Debate: College football


Uploaded by utaustintexas on 25.12.2009

Transcript:
EMMA TRAN, MODERATOR>>Good afternoon. Welcome to the second Texas Chautauqua, a series of public debates between
University faculty members. My name is Emma Tran. I am a member of the Student Leadership Panel
of the Texas IP Fellows program, and I will be moderating today's debate.
If you played a word association game with the average American, the first word associated with the University of Texas would,
in all likelihood, be "football." The same could be said for the University of Florida, the University of Notre Dame,
and the many other schools that have built prominent and successful football programs.
The relationship may go well beyond name association. A 2006 study found that most Americans connect a university's academic quality
with its athletic success. College admissions offices have long noted a spike in applications the year following
a national championship or major bowl game win.
Complaints about student athletic programs by members of university faculties, on the other hand,
are nearly as old as the programs themselves. The influence of large football programs is particularly controversial.
The history of American football is linked with that of America's colleges. The first organized game occurred in 1869
between Rutgers College and the College of New Jersey. In 1889 the term "All-American" entered the lexicon
when writer Casper Whitney named the first "College Football All-America Team."
Along with its increasing popularity, the game is becoming more violent. In 1905, after 18 players were killed in games,
President Theodore Roosevelt threatened to ban the sport.
One year later, the forerunner of today's NCAA was created to increase
the safety of the game and to make sure college athletic programs were consistent
with "the dignity and high purpose of education."
Today, college football far outstrips other college sports in popularity.
Last year, attendance at NCAA football games approached 35 million.
Division I programs now generate more than 2 billion dollars in annual revenue and 50 coaches earn a salary above $1 million.
Today, we are honored to have two distinguished members of the University of Texas faculty
debate whether college football is a positive influence in American universities.
Arguing the affirmative case is Thomas Palaima. The Raymond F. Dickson Centennial Professor and founding Director
of the Program in Aegean Scripts and Prehistory in the Department of Classics, Professor Palaima has written extensively
on Greek languages. His current interests include war and violence studies, public intellectual writing,
and the cultural influence of Bob Dylan. He is also UT's representative to the national Coalition on Intercollegiate Athletics,
an alliance of Division 1A university faculty senates that provides a faculty voice
in the national debate over the future of college sports.
Arguing the negative case is Lino Graglia. The Dalton Cross Professor of Law, Professor Graglia has written widely
in both scholarly and popular journals on current issues of constitutional law and the role of the Supreme Court
in American government. He has appeared several times on William Buckley's Firing Line, as well as the Today Show,
Good Morning America, MSNBC, and many other television and radio programs.
Professor Graglia has written that big-time [college] football is a "fraudulent enterprise."
The format of today's debate will be as follows
:Professor Palaima will be given 10 minutes to present the affirmative case;
Professor Graglia will be given 5 minutes for cross-examination.
Professor Graglia will then have 10 minutes to present the negative case,
and Professor Palaima will have 5 minutes for cross-examination.
Following the opening cases and questions, each speaker will have 5 minutes to make a closing rebuttal.
That should take us to 3:45, which will leave about 30 minutes for audience questions.
We ask that you not interrupt either speaker during their remarks.
Professor Palaima will now present his opening statements.
[Applause]
PALAIMA>>Thank you, Emma, for that kind introduction. I want to thank the IP Fellows program
for sponsoring this Chautauqua-styled event, of which Socrates, a great debater himself if he was around today, would approve.
You are right; as long as there has been college football, there have been critics of college football.
I have been one myself, locally and nationally for about a dozen years. The problem is that most Americans
do not know the meanings of words anymore. The word "criticism" and its cognate, the word "crisis," derive from the Greek verb "kreno."
Both are connected to the idea of making a decision or judgment. Criticisms, like faculty's comments on student papers,
should be aimed at improving things - doing or making them better. Critics are not infallible.
They are often outsiders to systems or practices. They often miss things that insiders see.
That is why I always consult insiders on issues relating to NCAA sports and I did so for this debate.
But it's a bit like the wedding feast at Canaan; just remember that. In my dozen years of offering periodic criticism,
I have always believed in the sincerity and integrity of the principle figures involved in NCAA sports at UT Austin.
They are committed to getting things right within prevailing conditions.
I do not have any illusions that my criticisms will bring about significant changes.
Kurt Vonnegut didn't think writing "Slaughterhouse Five" would stop human beings from fighting wars. In his book,
film director Harrison Star tells him [Vonnegut] that he might as well write an anti-glacier book as an anti-war book.
Vonnegut explains, what he meant, of course, was that there would always be wars and that they are as easy to stop as glaciers.
I believe that, too. Well, I say there will always be college football and I am here to say why and why that is a good thing.
First, however, some more disclosure. I think that's a legal term, isn't it, Lino?
GRAGLIA>>Uh huh. It's got an interesting Greek derivation I won't get into.
PALAIMA>>When the word got out that I was going to argue the pro position in the debate, Professor David Fowler, head of
our Men's Athletic Council, wrote, "Frankly, I am surprised, although pleased that you are taking the side of athletics.
DeLoss Dodds must have given you priority seating at DKR." That sentiment, without the joke that I had been bribed,
was echoed by others connected to NCAA programs here and nationally. But please remember the proposition:
"Is football a positive influence on American universities?" Supporting this does not require taking the side of athletics.
There is too much of "us" versus "them" when it comes to college football.
The forerunner of the NCAA was founded in 1906 to make college athletics part of the dignity and high purpose of education.
But a major article in 1928 cited no less a figure than Woodrow Wilson for the view that big-time football was
a first-class octopus strangling many of the legitimate pursuits of educational institutions.
Eighty years later and two years ago, in Fall 2007, the Austin American Statesman ran a series of front-page articles
exposing excessive spending by UT's own NCAA program. Peggy Pickle, daughter of the late US Congressman from Texas,
whose Pickle amendment in the 1980s caused the escalating economic wars among leading college football programs,
wrote that her father never intended our sports programs to eclipse the purpose of the University of Texas.
Faculty watchdog organizations like the Knight Commission and COIA, to which I belong, and Congressional committees
continue to try to ensure three things: academic integrity, financial integrity, and, most importantly,
independent certification of college football. Independent certification is necessary because the money and stakes involved
for the 120-football bowl subdivision, or FBS programs, are very high. The NCAA now acts as a facilitator
for revenue streams from television contracts and equipment manufacturers and the sales of trademark sports gear and souveneirs.
For example, it was reported this week that the NCAA's indecipherable system for evaluating the academic progress rate,
or APR, of athlete students, gives a school a passing grade if one out of three football players
graduates within six years. If NCAA regulations produce such results,
we might look for change inside our colleges and universities.
Well, the media this week gave extensive coverage to the Knight Commission's report
of a poll of 95 out of the 120 FBS presidents. In 2007-2008, it reported, 25 of the major sports programs
ran profits averaging 4 million dollars. The other 94 institutions ran deficits averaging 10 million dollars.
This gap between haves and have nots is a big problem, as is the impact
such deficits have on the educational missions of colleges and universities.
Peter Likins, President Emeritus at the University of Arizona, commented that the current system is not sustainable.
The current president of SMU said that college and university presidents have no confidence in the NCAA to solve
the problem of rising coaching and athletic director salaries. They believe that compensation is excessive.
Last year at UT Austin, an assistant football coach was given a raise of $475,000. In contrast, right now,
staff salaries are frozen across the university. 70% of the faculty are getting no pay raises, not even 475 cents.
And the Department of Spanish and Portuguese is cutting $600,000 from its $2 million soft-money teaching budget.
This will require big layoffs of AI's, TA's, and lecturers in that one department. It will negatively affect teaching
of languages that are important in our state and for scholarship and teaching in Latin American Studies.
Other departments are likewise making major cuts. What does this say about the values of our institutions?
There have always been, and there are now, which I have made clear, problems with football
in our major colleges and universities. Yet, there will always be college football!
It is a distinctive part of American higher education. Brian Davis, Associate Athletics Director for football academics has,
over several years, helped me to see why UT football players conduct themselves so well and why the current cohort group
is on a track to achieve an honest graduation rate of 82%. These are the qualities UT seeks in their players:
athletic ability, a 3.0 or better GPA in high school, good character and sound core values, leadership skills
within school and community, intelligent self-confidence, competitiveness, and they also have to like UT.
And Mack Brown makes sure that coaches who do recruiting adhere to these standards.
I wanted to talk with Sam Acho who, as a full scholarship football player, has achieved a 3.64 GPA in Business Honors
and does lots of community service in home healthcare and with children in programs like
Wonders and Worries and The Children's Courtyard. He mentors third and fourth graders at O. Henry School.
He has led a missionary trip to Nigeria. Sam and I had an appointment yesterday; he cancelled. Why?
He was studying for two exams. I said to myself, "Good for him and good for UT football."
His studies are more important than talking with me. No wonder Sam is an Academic All-American finalist.
No wonder he won the Arthur Ashe Award for Outstanding Sportsmanship & Leadership, and scholastic,
extracurricular, and football achievements. He has his priorities straight.
What about athlete students who do not? Do we negatively evaluate academic programs at the university
based on the number of students who start but do not finish? Generally, we praise such programs
for their rigor and say that they are only for those who "have what it takes."
As former Longhorn football player Dusty Renfro recalled, "There is no excuse for athlete students not to succeed here.
If you want help with academics, you get it. Period." It is an athlete student's choice.
UT is not, nor ever has been, involved in academic fraud or dishonesty.
I spoke at length with Shawn Mitchell on Sunday morning. He was a star running back, whom you may remember
in the mid-1990's had one great year and was injured. He did not focus on his studies when he was here.
After pursuing football at NFL camps, overseas, and at non-NFL competitions, Shawn has now come back to finish
his degree in education. And there are a number of players like him who do not enter into these graduation rate statistics.
At age 36, he is now taking his final three-hour course. He serves as the role model and mentor to young players.
He lets them know the long odds of going and staying pro. Likewise, Derek Lokey, who graduated in three years
as an Academic All-American, is using his time now with the Kansas City Chiefs expressly to save money for law school.
He already knows that the NFL stands for "Not For Long."
Let me end my opening remarks with the insights of a colleague of mine at the McCombs School of Business whose judgment,
values, and candor I have long respected, James Deitrick. UT football players, in Professor Deitrick's view,
have the opportunity to earn a college degree they might not otherwise have been able to pursue,
especially the economically and socially disadvantaged. They have a chance to work hard toward achieving their potential
in an area where they are gifted and talented, and this area is highly valued by society. They learn to be leaders,
decision makers, and followers; to work within a team framework regardless of how things are going.
This learning certainly carries over to life as they mature and move on. Football creates strong positive memories,
as I know from interviewing former UT football player Dustin Armstrong, who is Athletic Director of St. Francis in Austin.
And it creates lifelong friends of different races, religions, cultures, and regions.
Football brings diverse people together who must work together. They take satisfaction and pride
in representing the state and the University in a national setting. Not many students have that honor or experience.
And let me say that with rare exception, they do this with real class and grace. They learn time-management skills,
which are invaluable in life. They travel and learn about American history and tradition.
I will speak more in my closing statement about what football does for us at this university. Thank you.
TRAN, MODERATOR>>Professor Graglia, you have five minutes for cross-examination.
GRAGLIA>>When they asked me to do this. I said "yes." I asked who the other side would be.
When they told me, Professor Palaima, I said, "Wouldn't it be more appropriate to get an opponent?"
His talk raises that problem for me since I agree with almost everything he said.
He told us one-third of all football players graduate and that the vast majority of schools,
95%, are suffering from economic losses. Only very few have a gain. Then he spends much of his time talking about
excessive compensation and comparing the $900,000 compensation for the Assistant Coach
to the freezing of salaries for everybody else. Well, there is not much I can cross-examine on that.
He tells us that football will always be with us and I guess like most evils that's probably the case.
But as he knows, there's a recent article in the New Yorker that has been reported in the papers
about the effects of playing football on the brain. And it turns out that they are not beneficial.
Now, the football industry, the NFL, is studying this at great length and as a matter of fact
I think they hired the economists that studied the tobacco problem for the tobacco companies to study this.
They figured that would work out better for their results. What they're concluding is that even in high school,
it turns out that when 250-pound men run into one other at high speed several times in an hour or so,
it doesn't help the brain later on. I think that the situation is that no sensible parent today would
agree to have his son play football. So if we get more sensible parents, maybe that will finally be the end of football.
He told us that it provides opportunity for minorities that might not have the opportunity,
which I think statistics would have a difficult time backing. One of the best authorities on sports,
and [the impact of] sports on blacks in particular, is Harry Edwards, a very well known professor at Berkeley.
He writes here that the undeniable fact is that through its blind belief in sports
as an extraordinary route to social and economic salvation, black society has unwittingly become an accessory to
and a major perpetrator of the rape, or less figuratively put, the disparate exploitation of the black student athlete.
We have, in effect, set up our own children for academic victimization and athletic exploitation by our encouragement,
if not our insistence, upon the primacy of sports achievement.
My first question to Professor Palaima is, what do you think of that?
PALAIMA>>I was wondering if there was going to be time to answer these many questions you've raised.
Yes, you quite rightly see my debating tactic. I am a critic of football and I see some of the same problems that you do.
The one-third graduation rate statistic, however, is something that the NCAA has set up. As I've cited, programs
that are running their ship correctly, that really care about the students as student athletes,
UT Austin among them‚ this year, the cohort group now moving through will graduate at an 82% rate,
which is well beyond the normal population of students here. Of the‚ yes,
95 of the Division 1A Bowl Championship Series teams are in the red. That is a critical problem.
But as I was talking to a Statesman reporter ahead of time, the problem is not necessarily
within the universities or the athletics programs. If the federal government had not made an unfunded Title IX mandate
that required women's sports to be supported‚ from where?‚ and if the state of Texas. as President Powers said
in his State of the University Address, had not underfunded the University
with 2% average allocations over the last twenty years, we would have perhaps sources of revenues
that wouldn't require schools to desperately chase the athletic dollar.
As far as the effects, I'm well aware of the effects that have been studied; the New Yorker article was among them.
We even talked about that in your office, I believe. And there was a recent article that was sent to me this morning
in the New York Times. This is going to be looked at and one is going to have to see what needs to be done,
but there are other sports that are brutal that are still part of our society, boxing among them.
I am a big Bob Dylan fan. One of his early songs was "Who Killed Davie Moore," a boxer, "why and what's the reason for."
And "'it's not me,' said the boxing writer, 'not me,' said the promoter, 'not me,' said the coach."
Well, the people who killed Davie Moore were the people who wanted to see this violent sport perpetuated.
So my response, Lino, to you, and even to Harry Edwards, is, yes, indeed, people are coming from disadvantaged environments
and football has become one of the brass rings that one reaches for. Shawn Mitchell even admitted this;
Dustin Armstrong admits this as well. You are a high quality athlete; you see this as something that you can do.
This has been a revelation to me: I always thought the same as you did.
Well, Jim, you're here, another classicist. How many of the people who started graduate school in Classics with you
got their Ph.D.'s? And how many went on to successful careers? And how many got very, very prominent positions
in colleges and universities? So, it strikes me as being a kind of‚ I know it's from Harry Edwards,
and I know who he is‚ but it's almost a kind of reverse racism to say that these people can't make decisions for themselves
and when they get to the university, cannot succeed. And by the way, when I said bulk of disadvantaged students,
I did not use "racially disadvantaged" students. I did not play the race card.
EMMA TRAN, MODERATOR>>Professor Graglia, if you have no further questions, you can proceed with your prepared remarks.
LINO GRAGLIA>>I can what?
EMMA TRAN, MODERATOR>>Proceed with your prepared remarks.
LINO GRAGLIA>>Thank you. I don't think there's really any hope of trying to win a debate against someone who relies
on as his major source Bob Dylan. He's got me, he's got me. If Dylan said so, what can I say? I have to admit that.
TOM PALAIMA>>Pulitzer Prize, Kennedy Center Award...
LINO GRAGLIA>>I agree, I quit, he's got me. You won. Bob Dylan!
TOM PALAIMA>>And specially commissioned by the Pope!
LINO GRAGLIA>>Wait a minute, what I want to know is what did Michael Jackson say about this? Damn, let me begin by noting ...
TOM PALAIMA>>Wait, I am picking Michael up on my headset...
LINO GRAGLIA>>What is he doing? Let me begin by noting‚ though it is should not be necessary‚ that I am not against sports
and certainly not against exercise. I used to play tennis regularly and snow ski until my knees gave out.
I still take 30-40 mile bike rides. I think that nothing is more important to health, mental as well as physical,
than exercise, and that colleges, therefore, should do more to encourage intramural sports and other physical activity.
The only activity that big-time football encourages, however, is sitting in front of the TV.
What I am against is corruption and fraud, and I must be against it more than most people or we would not have
big-time college football because everyone knows, I assume, that it is based on a deception:
that a purely commercial enterprise is masquerading as an educational one. The coaches are not teachers‚ we don't pay
teachers millions of dollars a year‚ but the CEO's of a large commercial enterprise.
The players are not ordinary students‚ many are not qualified to be‚ but essentially,
unpaid workers in the business of providing quasi-professional sports entertainment.
Even some of the games are not contests. Instead, a powerhouse team like UT actually pays weak teams
to take a beating to boost UT's won-loss record. No one doubts any of this; even my supposed opponent, Professor Palaima,
who has been deeply involved, as you heard just now, with UT football for a long time and certainly knows
a lot more about it than I do, has labeled this as "a clearly corrupt system." Which led me to wonder, here,
what we can take away from it. What was this debate going to be? Was he going to come out in favor of corruption?
Because as I understand it, that's the debate, and I am on one side. The point of a commercial enterprise, of course,
is to make money. But college football, as we just heard, is paradoxically a big money loser for an overwhelming majority
of the schools‚ money that could otherwise be spent on education. Why then do they do it?
This question does not apply to UT, which apparently makes so much money on football that it can afford
a 3 million dollar coach. The UT football program has been exceptionally successful commercially; no problems there.
But at the corresponding cost of being exceptionally unsuccessful academically, despite, to my great surprise,
of what I have just been told. Most college football programs recruit and admit football players with
the combined math and reading SAT score about 200 points lower than the average SAT score of regularly admitted students.
At UT however, the gap is over 300 points. And this is reflected in the average GPAs for football players.
Taking the figures from Professor Palaima, he tells me that, or at least in the past, that for the first three years,
the average figures for football players are 1.8‚ GPAs‚ 1.9 and 2, as compared to the average of students overall of 3.05.
So I am certainly delighted to hear how greatly this has recently improved. This must be like the practice of medicine,
you know, which used to kill more people than it cured but today is wonderful.
He also told us that UT has a graduation rate of 40%. Gee, it got to be 82% now, terrific! 27% for blacks.
It is extremely doubtful that a college that is admitting a student with a 300-point SAT academic disadvantage
is doing him a favor. It's a virtual guarantee of poor performance or failure.
But doing football players a favor is not of course the point of big-time college football.
There is no reason to doubt these figures I say because they come from Professor Palaima. But why do money-losing schools,
the vast majority, have football programs? For one thing, they seem to have trapped themselves in a situation,
sometimes called an arms race, in which they are tempted to the forlorn hope that if they only spend still more money,
for example, buy a still more expensive coach‚ they will eventually become commercially successful.
That this debate could not be more timely can be seen from an article in just yesterday's New York Times
that I think Professor Palaima just referred to, "Call to Curb Athletic Spending": "From stratospheric coaches' salaries
to a growing divide between the haves and the have-nots of college sports, university presidents say
they are very worried about the commercialization of intercollegiate athletics." Gee, those poor guys ought to talk to Tom.
Yet, they are powerless to do much about it. Many consider that to be "the most pressing issue facing college sports today:
how to defuse the arms race in spending by the nation's top college sport programs
and ensure that institutions with a smaller budget can continue to compete."
And the answer is that there is no way. No matter how much other schools spend, UT will spend more.
And Tom will tell us why that's wonderful for all of us when he's in that mood, not when he's in the mood
of writing this stuff. The only rational thing for smaller or less affluent schools to do is to drop out of the race,
and try to improve their reputation instead by spending the money on academics. The two most frequently offered
additional justifications for schools incurring these financial losses are that a successful football program may result
in a significant increase in student applications and in alumni donations. These claims, however, are not well supported
by experience. In a 2004 article, a Professor of Management and Economics at Cornell, after reviewing many studies,
said that he dismisses these claims as myths. An increase in applications is desired because it enables a school
to be more selective, which increases its average SAT score and its rejection rate, both of which are factors considered
in determining a school's ranking in U.S. News. And the number one objective and priority of American institutions
of higher education is a higher U.S. News ranking. That's the point of education, the rise in that ranking!
Unfortunately, it appears that putting more money into the football program does not necessarily raise a school's
average SAT and ranking, and may sometimes have the opposite effect. It turns out that the type of student who chooses
a school because of football success does not necessarily contribute a high SAT. As to alumni giving, some studies show
that bowl game appearances, as she mentioned, have a positive effect, but others show no effect or possibly a negative effect.
In any event, much of the increase in alumni giving as a result of football success tends to be earmarked for only football
or even just athletics. So, at least to some extent that is money that might have otherwise gone to improve academics
rather than to build a larger stadium. Football program and athletic program fundraisers frequently cross paths,
soliciting the same alumni and competing for donations.
Big time college football didn't become fraudulent and corrupt by accident; it's designed to be fraudulent.
It's inevitable: coaches can earn their million dollar salaries only by winning, and winning requires
obtaining the services of exceptionally talented football players. That's about all it requires.
I could be the coach if I could get twelve Vince Young's to play for me. But the coaches are not allowed
to obtain these services, like all others in our economic system, by bidding for them openly and honestly in a free market.
The schools would then have to pay the players what their services are worth‚ which, as the coaches salaries indicate,
would be quite a lot. So the coaches must therefore obtain their services by other means. They must be willing,
for example, to mislead potential recruits and the public into believing that an SAT deficiency score of
more than 300 points does not preclude academic success and one being a legitimate UT student. Almost every week,
it seems, we read about another instance of the NCAA imposing penalties on a school because of its football coach's
wrongdoing and about football players being in trouble with the law. What a surprise! Who would have thought that would
happen from such a designed system? The purpose of the criminal law is of course to deter wrongdoing. Nothing can be
more inconsistent with this crucial social objective than a system that first creates positive incentives to wrongdoing
and then claims to seek to control it by threats of punishment. A legal system cannot prevent all wrongdoing no matter
how hard it tries, but minimum rationality requires that it prohibits schemes that inevitably lead to wrongdoing,
mainly big-time college football. I have more here but I am told I better quit. I will use that later.
EMMA TRAN, MODERATOR>>Professor Palaima, five minutes for cross-examination.
TOM PALAIMA>>I'd like to stand up here. Lino started off with his own account of his sports activities and
I will tell you mine. I grew up playing baseball 16, 18 hours a day. I played shortstop. I then played centerfield.
And I only stopped playing baseball when a curveball became too hard to hit for me and fastballs became too fast
for my talent. But what that taught me in life, and I think one of the things I will agree with you on,
is that there are things that are out-of-whack with big-time sports, big-time football among them.
One of the worst aspects of this arms race is the scheduling. I ran a statistic once that over the last seven years,
UT plays maybe one or two teams a year that are true competitors, and in the rest of the games, their average victory
margin was 34 points. This is no longer competition and the athletes are not learning much from it.
But a lot of your other criticisms, Lino, fall under the heading of something I read as a young man
and still retain to this day, [by] Tom Boswell, who is a sportswriter for the Washington Post,
"How Life Resembles the World Series." Sports is a mirror of life, and I'm absolutely certain of that.
So when we look at the Darrell K. Royal Stadium and see luxury skyboxes, when we look at the salaries of
Mack Brown and see $3 million, or Will Muschamp and see $900,000, we are seeing a reflection of the same system
that operates in society. We've seen it on Wall Street and we see it in gated communities.
We see it in the great income disparity that is arising more and more within our society. So the point, then,
isn't whether football is somehow to blame. It becomes a kind of lightening rod and reflection of our society as a whole.
And I believe that one can make corrections. Now let's get to your particular point. The statistics you cited on GPAs
--you misread my chart in my COIA Report. 1.8, 1.9 and 2.0 were the GPAs that were needed to maintain eligibility
by any NCAA athlete in his second, third, and fourth year, according to APR stats. In fact, the football players at UT
and the players in general have average GPAs that are just below 3 or in some cases, above 3 depending on the sport.
What has happened here with this and also with revenue sharing--you made the point that football generates
all these revenues and keeps it to itself. That is, A, not true in general, because as we know that were it not for
big-time football revenues, we wouldn't have the women's sports program that we do around here,
so there's cost sharing there. But because of faculty criticisms, in the last four, five years, they are now giving money
over to the academic side of the issue, and in my summation, I will give you the report from
Bill Powers and from Chris Plonsky as to the amounts that are given.
As far as football players in the news, you may remember a couple of summers ago, that there were many UT football players
who were arrested for driving violations late in the night. And even I chimed in on that one, and it was horrendous,
but the former head of the UT Libraries who is now retired, chimed in and said, "For many years I was a counselor to athletes;
these people are in a fish bowl, and if you think of the number of athletes that there are out there in the overall
population of the United States, it would be surprising--it is more surprising--that we don't have 20 incidents a day."
We have maybe one that crops up every so often. And no student athlete to my knowledge has killed his girlfriend
and chopped her up in the bathtub as happened here with a normal student a few years ago on the west campus.
So what I think is that football becomes a kind of lightning rod, that people live in a fish bowl and that
any minor infraction--in fact, I might as well just speak frankly, since you brought up Harry Edwards
and frank talk about race. More than one person wrote to me to say me when I chimed on these arrests and said
"Tom, just really think of it from the perspective of these student athletes. Many of them were arrested,
not for driving while intoxicated, but for driving while black." And that's unfortunate, but we all know that this
still goes on. It's not just athletes of color, but prominent people of color. We just had this case at
Harvard University, right, with Professor Gates there, and it became a national issue.
So, I think that there were some things that needed clarification and I hope I've raised them.
EMMA TRAN, MODERATOR>>Professor Palaima, you can still continue with your closing remarks.
TOM PALAIMA>>Oh, me? I thought...Well as I said, this is not so much rebuttal, but summation. And I won't repeat myself,
but I'll rely on those who deal with UT NCAA sports on an almost daily basis and have insights that I don't have.
Let's start at the top. If you wonder as long as I did, why Bill Powers believes in the positive values of
Longhorns football, here is his candid response to my asking straight out: "When I see alumni, there are a lot of
very successful people on many metrics who are athletes here at UT. I would emphasize that I am serious about school spirit.
For most of the public, athletics is the place where they first connect, sometimes when they are very young,
to our university. And this is what bonds them while they are here and keeps them bonded in life." That, in turn,
leads to financial and other support for higher education. Some donors and supporters stay in athletics,
but a lot start there and then give to other departments. I think the Jamail's did that, Red McCombs...
"People think that a high percentage of our donations goes to athletics, but it's a bit less than 10%. A lot start there
and then branch out. American higher education is the envy of the world. From state colleges to the Ivy Leagues,
we have the most extensive network of higher education anywhere. Many factors contributed to that,
including a robust economy for a century and the GI Bill. The public is connected to higher education, but athletics,
and especially football, has been a major factor in that for about a century. And as I mentioned, in the last year,
athletics has begun, in response to criticisms, directing money to academics. President Powers confirms that
the University receives 10% or a minimum of $1 million a year from licensing revenue that sports generate.
Athletics has donated $7 million in the last four years. Much of that money has gone
to the new UGS initiative and to other programs. The University Co-op can fund awards to graduate
and undergraduate students and to faculty from revenues that come from sports merchandise.
David Fowler, head of the Men's Athletics Council, stresses the view of former President Norman Hackerman,
when he went to Rice University, where they have no big football program. He then realized how a good program
in intercollegiate athletics promoted a feeling of community and pride, and brought in a large number of former students
and friends on a regular basis. These are great positives. David reinforces what James Deitrick stressed,
that athletics is a vehicle for bringing disadvantaged students to campus and UT athletics helps them succeed academically.
Statesman sportswriter Suzanne Halliburton rattled off a whole list of names of people who came to campus
with 300-point deficiencies on their SATs and completed successful degrees with the help of the tutors
and with serious advice as to what classes to take. Women's Athletics Director Chris Plonsky has this to say:
"One can't compete unless one is given a chance to get in the game. Athletics at many institutions provides access
to higher education for many minority students. Thousands of women, still today a minority in terms of comparative
opportunities, have collegiate degrees thanks to Title IX. Minority men have no Title IX but they've had access
to scholarships to participate in football and other sports and to pursue an undergraduate degree. Football and other
sports require commitment, suppression of ego, sacrifice of individual goals for the greater good and the ability
to learn to be coached." Statesman sportswriter Kirk Bohls thinks as I do, that football and basketball were
professionalized about twenty years ago. Something has to be done about that. But he sees, as I do, pros and cons.
Among the pros are what President Powers, Professor Fowler, and, by report, former President Hackerman stressed:
big-time college sports is a rallying point for alumni, bringing all sorts of alumni back to campus, and they continue
to be filled with pride for the school and are advocates for the school. Athletes in particular learn how to deal
with the media, the fishbowl effect as I've mentioned, present themselves to the public and bring balance
and organization to their own lives. And many of these athletes will turn to coaching and have a positive influence
on youth at all levels. I've seen this myself in Dustin Armstrong at my son's elementary and middle school alma mater,
St. Francis School, and I know Shawn Mitchell has lots to offer as well.
Let me close, however, with the words of a great figure in Texas history and our university, whose statue now provides
a place for contemplation under live oak trees north of the UT Union. I mean Barbara Jordan. She was herself a formidable
debater at Texas Southern University and throughout her life. She made these remarks at a symposium on
"Issues of Integrity and Athletics" on April 7, 1994. "Why does sport matter so much?" she asked.
"It matters because sport is vital, it is viable, it is basic and it is essential. Sport is not a frivolous distraction
as one may first, without thinking, believe; sport is an equal opportunity teacher and it's a non-partisan event;
it is universal in its application. I see sport as an antidote to some of the balkanization that we see occurring
in our society ‚ everybody wanting their own private little piece of turf and absolute abandonment of any sense
of common purpose or common good. It is almost a cliche to say that there is no 'I' in the word 'team.'
If you are so focused on yourself, you cannot have any awareness of the common good." And she concludes,
"I believe that sport can teach lessons in ethics and values for our society. It is attractive to the young,
and how many times have we heard someone despair over the plight of our young people? If you give them something
to engage their energies, you would see that it might be something that lures them into the community of mankind and womankind."
I would conclude that sport has been with us not only since Homer's Iliad, but in my own knowledge of Greek pre-history,
since the Shaft graves that started Greek culture in the 17th and 16th centuries B.C.
It's a vital part of almost any culture. My remarks here have nothing to do with Lino, but they have everything to do
with a general sense. I believe, and I'm still going to maintain myself as a critic of what's going on because there is
a lot that's amiss, over-commercialization being prime on the list. But these are not necessarily faults of the sport itself,
but of the people who control the sport. And I think Barbara Jordan is absolutely right, that there's a great opportunity
here in big-time football for communal engagement, but you do not have communal engagement when you have
the social stratification of luxury skyboxes where people don't even have to sit with one another in common decency
but go up via elevators to a luxury area where they don't even have to come into contact with the hoi polloi.
That, again, and as I said before, is a reflection of our society, and I think that is something that needs
to be corrected as well. But it derives again from the economics of the sport. Luxury skyboxes bring in,
what, eight, nine, ten million dollars a year? That's a fact.
EMMA TRAN, MODERATOR>>Professor Graglia, you have five minutes for your closing remarks.
LINO GRAGLIA>>Let me first read the very brief remainder of the talk that I prepared. As to alumni giving, the first idea
is that it raises applications and raises the SAT. The studies seem to indicate that that's not the case.
Those are the two main justifications given. The other one about alumni giving is that much of that money just goes
to sports and its money that could go to academics. Big-time football...I think I have done that too;
more complete than I thought. I want to get finally to my real, or at least my most serious objection
to big-time college football. It is not that it corrupts coaches competing for a few top-level recruits,
and college officials like President Powers‚ if he didn't tell you about the glories of football, he sure wouldn't
be here at Texas‚ who must defend football to keep their jobs. My principle objection, much more serious, is that
it corrupts the students. Colleges teach by example as much as by what they say, and the message of big-time football
to bright young students eager to learn is that lying and cheating is sometimes acceptable. It teaches that pretense
and deceit are excusable if acknowledged with a smirk, a wink, and a nudge. Is it really surprising that many of our
political leaders are practiced in and tolerant of falsehood when they were trained in institutions where the product
of falsehood was displayed and cheered every Saturday morning in the fall or afternoon, or whenever? There is also,
of course, a question of an institution's culture and the effect that having a large number of quasi-professional athletes
on a college campus has on the school's intellectual atmosphere. If one asks whether UT is a serious academic institution
or primarily a football factory, as the introducer said, the first thing you think of is football. Who has ever heard
of an academic achievement? If you were asked that question, it would surely be relevant to point out that not only is
the football coach but even the assistant football coach paid at a rate of at least ten times that of a full professor.
As I said, I'm not against college football but only its fraudulence. If the mission of UT is to provide
sports entertainment as well as education, it should do it honestly. Pay the players what they are worth
and relieve them of the burden of having to pretend that they're students. We just heard an extended paean of praise
to the beauties of sport and Barbara Jordan‚ a more reputable source I admit than Bob Dylan‚ and I agree with her entirely,
sport is great, as I started out by saying. Of course, he topped me with this fastball-curveball stuff ‚ I just ride a bike.
But what does that have to do with this? We're talking about commercialized college football. I put it to you,
can you deny it? It's a system where the coaches are paid huge amounts of money. I mean, $3 million a year
is a nice salary in this country. Not many people are that important in their social contribution, right?
They are paid that kind of money, why? To win! But they cannot buy what they need. They have to get it some other way.
Now, is that not inevitable! It is set up to be corrupt. Is it surprising then that the NCAA finds corruption,
and Palaima very innocently and purely‚ "not for him to play the race card" he tells us‚ and then he plays it as grossly
and totally as anyone. Right? Why are all these football players found to be in the trouble with the law?
"Hey, it's racism, everybody knows that." We live in the most liberal city certainly in Texas, hardly anywhere,
where every leaning over backward is taken the other way, and he tells us it's all racism. Just simply, is not the system
designed to be corrupt? You're supposed to win but you can't pay. And what are you going to do?
He tells us how wonderful...are all the other college presidents wrong? I mean, today's New York Times tells us
that the biggest problem that these college presidents see is the commercialization of football and the arms race
and the ever-necessary push to spend more money. It's inescapable. And all those fantasy tales he's telling you
have very little to do with the world. Thank you.
EMMA TRAN, MODERATOR>>Thank you, Professor Graglia and Professor Palaima. I would like to open the floor to questions.
If you have any from the audience please proceed to the microphone and ask.
Anybody? Or you guys can continue asking each other questions.
TOM PALAIMA>>As you think of questions, and I hope you do, because there certainly was enough fodder for questions,
why don't you just come up behind this gentleman and get ready to ask the next one. That would be good.
AUDIENCE SPEAKER #1>>I am a visiting Professor so I am not an expert on football. But I was wondering,
because I heard a lot about sports in general, and I can't agree more with you about the importance of sports in general.
But it strikes me how many students are part of the Longhorns team? 20? 50? 100? I don't know. I'm asking.
TOM PALAIMA>>How many students are part of the NCAA program?
SPEAKER #1>>How many students are a part of the team?
TOM PALAIMA>>In football? About 105 in football.
SPEAKER #1>>105. Okay, what's the percentage of 105 students of the total students at this university?
Because I think that that's an important issue...(inaudible)
TOM PALAIMA>>There are 36,000 undergraduates. I did the calculations.
SPEAKER #1>>What percentage are we talking about?
TOM PALAIMA>>Well, who has a calculator? Or I have to go back to my Jesuitical training.
SPEAKER #1: Because I think‚ and of course this question, my final objective I mean, is‚ this talk about sport is something,
but I can't agree more with Professor Graglia, in the sense that this is a very specific debate about 150 students
of UT against two, three hundred thousand, I don't know how many more.
LINO GRAGLIA>>Well, in a school this large, with over thirty-five thousand undergrads, he says, the number of athletes,
not only football players, but athletes in general, is necessarily a very small percentage. In some other colleges,
in small liberal arts colleges, the number of athletes becomes quite significant ‚ as much as 20% sometimes
when you add up all the various sports. And it has by common agreement, except for Professor Palaima,
a very deleterious effect. He told us that American education is the envy of the world. That's true, despite football,
despite what all these small colleges are doing, struggling to keep up with AT&T and they'll never do it,
for money they could be using for academics. Do we need a new chemistry lab? Do we need a new studio
in the English Department? We need a new football stadium! That's all you get. Did I ever say that football here,
they do not contribute to other things? I don't think I said that. They do, recently, as you said as a result of criticism.
Yes, they are enormously, commercially successful. This guy is a big CEO of a very successful enterprise, our coach.
He makes tons of money. Why do you think he is paid $3 million? Enough to throw off, he is throwing off
a few tens of thousands to something else. Well, good for you, Mack!
SPEAKER #1>>Okay, well the only thing I want to say, just to finish, is that in a debate about an academic institution
like UT, I do think that this percentage is not a minor data. No?
The fact that we're talking about 105 students out of many many many students, it's not a minor thing.
TOM PALAIMA>>Well, that's just in football. If you wanted to raise the question about basketball,
what, there are like fourteen members of the basketball team...
SPEAKER #1>>Yeah, but this debate has dealt mainly with the football team, right? So that is why I mentioned the football team.
TOM PALAIMA>>I really don't know exactly what you're getting at with the numbers. And I am sorry that I don't,
but...one definition of an intelligent mind is being able to hold contrary ideas in your mind at the same time,
and I think that's what Professor Graglia does certainly in his legal work and other intellectual work, and I do as well.
I mean, you can't explore an issue without seeing it from all perspectives. And the UT total number of NCAA athletes here
fluctuates anywhere between 493 and 511 over the last few years. But those are the athletes that are‚ and this is
Chris Plonsky's argument and one that I am in sympathy for‚ there is another category of people who are admitted to campus
with substandard SAT scores. That is, people who are in the performing arts. They get special Presidential Scholarships
if they play musical instruments and don't have the academic requirements that are needed. And this is verifiable fact,
I tracked it down one time. Now, are they in the same numbers as the people who play football? Probably not. But then again,
we're talking about apples and oranges. I did calculate one time the amount expended per athlete via the amount
expended per student. The Department of Education has a recent report that just came out, where you can‚ in fact,
I have it in my notes here‚ but the expenditure on the average student at UT is $34,000, if you take the educational part
of the budget and divide it by 36,000 undergrads. The amount for the athletes is about $240,000 per athlete if you
take again the gross athletic revenues and divide them up by these 500. So you can see the distortion.
SPEAKER #1>>Thank you.
LINO GRAGLIA>>He tells us that even in the arts and performing music, some concession is made to admission.
But it doesn't compare to this. Again, the sort of misleading thing that's said... Is the average concession there
over 300 SAT points? It certainly is not. You don't do anyone a favor, as I said, by admitting them to a school
with a 300-point deficiency if you expect that student, that person, to be at the school and be a student,
which they are not. Now he talked about‚ I would not want to contest with Palaima on the skill of holding contrary notions
in your mind at the same time. He is much better at that than I am. And then he tells us...
TOM PALAIMA>>I take that by the way as a compliment.
LINO GRAGLIA>>Well, I give it as a compliment. I admire it. I have never seen a greater chameleon in a debate.
TOM PALAIMA>>Oh I've not been comic at all, Lino.
LINO GRAGLIA>>Not comical, chameleon...the multi-colored little lizard.
TOM PALAIMA>>Oh, chameleon.
LINO GRAGLIA>>You know, in these two ideas, he criticizes football. You know what it is? There's a special elevator
for the boxes! How about that? Of all the problems with football, what we've got to do is get rid of that special elevator
because that shows American society that some people are so rich they have a box. You know, about the least significant,
the least on-point criticism of this entirely corrupt, fraudulent system is his populism that gee,
the rich people get to ride the elevator and I have to use the stairs. Tough.
TOM PALAIMA>>Well, the reason that is pertinent, I hope you understood me, is that the main driving force for the expansion
of Darrel K. Royal Stadium, in two, actually, three phases now, since 1997, when we poured $250 million into the renovation
of that stadium‚ the main driving force was the installation of skyboxes because that's where the money revenues come in.
And yes, I'm a populist, I am an unabashed populist, and a few years back‚ let me give you an anecdote‚ I had
in my ancient history class a guy who was about 85 years old. And I had written one of my critical articles in
the Statesman about some sports excess of one sort or another, and he said he wanted to have lunch with me
and tell me how it was. Now, back in the 40s and 50s, he had been a high school coach. He still used words
for African-Americans that one would consider really reprehensible. But one of the things he talked about was exactly
what I find problematic about, again, the revenue-driven developments within football, namely‚ he said in the old days
everybody came together to that stadium. I used to go there with my father-in-law whose belt-buckle I am wearing.
The colonel had seats in DKR. But everybody was sitting out in the open air. Of course, the more privileged people
had box seats but they were still out in the stands with us. And it's a far different thing than this.
It's the equivalent of the gated community. And I am enough of a socialist democrat to believe that
this kind of segregation by wealth in our society is terribly harmful. It means that you have an entirely wealthy class
that doesn't even have to concern themselves with those people playing down there. If you sit in the skybox,
you can't even hear the noise of the helmets meeting with one another. You don't even know that there's
a potential for them to have brain injuries. You don't hear a player groaning when they get a crucial injury.
You are divorced from it all and they are like play things down beneath you. So, yes, this to me is a very
very serious issue and again, it is a way that big-time sports reflects our culture. And it's very
very harmful in a democracy, to have‚ any democracy‚ to have this tremendous income disparity, and I think that
it also detracts from the game. I've been at the games where, if you're in a skybox, I would say maybe ten percent
of the time are the people even looking down at the field. And even the club section, I mean‚ I went to the club section,
I went with Michael Granof to a game. We went to the club section and we were scurrying to get back for the second half.
No one in there was. Everyone was sitting around, drinking, talking to one another.
You know, that's not attending a football game.
LINO GRAGLIA>>Isn't the corruption of football a big enough topic that we have to talk about income redistribution?
TOM PALAIMA>>Yes!
LINO GRAGLIA>>And the merits of socialism? I mean, it's a great topic, let's get here the next time.
TOM PALAIMA>>They connect.
LINO GRAGLIA>>They connect like (inaudible) the Greek ‚ you're avoiding the issue.
We want to hear from someone, finally. For goodness sakes.
AUDIENCE SPEAKER #2>>I'm a very proud graduate of this extraordinary university. I have never been to a football game.
I would consider going if someone paid me a million dollars. I am very happy to see a diverse representation
of the student body here today. And I believe that racism and stratification are two of the most serious matters
in our society that we need to make a lot of progress on. So, it's been my observation that there are not very many
Asian or Hispanic star football players, perhaps because they don't have as many big people who aspire to that.
But I have seen a phenomenon in Austin, where Hispanic pride, rather than preserving culture beyond lip service
for the historic Texas Mexican musical and other culture, is now manifested most strongly to the point where churches
cannot have their annual affairs on days where there's a football game even on TV to manifesting identification with
the university through spending money they would be better off spending on a book for a kid on athletic gear,
to identify with this university. And I don't think it's possible to really delve into that on a statistical level,
but I think that those people that identify so strongly with this great university, the university is doing a lot
of outreach and trying to promote aspirations to higher education to disadvantaged populations.
But I bet so few of those people who identify with the UT sports program and spend all that money and put
all their energy on drinking and going to bars and watching games and caring about the team‚ that they actually
would encourage their children or grandchildren not to drop out of school and instead inspire to be a university student.
And I wonder what your response would be.
TOM PALAIMA>>If that is directed...or if you want a response from me, I don't know how to respond to that.
It's an area where‚ it's a general observation. I have no knowledge of the social dynamics that go on
in that kind of environment. I dare say, that, however, that if you went to Cleveland, Ohio, where I am from,
people are identifying with the Cleveland Cavaliers or the Cleveland Browns or the Cleveland Indians even,
and doing the same thing around sports that you say goes on here with regard to the University of Texas at Austin.
And again, that's a product of the commercialization. But I think that if UT weren't here with that form of identification,
then they would be supporting the Dallas Cowboys or something of this sort in a much more dramatic fashion.
Again, one of the reasons I went to all of these principal people‚ Chris Plonsky, Brian, are you here?‚ Brian Davis,
who has been a tremendous source of information for me, and not a bullshit artist. I mean, there has been no con job
from Brian. He has always told me things straight away, the pros and the cons, the warts and the treasures.
He's gotten me in contact with people who are struggling, who are trying to right their ship, like Shawn Mitchell.
He has gotten me in touch with star players, I mean star academic players, so‚ but the reason why I got in contact
with him was not because I want to be a chameleon, but because when I was approached about having this debate, I said,
"Well I can take the con side." "Well, we want Professor Ganglia to do that and we would like you to do the pro side."
And I said, "But look, I have all these criticisms." Well, go ahead, and I think the way they described me was correct,
a critic of some of these practices but somebody who believes that sports, properly integrated with education, has a value.
And I think that a lot of that is done here and I think that things are moving in a positive direction.
But just like anything in society, nothing is going to change until enough people get behind changing.
So, we have what the general society wants. It's just like Kurt Vonnegut says: his book, "Slaughterhouse Five,"
no matter how great, is not going to stop war. Particular criticisms by faculty watchdog groups,
by Tom Palaima, criticisms by Lino Graglia are not going to stop what we consider the excesses.
But what does stop it is people inside like Brian Davis who says‚ you know, these graduation rates
that Lino cited are terrible. We shouldn't be graduating 34%, we should be doing better. So Randa Ryan, Brian Davis
institute ways of making sure these students take legitimate courses, stay on...bring people like Shawn Mitchell
back to be role models, to say "Hey, I saw what I missed, don't you be like me! And I'm getting an education now."
So that's where things will turn around. So, these things may exist, but the thing is
to think of ways in which we can find solutions to them.
AUDIENCE SPEAKER #3>>Okay, I just wanted to start by saying that I came a long way from home to come to this university.
Originally, I knew nothing about the university but the reason I did research on it and found out about
the business school which I am involved in now is because of the sports program. And as a regular teenager
who watches sports, not just football but basketball, baseball, volleyball, whatever, learning about the sporting events
and the programs and school spirit that bring us together and knowing that having such a large student body
can be brought together by all these sporting events and school spirit, I think that's a positive effect
on the university‚ having a sporting program that can represent your school in a way that can bring students
from out of state, like myself. And I wanted to also point out that there aren't just renovations to
the stadium going on, but like you said, like the sciences building, there's tons of new buildings being built,
there's construction everywhere. Every year there's new buildings being built for all kinds of academic purposes,
not just sports. And I just wanted to see what you guys thought about universities such as St. John's that used
to have a football program and now do not have any because they felt that it was a negative effect on their school.
I just wanted to get your take on that.
LINO GRAGLIA>>Yes, as I say, I am all for sports. I think we ought to encourage intramural sports and
intramural facilities with much more money put into it than we do now. And if Texas is supposed to provide
sports entertainment that brings people together in the community and so on‚ all I'm objecting to, as I say,
is the dishonesty. Do it honestly! That is, don't pretend the people are students. If you've got to have people with
300-point SAT deficiencies, then pretend you have students‚ that's not a good example. That's just bad for the world.
It's certainly bad for students. Pay these players, they are very valuable people! Pay them what they are worth,
don't make them pretend they're students. If they're here and they want to go to school and take a course, fine,
but instead of this whole pretense, "hey, we're admitted, we're UT students"‚ it's not possible.
Do these sports bring about a sense of community? I guess so. I am all for intramural sports.
I don't know why we can't do that. Or even intercollegiate. But maybe it should be intercollegiate only in Texas.
So play A&M, but not this giant commercial enterprise. He says the Texas football program supports other things.
Of course it does, it makes tons of money, but it's got nothing to do with education and certainly even more than here‚ here
I say the problem is not lack of commercial success and lack of money, but that's the major problem
at 95% of the schools that are struggling to have football teams.
I don't know what it does for student community but it sure can't do enough.
TOM PALAIMA>>Well, on this score, UT has the finest intramural facilities up there north of 51st Street.
That is the largest intramural facility, outdoor intramural facility in the United States, and it's beautiful.
I played intramural softball there. I am now playing, for the first time ever, intramural soccer.
I spot myself here and there but it's with students. It's co-ed and there's C level, B level, and A level.
So, and we have this new sport facility for students, we have the restored Gregory Gym that is just fantastic.
I had a visiting scholar from Belgium in late August and we would work eight, ten hours a day and then
we would go for a swim in the evening. It was just delightful. In fact, I thank...so,
the intramural facilities are here for students to participate. There are club sports as well like rowing
and things of that sort that are available to all students. So that's there and it is highly supported in this university.
Again, I am not going to argue that there are excesses. At the same time, I am convinced by some
of the arguments that SAT scores are not the only predictors of the ability to have academic success.
I've seen this in students of all colors. People who by determination or because they come from school districts‚
or just poor school districts. You come from a poor school district, you don't have a good education
and you are going to do poorly on the SAT. And when you come here, things have to be...
if you're lucky, you can get tutoring and you can get put into the right courses and the success is remarkable.
And it's not cheating; it's not tinkering with the system. It's just again acknowledging a social problem
and addressing it. And I think it's addressed quite well here and quite successfully.
And in fact, the athlete percentage of graduation, as Brian Davis can confirm now that he's here‚
82% for the current football cohort will exceed the normal student body. Again, I cannot deny that
there are problems in the system, nor am I going to brush them aside. There are serious problems
but there are efforts being made, and if people in this room go away from this debate between Lino and me
saying "Hey, maybe I can make my voice felt and maybe I can do something in this area
to improve one aspect or another of this critical problem," that will be a real plus and a real...(inaudible)
LINO GRAGLIA>>Let this be the decider. What you just heard is just pure fantasy, right?
He's trying to live in some wishful world. "Hey, SAT isn't that important." He knows plenty
people who do better than the SAT indicates. You know what the truth is? The truth is invariably
the performance of the preferred students [is less than] the SAT would indicate.
And especially with football players; especially with athletes and most especially football players,
because obviously they are spending such incredible amounts of time in [activities] other than study.
But this is the fact: is the SAT reliable or is it biased in some way? Well, this is the baloney he is feeding you,
this liberal line that lets him go, right? Well if it's biased, then the people who get the racial preference
would exceed in their performance what the SAT indicates. I put it to you, and I don't think it is controversial‚
I put it to you as a matter of fact that the opposite is true: that these people do less well than their SAT,
despite the wonderful persons he knows who've done better...(inaudible) Well, let me define the debate here:
he wants to talk about socialism and elevators to rich people and so on, and Barbara Jordan liked sport.
TOM PALAIMA>>Don't throw in Bob Dylan again! ... (inaudible)
LINO GRAGLIA>>It's all one big fog, miasma! It's not the issue. The issue is, is this a corrupt enterprise?
Is big-time college football a commercial enterprise rather than educational? No one doubts that that's the case.
And is it inconsistent in taking money from what could be academic [uses] at the vast majority of schools?
Although not at this incredibly commercially successful one because generally it has even lower standards
than most schools. That's the issue. You can't deny that. If you want to talk about the elevators to the boxes,
that's another story, talk to Palaima.
TOM PALAIMA>>Well, Lino, I...
LINO GRAGLIA>>Talk to them, hear about the SAT score again.
TOM PALAIMA>>Lino, I already corrected you on the statistics you cited from my COIA report.
So that does not give me great confidence that other kinds of statistics‚ in fact, you don't cite any statistics,
you just claim that those people don't measure up to their SAT scores.
LINO GRAGLIA>>I can cite endless works. I can cite...
TOM PALAIMA>>Well yes, and I noticed that when you were talking about the topic of alumni giving,
and how much it would benefit from football, you cited one article. Now, I don't know,
but anybody who is an academic here or even a student will know that on any topic,
even in the most ultra-specialized fields, Mycenaean Paleography, which was my greatest claim to fame,
I just finished a 95-page chapter of a book on the history of Mycenaean Paleography;
talking about it with Brian Davis the other day and he fell asleep on me. But I can cite you...
I can give you an article that will say anything about anything. A single article on something has no weight.
An article that has been scrutinized and has three more articles defining its parameter, well, yes.
But to cite one article from‚ I don't even know, you gave the year, but I don't know what that was supposed to demonstrate.
But to cite one article doesn't prove a point at all.
LINO GRAGLIA>>Well, that's true, you have to begin somewhere. This article looked like it was very reputable.
A Cornell Professor of Management did a major publication, and what he did, what the article was,
was that he purported to review lots of articles. It seemed to me to be rather balanced,
he said sometimes it seemed to increase applications and so on. All I said was that the facts don't support
well the claim that it increases alumni giving. But again, this is a dodge. There are‚
of course the question about the effect of SAT scores and how valid they are in predicting is one
of the most studied and important questions you can imagine. There are endless books.
The book on college football by William Bowen that I have there, who was formerly the president of Princeton.
He and Bok, formerly the president of Harvard, wrote a big book called The Shape of the River which Tom knows about,
in which they defend affirmative action but they don't contest or claim that the SAT score
does not accurately reflect or that it is in any way biased.
In fact, it doesn't accurately reflect in that it over-predicts. And in the case of football,
it over-predicts by a lot. I only cited one article. Look, see if what I am telling you is true or not.
I can't lie about this to you. And if you want cites, I'll give you lots of books.
And judge the truth in the validity of this discussion on what you find out. I'll settle for that.
TOM PALAIMA>>But I'll settle for empirical information that I have gotten from our own football program here.
EMMA TRAN, MODERATOR>>I'm sorry but we only have time for one quick question.
TOM PALAIMA>>One more question, there was a person who came to the microphone? Yes, you were just there.
SPEAKER #4>>Yes, I was wondering if the football program is self-supporting here. Because...
TOM PALAIMA>>Self-supporting?
SPEAKER #4>>Self-supporting‚ as in, we bring in a ton of revenue all the time. Do we actually give money to football?
TOM PALAIMA>>No. Here's the deal...
SPEAKER #4>>If we didn't give any money to football and we made football its own separate entity with the UT branding...
TOM PALAIMA>>Let me answer that. I was on the Faculty Council Budgetary Advisory Committee in the very year
where the last vestige of money that was being transferred from the academic side of the mission
to the athletic side of the mission was gotten rid of. And from that point on, there was a status quo;
that is, athletics supports itself. The only wrinkle to that, the only qualification is that Michael Granof,
if you go and talk to him, the Ernst & Young Professor of Accounting at the Business School, who has been head
of the Faculty Council and who has even been involved‚ he's been on the Men's Athletics Council,
I believe‚ he says that the sports are not charged; essentially the rental space for the footprint in the university
that their buildings occupy and so forth. So he thinks that the indirect cost charges that are paid, for example,
by scientists who get grant money to run laboratories should somehow be adjusted so that football would even send,
not just football but sports, would send more money. But that's a technical argument as
to whether that should be done or not. But on point of fact, they are self-sustaining.
SPEAKER #4>>Right, and I realize that's only with a very small minority of the whole, you know...5%.
TOM PALAIMA>>25 out of 120 Division 1A schools are in the black. The others are on average $10 million in the red.
And on that, I agree with Lino, is a serious, serious social problem,
whether you take an elevator to the skybox or sit in the bleachers.
SPEAKER #5>>The other aspect of that, Tom, to be totally fair, is that when we quit giving money
from the university fund to athletics, at that same time, they took over the copyright for the entire university.
So while we now get money back from that copyright, we actually don't earn as much
from the copyright as we could be earning if that was still going into the academic fund.
TOM PALAIMA>>Well, again, I know that argument and all I can do is trust the people on top who have‚
the point, no, seriously, please listen to me, don't be laughing, and this is not Palaima using mental gymnastics.
The copyright, a lot of things around here, given that it's a big state institution slow to change and so forth,
were slow in developing. And UT was well behind the eight ball in copyrights of all sorts. But in point of fact,
it was the sports and athletics program that got its act together quickly and is generating still most the money off
of copyrights and so forth. So essentially, the agreement reached by the powers that be up in the Tower was that here,
we'll give it over to you and then you guarantee us‚ what I said, a million dollars a year, or 10% of the gross revenues.
And now it may be that the rest of the university is generating enough money from things that are trademark items
and so forth that the thing should be re-looked at, the percentages should be readjusted.
But I think it was a reasonable business decision at the time.
EMMA TRAN, MODERATOR>>Well, with that last statement I would like to conclude the debate.
I would like to thank professor Graglia and professor Palaima for debating.
And I would like to thank all of you.