It’s Time to Give Academics Top Priority

University of Oregon biology professor Nathan Tublitz, who is also the co-chair of the Coalition on Intercollegiate Athletics, offered a commentary in the Eugene Register-Guard on the recent decision the the University administration to reschedule commencement in 2010 to accommodate hosting the NCAA track and field championships. Tublitz explains his opinion in the broader perspective of institutional priorities which favor spending in athletics over academics. He notes the university has directed 60 percent ($409.5 million) of its capital expenditures in the past 10 years to athletics, 38 percent ($323.9 million) of its fundraising campaign to athletics, and he considers the salaries of many of the decision makers disproportionately high:

“Sometimes one has no choice but to shake one’s head in disbelief like an Oregon Duck bobble-head doll in the back window of a car. The University of Oregon recently triggered this reaction by rescheduling the 2010 June Commencement Ceremonies to accommodate the NCAA national track and field championships.

Move graduation for a track meet?

This decision to prioritize athletics over academics, inconveniencing thousands of students and their parents, might have been excusable were it not the latest in a long line of similar decisions. For example, the Athletic Department’s current football plans include moving the Civil War game to the Saturday before exam week, holding more Thursday night games, and establishing an annual Thanksgiving Day rivalry game against the University of Washington Huskies.” …

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