To the Editor:

The OHIO football team will play in the 23rd Famous Idaho Potato Bowl against Nevada

I am pleased to offer my congratulations to the Ohio football team for their efforts on behalf of Ohio University. After an injury-ridden season in which they won half their games, they again qualified for one of the 40 bowl games looking for relatively competitive teams (in this case the self-proclaimed “Famous Idaho Potato Bowl”: not sure whether “Famous” refers to Idaho, the Potato, or the Bowl). I think OU (whoops: OHIO) qualifies in that respect, given the fighting spirit of the players, who recovered from some adversity during the season.

However, I do have some reservations. My concern is not particularly with the bowl committees that invite teams that win only half their games, but with how much a bowl bid will cost the university in times of dire financial straits when faculty are being let go because of administrative miscalculations. In the past, winning six games and receiving a bowl bid has resulted in various bonuses for the coach. It’s frightening to think what an actual bowl win bonus (and possible salary raises for the Athletic Kingdom Community) would mean to funding for a threatened faculty position.

Perhaps the Athletic Kingdom still maintains what used to be called a “Post-Season Opportunity Fund” (popularly known as PSOF = pronounced “pizoff,” which I assume is their answer to anyone who questions funding priorities) to cover the extra cost of bowl bids. Whatever the name, the money still comes from sources that could better be used to support students and the academic mission of the university.

Speaking of money, we are told that the central budgeting process of the previous administration (a budget management scheme that many saw as faulty from the beginning) is now a major source of the (“not our fault”) immediate budgeting crisis. It has been suggested that OU may be overburdened with an over-abundance of (upper)-administrative (that is, non-teaching) positions. We are also informed that these administrators, many of whom were involved in the earlier disastrous decisions leading up to the immediate budget crisis, are still employed at the university. This is in contrast to some faculty colleagues who, despite their decade or more of dedicated service to students and their departments, have been informed that they are being terminated (or, in the Admin-speak cliché du jour, “sunsetted”).

In conclusion: Well, apparently there is no conclusion. Administrations come and go, they make the same or similar mistakes in pursuit of the “next great advance” in higher education (E-sports, anyone?), and the faculty (and apparently the support staff) bear the brunt of their mistakes while administrators go on to bigger and better things, or a golden retirement.

Of course, I could be wrong.

Barry Thomas

Professor Emeritus of German


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