Wednesday, January 26, 2011

WILL CAL DO THE RIGHT THING?



According to today’s Chron, Monday is D-Day for Cal sports. Let’s be optimistic. Many folks have talked of giving the Chancellor a face saving way of straightening out the Rugby/Baseball/women’s sports debacle.
Now he has it. Some 15 million has been pledged by alumni to bring back all five all sports. That will easily become 20. The Chron also reported that each Pac 10 team will receive about $3,000,000 from the Bowl games. The new Pac 12 Championship game will produce at least an additional $1,000,000 for each school. The new Pac 12 Contract will bring in 10 to 12 mill for each school (5 to 6 mill incremental).
According to the Chancellor we need $4,000,000 per year to bring back the five sports. Here’s a simple, back of the envelope solution. For the next 10 years take 1 mill from the increased Bowl Revenues: $500,000 from the new Pac 12 Championship game revenues: $500,000 from increased marketing revenues and athletic department cuts (efficiencies): and 2 mill per year from the Alumni. By that time the Stadium should be built and the endowment program in full swing.
It’s a win/win for everybody.
If the Chancellor and Athletic director fail to go this simple route, this will be why: A sense of misplaced priorities.
For weeks, I’ve been lamenting the relentless dumbing down of the school we love. Here is Rugby, the poster child for excellence, being downgraded and America’s pastime being cut, while classes like Peace and Conflict Studies (where the final consists of making a “sock doll” for an Afghan orphanage); courses on the TV show Mad Men, Scrabble (where you have to memorize ALL the two letter words), and “Diversity” (for the mid-term my daughter had to “come out” to her parents, go to a gay bar and get picked up, or walk across campus holding hands with another girl) masquerade as academic activities.
Cal’s newest class—for which we are committing paying Professor Brian Barsky around $150,000 to “teach” children how to take digital camera pics of demonstrations on Campus—is yet another example of misplaced priorities.
Normally, this would be just another example of the wasted money at Cal, but Professor Barsky is the one Chancellor Birgeneau is referring to when he speaks of “faculty pressure” to cut sports. Barsky led the faculty senate vote (90 some odd members voted out of almost 2,000) which called for the reduction of spending in the athletic department.
You can’t make this stuff up.
The Chancellor is paying him somewhere in the neighborhood of $150,000 to teach children how to take pictures of other kids “demonstrating” at Cal—and giving them academic credit for what other students can (and do, do for free)—with no talent—no less.
Since I know you think I’m making this up, check out the complete story at SFGATE.
I hope professor Barsky discloses to his students that they will be seen by other students as “rat finks” and snitches for the police will certainly subpoena any pictures they take of demonstrators and use that to prosecute and harass “student agitators.”
That’s what happened back in the 60’s. Authorities used members of the Alumni Association to identify students who were photographed in Sproul Plaza attending rallies. Your’re right. That’s how I know.
Though it is important to be able to compete, Cal’s salaries for the past five years have been out of control.
Our Athletic director makes $470,000. The fifth highest salary on Campus—ahead of the Chancellor’s $428,000. In 2005 she made $243,000. I don’t begrudge her the money, but for that kind of dough we should expect a solution that doesn’t involve cutting sports for children, nor demeaning excellence by downgrading rugby.
(BTW if you take the top 111 wage earners getting more than $245,000 (the threshold for which they want their increased pensions, no less), they all have jumps similar to hers—not quite as dramatic, but going up from $100,000 to $200,000 over a five year span). Look it up.
I want to be kind and reasonable, but at that pay scale she shouldn’t she be required to come up with better ideas, stronger marketing, more efficient departments, across the board cuts—anything but cutting sports for kids?
This issue is bigger than Athletics. It is about what we stand for as a University community. Will we pursue excellence, or will we continue to back slide into bureaucratic mediocrity?
I’m betting the Chancellor and Athletic Director will to the right thing and let us all join together and rally around and support the school we love. Then we can all bury the hatchet and go bring the Axe back to Cal.
We’ll find out on Monday. Here’s hoping.
Go Bears
Jeffrey Earl Warren ‘70

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