Thursday, December 04, 2008

Priorities?

This week, governors of the United States met with President-elect Obama to ask for some federal aid. Many states are running budget deficits (which for some is unconstitutional) and are making dramatic spending cuts.

One example of a state with a budget crunch is Tennessee, which has begun cuts to its university system:

Recent cuts of $6 million to the UT campus, part of $17 million in budget reductions in the UT system, will mean fewer upper-division classes, reduction in faculty research support and additional reductions in the number of faculty, funding for admissions and in the ability to modernize teaching and classrooms through the use of technology.

State Finance Commissioner Dave Goetz said higher-education spending at all schools statewide must be reduced by $42 million. The UT system already trimmed $21.1 million from its budget earlier this year, with $11.1 million of that from the Knoxville campus.


In light of this, the University of Tennessee announced the hiring of Lane Kiffin as its new football coach.

Kiffin agreed to a six-year contract that will pay him $2 million, plus incentives, in 2009.

I don't fault Lane Kiffin. And UT isn't the only school whose athletics department is shelling out additional millions of dollars for a new coach in light of massive budget cuts and layoffs by the rest of the university. It's supply and demand, and the market demand for a coach over education comes from seriously messed up priorities, IMO.

I wonder if the same private donors/boosters that raised the $2 million+ for Kiffin would have been willing to give the money instead to keep admission spots open for students, or keep faculty in their jobs, or keep certain classes/departments open. It's sad there wasn't an outcry of "Let's not hire a football coach until more of the $11.1 million shortfall for the Knoxville campus is made up."

I'm seriously, painfully starting to wonder if I should consider boycotting NCAA athletics.

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