I received a couple of shiny, happy e-mails from Baa Ram U. President Tony Frank about this yesterday. The details are even more demoralizing than I could have guessed:
FORT COLLINS — Green-and-gold balloons accented the interior of Colorado State’s on-campus football indoor practice facility. It is a building in many ways representing the greatest success of the past regime being used to usher in an ambitious future.
Signs declared Tuesday the beginning of “a bold new era for Ram football.”
A green era. The university threw out lots of it to land its new head coach, Jim McElwain, who is being asked to turn around a program that won just 16 times in the past four seasons. To get Alabama’s offensive coordinator, CSU offered the 49-year-old McElwain a five-year contract with a base salary of $1.35 million, and a $150,000 bonus if his team meets graduation standards.
It is by far the largest sum ever paid to a coach at CSU, and more than double the $700,000 total compensation package the university paid its previous coach, Steve Fairchild. (CU coach Jon Embree, hired a year ago, is making $741,000 a year.)
Athletic director Jack Graham, who was hired Dec. 8, and president Tony Frank insisted they would invest in the football program, and they put their money where their mouths were.
This is a university where students in most colleges now pay a premium of an additional $15 per credit hour for enrolling in upper-division classes. This is a university where faculty and staff haven’t had raises in four years, and where there is no such thing as a cost-of-living raise for faculty, only merit increases anyway. Academic departments are constantly being told that times are tough, so that anything we do must be “revenue neutral,” or in other words, excellence without money. But of course, the AD is never expected to produce excellence without money.
“It’s really a reflection of how good a boss I’ve got and how smart a boss I’ve got,” said Graham of Frank. “He understands that in order to produce returns and have success, you have to make investments. And we’ve made an investment in the most important thing that we can make an investment in, and it’s called people.
“I told him, ‘Tony, this is the market. If we want to get a good head football coach at Colorado State University we’re going to have to spend about a million-and-a-half dollars a year to make that happen.’ ”
Baa Ram U. is officially now a football team with affiliated academic departments whose work must be self-funding via tuition. In other words, it’s a joke run by fools. I wonder: why should I bother standing up for academic values, when my employer aggressively shoves entertainment values in my face? What’s my incentive to turn in real grades this semester, when just handing out Bs to my students would please most of them? (When the ones who really deserve As e-mail me to complain, I can just make them happy by changing their grades too. See? Entertainment values are awesome!)
Why should I bother assigning new books, writing new lectures, and teaching new courses? Why should I spend my own money to finish researching my current book, because our research budgets are so craptastically inadequate? Hard work and integrity has earned me the same $60,000 a year I’ve made for the past four years–but guess what? I can unload that integrity and that commitment to academic values and still make $60,000 a year this year! Being the vox clamantis in deserto has given me only a sore throat.
As many of you know, I don’t work blue, but sometimes vulgarity deserves an in-kind response. Fuck you, Baa Ram U.
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