Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Lex Anteinternet: The Axe: UW''s elimination list. Considering Football

 Women rugby players of the University of Wyoming and the University of Colorado.  Actual student athletes.

This is probably starting to read like "let's pick on UW day" here on this forum, although as the forum doesn't have high readership, I don't expect to receive complaints from the Alumni Association here soon.

Anyhow, this started off today with my questioning the purpose of the Law School in the era of the Uniform Bar Exam and then went on to address the specific cuts being made, which I did here:
Lex Anteinternet: The Axe: UW''s elimination list.: Aeronautical engineering building. . . oops engineering building, at UW.  We've been through this before. Clearly, UW is in econ...
That item closed by questioning football.  I'm going to pick that up here in greater detail in a second.

I guess I should note that I do indeed have sort of a love/hate, I guess, relationship with UW.  I'm a two time UW graduate. Given that, I should fall in the category of individuals who have an unquestioned devotion to UW, but I don't.  I probably ought to ponder why that is.

In part, I think, it's because I grew up in the era of the struggle between Casper College and the University of Wyoming.  Back in the boom of the 1970s there was a serious local effort to make Casper College a four year university.  Pretty much everyone here was in favor of that, but UW, seeing its rice bowl being depleted, was adamantly against it.  So it didn't happen.  Having said that, UW's strategy in the face of this was brilliant, effective, and a good thing.  It went out and partnered with the community colleges to insert some of its programs into them and over time its even been possible to obtain some four year degrees, but not all, at the community colleges.  Over time, I think that its probably a good thing that this occurred and the community colleges stayed two year institutions and UW our only public four year one (a second four year institution exist in the form of Wyoming Catholic College, which frankly I also have problems with for academic reasons, but I'll bother everyone about that in some other post).  But, even while I concede that things turned out right, like a lot of locals I was left with some heartburn about UW.

Beyond that, my four year exposure to the school amplified this, selectively, a little.  It wasn't really the academics of it, which I think were excellent.  My undergraduate geology department was excellent and my law school experience good, in spite of my questioning the remaining viability of that school.  But I never got into the rah rah aspect of the university that so many people do about any university.  That probably says a lot more about me than the university.

Indeed, while a law student I recall receiving a telephone call from a study that was seeking to boost football game attendance. I warned the caller that she was wasting her time with me, but she went through the entire list of things they could do, from free tickets to prizes to bands to hoards of dancing girls, or whatever it was, to which I universally answered that, no, that wouldn't make me attend.  But on game weekends a lot of people with the opposite view, from my prospective, would flood the town and be annoying.  Again, that says more about me, than the university.

Having said all of that, I have never been able to grasp the manic level of devotion to UW football.  Lots of people who live here who never went here are manic devotees of the football program.  It seems weird to me, but then the nationwide devotion to college football baffles me.  

Yale football team of the 1920s.  These student athletes were likely actual students.

I'm not a football fan but that's only part of it.  I don't grasp how it is that university football went from being a game played by students to the farm teams for the NFL.  Indeed, one of the things I admire about baseball is that its farm teams are farm teams.  It doesn't pretend to be recruiting students athletes.  It recruits baseball players.  College football has gone from being a game played by students, on the other hand, to a massively funded farm program for the NFL which the NFL doesn't even have to pay for.

That's stupid.

Anyhow, as part of that stupidity I'd note that after I posted the items below on UW, I saw an item where a Democratic candidate for the state house has gone after the UW football program in the context of the budget cuts and noted that the coach is paid over $800,000 per year.

I don't know if that's correct, but if it is, that's obscene.

But if he is, what that means is that the going rate for Division 1 is that high or higher.  And that's obscene.

But what does it mean, in real terms?  

I don't know that.

What I mean is that I don't know the total cost of UW football, and I don't know if it returns more to the university than it spends.  It might.  

I don't think that any real student cares a whit about their college's football program, unless they want to play football.  There are always a few locals on the UW team.  But the real question is how much is spent on UW  football and how much does the football team bring in?  I have no idea.

I guess if alumni, and others, who are devoted to UW football spend more and bring more in to the university than the program costs, its' economically justified, in the environment in which universities actually exist.  I think that environment, in regards to football, is debased as the idea that a university coach would make that sort of money is insane, but it's a widely spread insanity.  Likewise, the enter system surrounding college football is crazy, but its a nationwide crazy, not a Wyoming one.

So the question is, does it cost us more than it brings in?

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