Thursday, November 8, 2007

Saluki Way Budget Authorized

BOT passed the budget yesterday. I caught this comment by President Poshard:

"In addition, our teams attract fans from well beyond Carbondale, which gives a boost to the local business community. The new football stadium and improvements to the Arena are long overdue and will go a long way toward revitalizing the east side of campus. I also am confident that in addition to helping recruit quality student-athletes, these facilities will help recruit other students who will be impressed by our commitment to moving the entire university forward."

Probably not. The research I've seen indicates that a successful athletic program has little effect on a student's decision to attend a college. Of course, there is only limited research in the area. I've only seen one study but will try to find it again. The remodeling on Morris Library will probably have more of an effect on a student's choice than a new football stadium.

Oh, and I really detest the term student athlete.


I find it troubling that the president thinks a quality football stadium is more important to enrollment than a quality education, quality education facilities, and quality off-campus housing. Everyone of those things affects each and every student. The football stadium affects...well, just those folks who care about football. Our priorities are so far out of whack at SIU that it ain't funny. Expect enrollment to go up, but quality to continue to decline.
Especially when it's used for anything other than practice only 5 times a year.
I just find it inexplicable that with SIU's baseline budget shrinking year after year in this decade (even though tuition and fees are going up), that when the university does get money its spent on anything other than something that deals with its primary missions of education and community service. As yet, Poshard hasn't been able to make his case on this score and even refuses to have the judgment questioned. Just because some of us disagree doesn't make us malcontents. Perhaps we'd just like to see classrooms without mold and money spent on maintaining quality faculty. Is that really so unreasonable?
Student athletes DOES apply in our case. Do you know which athletic program leads the MVC in GPA? Hint: It's in Carbondale. If you don't think the football stadium is a good option, propose a different one. The stadium is beyond salvage, it can't be fixed. I think is sucks we have to spend $83 million, but if clowns like Somit would have done what they said they were going to do when they rolled into Carbondale, we wouldn't be in this predicament in the first place, now would we? The other options suck, which is to pump money into a falling stadium and cut the program altogether. Those options both suck and don't cut it for SIU.
You mistakenly assume that the choice is between fixing the old stadium (which, by the way, we just spent a whole bunch of money on...why do that if it was really beyond repair?) and building a new one. The choice *should have been* between spending $100 million on educational facilities in *worse* shape than the stadium and doing something about the football stadium.

We're a D1AA football team, football team are money losers for athletic departments, and SIU will never be a football power. On what basis can you justify the choice of a football stadium over academic facilities?

I have nothing against football and, in fact, enjoy the football games when I go. But the decision still makes no sense when you consider that the Ag Building is in horrible disrepair and the largest academic building on campus (Faner) has as much water inside as it gets outside.
I have nothing against the football stadium or the Area funding, except for the way they are funded. If you take a look at the Fortune article I linked t a few days ago, collegiate sports facility expansions and remodelings are funded, in large part, by supporter donations.

Here, supporters have raised less than 2% of the funding with the lion's share of the rest coming out of increased student fees and taxes.
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