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Baseball's Coming Back

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Email from Scarborough to faculty and staff at noon today. Note the second bullet.

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TO:

Faculty, staff and students

FROM:

President Scott L. Scarborough

RE:

Three-year program to fund growth and address budget issues

DATE:

July 10, 2015

“Our future is bright, but first we need to fix the University’s finances.”

Beginning last October, I led a team of colleagues in an exhaustive review of the University’s finances. That team included the leadership of the Faculty Senate, the AAUP, and a representative of the department chairs. Based on that review, we found that our University had a $60 million financial problem. The team developed and proposed a three-year solution that the University’s Board of Trustees approved on June 10.

The approved plan reduces University expenses by $40 million, raises graduate tuition and undergraduate fees by $10 million, and projects $10 million in revenue growth by the third year.

The $40 million of expense reductions include the following:

  • Eliminating 215 positions via a planned reduction in workforce; no faculty layoffs are occurring.
  • Eliminating baseball.
  • Eliminating non-academic programming in EJ Thomas Hall, except for rentals.
  • Outsourcing dining services.
  • Renegotiating healthcare plans.
  • Increasing the cost share of retiree dependent coverage.
  • Changing the University’s retire/rehire policy.
  • Centralizing course scheduling.
  • Reducing central costs, such as legal fees and University memberships.

Reduction in force

The most painful, but necessary reduction is the abolishment of filled positions. We are working hard to make sure that our colleagues whose positions are being eliminated are shown the respect and courtesy they deserve. We owe them our thanks for their service to this great University.

Tuition and fees

We worked hard to solve our financial problem by cutting expenses. In the end, however, we needed to increase graduate tuition and undergraduate fees by $10 million to cover the higher costs of these programs and courses. Central to the entire budget process was our commitment to protecting and enhancing academic quality. Higher tuition and fees were necessary to honor that commitment.

A bright future

Our future is bright, but first we need to fix the University’s finances. We believe the new budget does that. In addition, the new budget funds college strategic plans, leverages our University’s historical strengths, funds new initiatives to grow future revenue streams, and includes funds to hire the faculty who will keep our University strong.

Our future depends on our ability to be distinctive and better. The University of Akron is a strong polytechnic university. As such, we provide students a better educational experience—better in terms of career-focused experiential learning and connectedness to industry, technology, and jobs—in the arts, the sciences, the humanities, and the professions.

We know that the next few weeks will be tough. After that, we will refocus our efforts on the mission ahead—to become a great public university for all of Northeast Ohio and the world.

Our future is bright because our faculty, staff, and students are great. That will always be the case.

Thank you for all you do. Have faith. With faith, everything is possible.

Sincerely yours,

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I'm very curious about what "filled positions" means, if anyone could enlighten me.

Guess the "abolishment of filled positions" means getting rid of people who are currently employed, vs. letting unfilled positions remain unfilled. Basically layoffs without using that word--although he uses that word in the next clause in the same sentence. "Abolishment of filled positions" sounds so weird. Hmm.

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Guess the "abolishment of filled positions" means getting rid of people who are currently employed, vs. letting unfilled positions remain unfilled. Basically layoffs without using that word--although he uses that word in the next clause in the same sentence. "Abolishment of filled positions" sounds so weird. Hmm.

Layoffs

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Layoffs

Guess the "abolishment of filled positions" means getting rid of people who are currently employed, vs. letting unfilled positions remain unfilled. Basically layoffs without using that word--although he uses that word in the next clause in the same sentence. "Abolishment of filled positions" sounds so weird. Hmm.

So by first bullet point saying "no faculty" that means these are all staff positions, no teachers or administrators? Where are there 215 staff positions to cut? And who exactly is going to be taking up the work left by the vacancy of 215 positions...

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Very disappointing, but not surprising.

This is what college athletics have become. And this asshat is falling right in. Either earn the school a profit or you're done. What a freaking joke.

Guess I'll have to go watch College of Wooster for my college baseball fix. I hope they don't get delusions of grandeur like Scarborough Polytechnic did. Maybe I'll send them donations instead, since this UA alum has ssent that asshat his last cent.

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So by first bullet point saying "no faculty" that means these are all staff positions, no teachers or administrators? Where are there 215 staff positions to cut? And who exactly is going to be taking up the work left by the vacancy of 215 positions...

Good question! I know that in my department, there is no staff left to cut that wouldn't leave a huge hole and make it impossible to teach.

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So by first bullet point saying "no faculty" that means these are all staff positions, no teachers or administrators? Where are there 215 staff positions to cut? And who exactly is going to be taking up the work left by the vacancy of 215 positions...

Outsourcing dining services would suggest at least one place where non-faculty staff positions might be cut. Read between the lines in some of the other bullet points.

Assuming that the athletics department had to share in the overall pain, can anyone think of a more likely thing to cut than baseball? The team is fairly large compared to some other sports and racks up a fair amount of travel expenses for all the away games. Zips baseball also doesn't have the winning tradition of the soccer or basketball teams, and the games draw small crowds. I hate to see UA lose any sport, but this seems to be the most logical.

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New basketball arena on the old Jackson Field baseball diamond?

My heart goes out to the baseball team and staff. They were improving, and had a great coach.

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Outsourcing dining services would suggest at least one place where non-faculty staff positions might be cut. Read between the lines in some of the other bullet points.

When Aramark takes over they will be able to cut at least 1 manager from each establishment (some managers manage multiple establishments) will total around 70 of the 221 jobs.

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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.

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Assuming that the athletics department had to share in the overall pain, can anyone think of a more likely thing to cut than baseball? The team is fairly large compared to some other sports and racks up a fair amount of travel expenses for all the away games. Zips baseball also doesn't have the winning tradition of the soccer or basketball teams, and the games draw small crowds. I hate to see UA lose any sport, but this seems to be the most logical.

This is a great discussion topic. I'm sure there were budgetary considerations involved. That is, cutting cross-country or golf would likely not be nearly as much of a savings as losing baseball. However, isn't baseball one of the sports required for full MAC membership??? This is a sad loss because baseball at UA goes back to the 19th century and includes John Heisman as one of its first coaches. I feel for the players and staff, especially because the program was improving.

Before the Info was built, I'd say kill football.

Now, if it weren't for Title IX, I'd say ditch volleyball.

As much as I hate to say it, I'm sure the success of Can't baseball also played some part in this decision. Similarly, Can't couldn't compete with us in men's soccer and their version of that program. In many things, these two schools compete for local resources too much to be more regionally, nationally, or internationally successful. Take a look at the most prominent programs at each school...the opposite school does not have such a program.

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... However, isn't baseball one of the sports required for full MAC membership???

It was at one time, but it's now optional in the MAC. UA will be the first MAC school to opt out. It will be interesting to see if other MAC schools that need to cut costs follow suit.

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It was at one time, but it's now optional in the MAC. UA will be the first MAC school to opt out. It will be interesting to see if other MAC schools that need to cut costs follow suit.

I don't think this trend will be unique to the MAC either. I imagine many mid-major conferences will see elimination of baseball programs over the next 10-15 years. MLB has a minor league system that serves the place of college programs in other sports (especially football), and the northern schools have higher travel expenses and are less competitive on the field because of spring arriving later.

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Sunbelt schools definitely have an advantage in outdoor sports like baseball. Sunbelt teams have dominated baseball's College World Series in recent years. That makes indoor sports like basketball all the more important for snowbelt schools.

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I don't think this trend will be unique to the MAC either. I imagine many mid-major conferences will see elimination of baseball programs over the next 10-15 years. MLB has a minor league system that serves the place of college programs in other sports (especially football), and the northern schools have higher travel expenses and are less competitive on the field because of spring arriving later.

So you understand what was probably considered, have a football helmet as your avatar, and still say kill football instead?

The constant bashing of football gets old on here. FWIW not even all B1G schools have baseball.

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So you understand what was probably considered, have a football helmet as your avatar, and still say kill football instead?

The constant bashing of football gets old on here. FWIW not even all B1G schools have baseball.

After considering the expense of the stadium and the program, 3-33, and low attendance, what objective person would say otherwise?

We will never be OSU in football; the absolute best football could hope to be is still not as prominent as UC.That's not bashing, that's reality.

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It was at one time, but it's now optional in the MAC. UA will be the first MAC school to opt out. It will be interesting to see if other MAC schools that need to cut costs follow suit.

All the MAC schools need to cut sports-- but the first step is getting the universities to reel in the pay for coaches --especially of teams and sports that don't generate any net revenue.

I get the idea that So and So are great basketball or football coaches--- but the reality is they are great at coaching a team in the MAC.... and in my (real) world if you are a MAC head coach, you really aren't worth much ($$) unless you deliver the goods ($$)

People need to take emotion out and treat sports and athletic depts like they are businesses--- which they are.

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and in my (real) world if you are a MAC head coach, you really aren't worth much ($$) unless you deliver the goods ($$)

It would be interesting to hear Dr S comment on the coaches contracts. I wonder if the word "that" would pop into a sentence again.

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So we can pay $50,000 to put the name on the back of t-shirts for Game 6 of the NBA Finals, but not to keep any of the 215 faculty or the baseball program? Yeah, definitely makes some sense. :eek:

The only question I have now is out of the people who wanted this guy as president over Tressel, how many of them still have a job at Akron? I'll take slack for saying this, but Youngstown State will surpass us in the near future. I have a relative that works at YSU and some of the stuff she is saying there is what I thought would happen here if Tressel was president. Ironically, Tressel's name is hardly brought up in same sentence with athletics at YSU even though that's what the concern was about the academic-type at Akron. Now I just wonder how many of them are left at UA with all these cuts.

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After considering the expense of the stadium and the program, 3-33, and low attendance, what objective person would say otherwise?

We will never be OSU in football; the absolute best football could hope to be is still not as prominent as UC.That's not bashing, that's reality.

1.) I would say otherwise.

2.) There are over 115 D-1 football programs that will never be OSU. Big whup.

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