A quick rant, because ... enough. The University of Maryland has been plagued with financial troubles that have worsened the lives of its educators, staff and students. And yet its expenditures on football, in the past and into the future, remain insane.
Steven Salzberg writes at Forbes that the University of Maryland will "pay $4.7 million to buy out the current coach, Randy Edsall, hire a new football coach and pay him at least as much as the old coach," and meanwhile "continue to impose unpaid furloughs and pay freezes on academic staff across the board." UMD President Wallace Loh, what are you thinking? In what crazy world are sports coaches worth almost $5M in university funds while those who teach and run the place day to day see significant decreases to their quality of life? Aren't the students who attend the university and the teachers and researchers who are at the supposed heart of its mission the ones worth that money?
Calling upon universities to privatize or divest from sports, Salzberg also writes this, and I could not agree more:
Listen, sports fans: football is not the reason we have universities. Universities exist to provide education, no matter what the (sometimes rabid) football boosters may say. Some American universities do extremely well without having a team at all. Outside the U.S., universities have no major sports programs at all–the students enjoy sports, as all young people do, but the universities focus on what they do best ... The spectacle of U. Maryland spending $4.7 million simply to buy out its current football coach, when the university is desperately trying to save money for its core mission, demonstrates how corrupting the influence of football has become.Professional sports disguised as college activities do not belong on college campuses. Knock down the stadiums. We need more classrooms, presses, libraries, museums, coffee houses, green space, scriptoria, gardens, ruins to contemplate, and other public declarations that the life of the mind is more important than a bunch of guys chasing an odd shaped ball while a crowd gets drunk and eats nachos.