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Everything posted by zip-O-matic

  1. The key is to look at debt relative to the annual budget. Debt is slightly higher at UA than the budget, but it's essentially a 1:1 ratio. I'd like to see how that compares statewide.
  2. For anyone interested in this topic, this is a really great interview with former Maryland and OSU president Kirwan. It touches on redundancies and empire building and the possible need for mergers. https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2015/07/14/exit-interview-outgoing-university-system-maryland-chancellor-brit-kirwan
  3. Was the remodel done with general university funds or through private fundraising. Recently in higher ed, these things are usually done through a special fundraising campaign.
  4. Just looking at that graphic on athletic department spending, I wonder how much money could be saved through a Can't merger. Combined budgets are over 50M and if all the savings lowered the subsidy (about 40M combined), the school could possibly have an AD the size of UC but with less subsidies. Clearly, the saving would come from merging redundant programs rather than making cuts.
  5. My fear with the Corps is that, if it's seen as being a culturally dominating aspect to student life as it is at TAMU, it will drive off three or four potential students for every one it attracts. TAMU gets away with it because it is in a hugely populated, culturally conservative state with a crapload of military bases. TAMU can alienate those potential students because there are still enough who are drawn to their culture that they still are an OSU sized university. Not so sure about UA being able to do the same in Ohio.
  6. It's not black and white. Universities have become a lot like large corporations where the boards often are simply rubber stamps for the CEO. The exception to this is OSU where Les Wexner has held the most power going back to the late 80s. I have connections to the Regents and Gov's higher ed people but not to UA's board individually, so I can't speak too knowledgeably as to what level of oversight the UA board exercised over Proenza or if they just bought a bill of goods he was selling. I'll add that I don't think this was some huge con on his part. I truly believe that he thought the "build it and they will come" myth would make it all work out in the end. It, however, didn't, and that needs to be recognized. There's a lot of blame to go around, and I agree that some it should land at the feet of the board members who enthusiastically and unquestioningly backed Proenza. At the end of the day though, this was Proenza's grand vision and most of the blame needs to be assigned to him regardless of the degree to which the board backed (enabled) him to pursue it. He gambled with the future of UA, and it's increasingly looking as though his gamble came up craps.
  7. It is a four year university with graduate programs rather than a two-year branch campus. More like going to Illinois-Chicago if you don't get into UIUC.
  8. I think that's the reason behind Ohio Tech. It's the last of the traditional state names left. Doubt the combined sports programs would get into the AAC immediately. Nothing athletic should be a deal-breaker. Athletics should seriously be about 10th on the list in importance. I think this would happen and should happen. It wouldn't be any dramatic improvements though but, over time, one should expect steady, marginal growth in the quality of students. See my earlier post about hypothetically dropping the bottom 20% of the combined freshman classes over a five year period and how it would result in only barely nudging past OU and still slightly trailing UC. There's no magic formula that the merged U turns into OSU overnight.
  9. I don't know. A lot of people felt that Proenza's borrowing would prove disastrous, and I believe UA had its debt downgraded several times. I don't know if the new administration was blindsided by it or not. Was Proenza cooking the books until he could get out of town? The enrollment decline hasn't helped, and I know that UA was penalized under the state's new funding formula for low retention and grad rates, but I also don't know to what degree that contributed. I would still venture a guess that the primary factor was all the borrowing. Everything Proenza built--not just Info--was built largely with borrowed money. Akron just doesn't have the donor base to fund that kind of a building spree. And as I've said before, athletic subsidies are unsustainable. I hope that the saving from baseball are used to lower our overall budget and subsidy as opposed to what OU did several years ago when they cut a bunch of sports just so they could plow the savings into the football budget leaving the subsidy unchanged.
  10. And imagine the outrage if had spared athletics any cuts. That would have been a national story.
  11. At this point--and I consider it unfortunate--I honestly don't think the alumni are factoring too heavily into his process. His audience is the trustees, the regents and the Governor's office. How much of that is his obtuse bungling and how much of it is necessity borne of the #$^$ sandwich that Proenza left for him, I do not know.
  12. Here's an interesting breakdown on the cost of athletics at UA and the MAC schools with UC and OSU thrown in. It's an unsustainable model. What I don't like about this is that it comes off as UA reacting to a budget crisis (which it is) rather than taking a statewide and national leadership role in ending the madness. Had SS been able to position it as the latter, I think there could have been some good publicity for the university.
  13. Here's what I'd like to see from the admin next. A transparent account of why the cuts were needed and what were the factors involved in the decision to make the cuts where they were. Get out in front of the story and start to drive the narrative rather than wait for the inevitable howls of outrage from the various effected constituencies. And I'll answer the question before it gets asked. You can NOT have that kind of transparency when the decisions are being made. You think the pr on the cuts is bad; imagine it if various constituencies were all creating a $#%^#storm in the press trying to lobby for their individual corner of the university before the decision was even made.
  14. I agree. I was just responding the poster who said they should be made more vocational. The budgetary crisis really drives home the benefit of a merger both athletically and academically. The two schools are strong in complementary areas. The athletic departments are similar in addition to the savings of running one football and one basketball team. If the merger could somehow get rid of most of the AD subsidy and have that passed onto lower tuition, that would be huge with Kasich and the state getting on board to help position the merger as the UC of NEO. Akron, and by extension, Can't, need to be proactive in this. Take a leadership role and demonstrate that they should be more than just an afterthought. Proenza built (and borrowed) with the "build it and they will come" mantra. That has been proven false both athletically and academically. I think another approach is necessary, which is why I'm behind SS despite some of this public missteps.
  15. I agree with the above. If you gut the arts and sciences, you no longer have a university. You have a trade school. The core of any university worthy of the name is a solid core of humanities, social sciences and sciences departments. Marginalize them in favor of solely more vocational majors, and you don't have a university......you have DeVry. The goal of a university should be to have you leaving educated not just trained.
  16. Aramark got a hold of the contract to clean Chicago schools. Now the schools are filthy and literally rat infested. Meanwhile, those janitors no longer have a decent, lower middle class salary, some health care and a pension. Instead they've been replaced with minimum wage contractors and the difference in pay is no longer being spent in the local economy but, rather, gets counted up and sent to Philadelphia.
  17. Don't blame Scarborough. This is Louis Proenza's bills coming due! SS is jut the adult stepping in and trying to balance the checkbook and make the credit card payment. UA's athletic subsidy is twice the entire annual disbursement of UA's endowment. It is fully 5% of the university's entire budget. Somebody explain to me why this should be considered proper.
  18. The one thing that troubles me is any outsourcing/privatizing. As a Chicagoan who's lived through two mayors hellbent on privatizing everything in sight, it never ends up benefiting anyone other than the company that gets the contract/lease. Costs go up, quality of product/service goes down and any avenue for redress gets shut down by binding contracts.
  19. I disagree. Despite how much many on here loved him, Proenza left a financial time bomb behind. The trustees and the state are well aware of it. SS needs to make some bold statements that his team is aware of the problem and will clean it up. Publicly addressing the stadium was a good signal to the trustees, the Ohio regents and Governor's office that the adults are in charge, and it won't be more of the same at UA. He's not going to tear it down or sell it off. It is what it is, but he needs to let certain important observers know that he won't be going down the same path as Proenza. This year, UA's debt load ($487M) is larger than its annual budget ($484M).
  20. That's a bit of a puff piece put out by the university admins. I looked at their common data set, and Boise is almost perfectly equal in freshman class profile to UA. I understand the cultural impact of OSU football within Ohio, but it isn't what made OSU, OSU. Those were decisions taken on a statewide level to position it as the flagship that occurred before there even was such a thing as college football. Anyone who thinks OSU is just "ag programs" really doesn't understand the place. They have strong programs across the board from philosophy to engineering to their law and business schools. Just look up the National Research Council's ranking of academic departments. Even Case can't compete outside of biological sciences and engineering. I think that has a lot more to do with the majority of students they are attracting than does their football program. Do I think that team generates a couple thousand additional apps, sure. But I don't think it's driving the quality of their freshman classes. And as I pointed out, OSU was elected into the AAU two decades before they became good at football. It's hard to argue that football was the catalyst for their academics, role within the state's higher ed hierarchy and research. OU has enjoyed their best success in football and basketball over the last several years. Despite that, they aren't attracting any better students and are pumping more dollars to subsidize their athletic department than they were before their run began. My underlying point is that the door has closed on jumping into the college football big time. The subsidies just get bigger every year, and there has to some kind of a long range end game. As noted above, if individual universities don't stop the madness, the adults will step in and stop it. Think how far it would go with Kasich and the Regents if UA took a leadership position on this, stepped down to FCS and told the state that the funds formerly used for athletic subsidies would be split to enact a 5% across the board tuition decrease and fund 1,000 full tuition scholarships for high ability students. Now, you think that might attract more and better students to UA?
  21. You do know that OSU was in the AAU two decades before (1916) they ever became a major force in college football (1930s). And even if your argument was accurate, it was nearly a century ago that schools made those big investments in college football. What has been the ROI of playing catch up. We sink 20M in subsidies into the athletic department, yet we are farther removed from the big time schools than we have ever been. Everyone likes to point to Boise, but for all their success they still lose money and the university is still an academic backwater. All their football success has brought them is football success. Nothing else. I love college football, but schools like Akron have to find a way to do it within their means. Let me ask you a question, do you believe that the athletic subsidy per student should equal 10% of their tuition? Do you think we should be pumping an amount of financial resources into a money losing athletic department that is equal to more than twice what our entire endowment disburses to the university every year? Schools are going to need to reign in the madness before state legislatures and harsh economic realities force them to. It's as simple as that. Ask the average student and their parents what they would rather have. A struggling athletic department that falls further and further behind the P5 schools ever year or that extra thousand dollars a year back in their pockets?
  22. Not a popular opinion, but I believe that athletic subsidies should be banned. We and every other state school in Ohio not named OSU are pumping hundreds of millions of dollars into something that shows no signs of turning around and becoming anything other than a giant money pit. To put UA's subsidy in perspective, each year it is more than twice what our entire endowment disburses. It works out to just about $1,000 per student or 10% of the tuition for an in-state student.
  23. The athletic subsidy accounts for 10% of each UA undergraduate's tuition.
  24. Mind-numbingly stupid. Proenza left a financial mess behind for others to clean up I will grant, but you can't pull shady crap like this, particularly with Kasich saying that schools that don't address the affordability issue will lose funding.
  25. Interesting take, but what she doesn't address, and what makes Ohio unique, is that the state is over-saturated with public universities and colleges (13 4-year and 47 2-year branch campuses and community colleges) for both its population and size. Ever since the Rhodes building boom in higher education ended, the state--under Republicans and Democrats--has moved slowly but steadily in the direction of consolidating and structuring the bloated, redundant mess of a system he left behind. That's a movement that has gained momentum under the last two Governors, and it would behoove any Ohio public university to think about where the system is going and what their role in it will be.
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