of Kansas, it's Google, isn't it?

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The_Original_Bob 4 years ago

"Johnathan, can you explain why the only time my computer locks up is when I criticize the JW? At no other time, on no other site, why? "

You do have tinfoil covering your windows, right?

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Agnostick 4 years ago

Okay, thanks for the correction! I did ask for it...

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jaywalker 4 years ago

"My point is that KU can run its own teams without involving a private corporation. KU Athletics contributes nothing to the system, it simply runs the system for KU and siphons off the money that should go to KU."

That makes no sense whatsoever. KUA contributes nothing to the system?! They are the system. Nor are they siphoning off money that they didn't generate.

"KUA doesn't bring in anything, except, I'll admit, donations. Ticket sales, TV deals, etc. are brought in by KU (i.e., they are in KU's name) and, for some reason, diverted to KUA."

Again, what? Diverted to KUA? KUA runs the entire department. Ticket sales, TV deals, merchandise = all because KUA and the sports programs it runs exist. I'd love to see KU sell a bunch of tickets to an empty stadium. If that business model works I'm in the wrong line of work.

And sorry, but that analogy is ludicrous. KUA was not created solely so they could keep money away from KU, money they generated but supposedly don't deserve in your view. And refer to edjay's post as well. The university reaps the benefits of solid athletic programs in many ways.

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oldvet 4 years ago

Number of PhD's who could be professors at KU - Thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands.

Number of people who can recruit and coach at the highest level of D-1 - less than 50, maybe less than 20.

Supply and demand... something the economics PhD's understand...

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Jonathan Kealing 4 years ago

Smitty--

No idea. It's certainly not something we'd intentionally do. And it's not a problem I've seen reported from others. Up-to-date browser? Modern OS? Plenty of RAM in your computer? We don't build lightweight sites, so that could have something to do with it, but I've seen people successfully use our site with 4 or 5 year old PCs running IE 6.0, so I know it works. If it's older than that or with a pre-IE 6 browser, then maybe I could see that being a problem.

Jonathan Kealing Online editor

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Jonathan Kealing 4 years ago

Ag-

KU Athletics, by virtue of the state law that allows the university to create it, that exempts it form taxes and by virtue of its articles of incorporation, is subject to open records laws and virtually all of the rules and regulations that govern the rest of the university. There are some finance and administrative exceptions, but in terms of required disclosure, that's on par with the university.

Jonathan Kealing Online editor

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edjayhawk 4 years ago

KUAD funded the new recreation center and 40 million has been earmarked toward academics from the gridiron club. KUAD also provides academic scholarships.

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Benjamin Roberts 4 years ago

"...the highest paid person on campus is not the chancellor. It is our basketball coach. A tenured professor makes less than 3 percent of his salary. This disproportionate remuneration should cause us to re-examine our core values..."

It really makes you wonder why more professors did not choose to be basketball coaches.

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SnakeFist 4 years ago

"And KU wouldn't need trademarks without the sports teams." - My point is that KU can run its own teams without involving a private corporation. KU Athletics contributes nothing to the system, it simply runs the system for KU and siphons off the money that should go to KU.

"Do you mean every extra dime KUA brings in..." - KUA doesn't bring in anything, except, I'll admit, donations. Ticket sales, TV deals, etc. are brought in by KU (i.e., they are in KU's name) and, for some reason, diverted to KUA.

Consider this analogy: Suppose the state of Kansas created a private corporation to collect tax money in the name of the state, allowed the corporation to keep everything it collected, and then complained that it had no money. Wouldn't you tell the state to take back its income-generating ability?

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Agnostick 4 years ago

Make all the arguments you want about how much money "athletics" brings into the school, how much they give back, how much coaches are paid--there's no real way to prove anything.

The University of Kansas is a public institution, and subject to the Open Records Act; "Kansas Athletics, Inc." is a private corporation. They can throw out a number for a coach's salary, but there's no real way to verify any of it. And they're not obligated to show you any contracts, records, or balance sheets of any kind. Please correct me if I'm wrong on this one.

The more I hear about this ticket scam, the more I think about RICO. If there's an opportunity, I hope the feds lay waste to that whole den of vipers with RICO. Not so much out of any sort of hatred for KU... but because it's about time a strong message was sent to these dummy corporations.

Agnostick agnostick@excite.com

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smitty 4 years ago

Johnathan, can you explain why the only time my computer locks up is when I criticize the JW? At no other time, on no other site, why?

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smitty 4 years ago

Sorry. I did look for it and obviously missed it.

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sloppyscience 4 years ago

Why is it that I never hear people complaining about how highly paid actors are compared to how much drama teachers make? It's always coaches versus teachers. Because people know acting is entertainment. Well, sports are the same thing. I teach math at a small tech college. I'm not offended by Bill's salary. The reason I don't make millions of dollars is because families aren't lining up outside my room and dropping $250 to hear me teach FOIL.

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jaywalker 4 years ago

Do some research on the funding for KU's athletic complexes, snake. They have family names on them for a reason. And KU wouldn't need trademarks without the sports teams. As for oversight, the NCAA is all over it, as is every university in-house that wants to avoid sanctions.

Every extra dime paid out by KU Athletics is money that should have gone to KU to be spent,.."

Huh? Do you mean every extra dime KUA brings in? Aah, the Obama Plan. What? You made a profit? Good. Now let's dole it out to those that didn't earn it. Swell.

Wysi,

Gee, thanks for that ad hominem mixed in with an 'argument' devoid of any support. I like sports just fine, thanks, but with that level of argumentative mastery I'd be happy to take you on in any general knowledge quiz you'd like to offer up. And everyone knows the CAPITOL of Kansas is Chicago, don't they? B<)

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Jonathan Kealing 4 years ago

Smitty--

Posted yesterday I think before anyone. Though if not, it was within a few minutes of the CJ.

Jonathan Kealing Online editor

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smitty 4 years ago

Speaking of basketball...has the investigation of ticket scamming been in the JW? It's in the KC, Topeka, campus UDK, and national news though.

In less than 30 days, two Williams Fund employees have left work as the University of Kansas and federal agencies investigate possible illegal ticket brokering of KU basketball tickets.

http://cjonline.com/sports/football/2010-04-05/another_ku_official_leaves

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mom_of_three 4 years ago

jaywalker makes his point. Snakefist, what money paid for improvements to allen Fieldhouse? Wasn't it the money the income that Athletics made, as well as donations to the Athletic corporation? And the generalization that "universities" lay out the red carpet? Don't think you can say that about all schools.

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paulette2 4 years ago

an important letter, thanks.

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SnakeFist 4 years ago

"They generate their own income. It ain't comin' out of the prof's pockets or diminishing KU's academics in any way."

That's not clear to me. The money is made using KU's property, e.g., KU's sports teams, KU's stadium, and KU's trademarks and reputation, and then siphoned away by a private corporation that occasionally deigns to return some of the university's money to KU. Every extra dime paid out by KU Athletics is money that should have gone to KU to be spent, at least in part, on academics. In fact, what oversight, if any, is there of that yearly multi-million dollar profit?

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wysiwyg69 4 years ago

Bingo!!! Neil brown. 50-1 odds jayhawker is a deeply enbedded sports nut. Ask any sports nut any question dealing with sports and they can give you a correct answer, but ask them the state capital of Kansas and they will not know the answer. I guess sports [entertainment] is the important thing in life. By the way I like sports also, just not as much as to put it as a number one priority.

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Clickker 4 years ago

"Tenured" says it all. Self isnt tenured. He has to perform or he is gone. Having said that, the whole conversation is apples and oranges like the other guy said.

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devobrun 4 years ago

And then, after school, a handful of basketball players go to the NBA, earn big bucks and return to Lawrence.

Meanwhile hundreds of history majors , after school, get a job flippin' burgers.

Higher education. Ad hoc, ad loc, quid pro quo....so little to do, so much to know.

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jaywalker 4 years ago

"Does March Madness mean we are so crazy about basketball that rewarding athletic prowess becomes exceedingly more important than promoting academic excellence?"

No. It means that Coach Self and his squad bring in millions upon millions in TV and apparel revenues. When 5 million people want to tune in to watch Professor Pennybaker give a dissertation on...well, any academic subject, ... -when 16, 300 fans pack a stadium 20 times a winter to see him debate a visiting thinker... -when kids and alumni seek out t-shirts, jerseys, rain coats, and hats with KU's colors and Pennybaker's picture and lab coat number on it ... ...when that happens perhaps you'll get that which you wish for: a world where academics is more highly valued than entertainment. But I'm fairly certain nobody was cheering the senators as they walked down the streets in ancient Rome; it was the gladiators who captured the people's passion.

Besides, just like the many before you who've broached this apples to oranges comparison, you mistakenly believe KU's academe's are missing out on larger salaries simply because Coach Self gets their share. Sorry, Neil and cheese, that ain't the case. The Athletic Dept. at KU has brought in 42 million beyond their operating expenses since '04/'05. (one of the reasons Perkins is arguably the best in the country at what he does). They generate their own income. It ain't comin' out of the prof's pockets or diminishing KU's academics in any way. In fact, successful athletic programs bring in more new students which enhances administration pay.

Do we pay more attention to athletics? Of course, it's entertainment. Would it be nice if everyone's focus was tunnel-visioned on higher education in order to create a more enlightened society? Absolutely. But the two are not interchangeable nor comparable, nor is the latter suffering due to the former. The argument is moot.

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Christine Anderson 4 years ago

Yes! Thank You! Preach it, brother.

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