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January 31, 2018

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Deep State Special Legal Counsel

Under your logic, I am guilty of the very same thing. I should be driving a 1988 Hyundai Excel and put all of my money into my child's 529 College Plan and pay off my student loans. I drive a sensible newer car and take a yearly family vacation. My priorities are messed up. I think we are all guilty of this...

Let's be honest too. As a solo attorney, I spend much of my time and energy not on the practice of law or propounding great legal issues, but on getting paid. It comes down to money. I despise it but I realize I don't live in a perfect world.

Same thing with the U of Kentucky. Paying for athletics and fancy pants coaching staffs are an investment. It's all about money. If Kentucky wins, than attracts alumni money, merchandising, crowds, beer sales, and media revenue. Its and economic engine. The Deans and Academics running the joint are "forced" to do that. It's called getting paid or fund raising.

Steve L.

A university is supposed to be an academic institution devoted to the production and dissemination of knowledge. It is entirely fair to question an institution's priorities. It does not have to be "all about money."

Deep State Special Legal Counsel

I don't recall where I heard the following colloquy. Maybe it was in one of Clifford Odets plays:

"This is my sister, she is a Social Worker."

"This is my other sister, she is a teacher."

"This is my brother, he is a labor lawyer.

And finally, "this is my other brother. He supports us. He is just a businessman."

Matthew Bruckner

I don't know that I follow this argument. Why is the coach's salary at all related to the subsidy for an academic press?

Steve L.

It is an observation on the university's priorities.

PaulB

Steve, given your concern for general funds spent by colleges on sports, go talk to the Northwestern AD and find out what sport costs the most, net of revenues earned by that sport. For almost all Division 1 universities, it's women's basketball. Shall we be on the watch for your campaign to repeal Title 9 as it relates to intercollegiate sports?

Deep State Special Legal Counsel

Let's look at this another way. College athletics employs alot of people and promotes school esprit de corps. It's a huge deal. Frankly, but for co-ed dorms, the opposite sex or same sex or many sexes, athletics, parties and clubs, school would be a boring place. The slick brochures and websites depict athlectics and lifestyle. How does one sell NU at 50K per year to a student and their parents? Lectures, academics the neat library, the academic press? No. Its the experience that sells. Athletics ties that all together.

Steve L.

You are missing the point. I don't care how much money Kentucky spends on sports; I just want the state to recognize that UPK is a trivial expense in comparison, and that scholarly publishing is an essential attribute of a leading university.

Between the two of them, the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville -- both of which are affiliated with UPK -- annually spend over $200 million on their athletic departments, including over $4 million in subsidies at Louisville. As I wrote initially, the UPK budget amounts to loose change (or maybe a rounding error) in comparison, but it delivers great value in the scholarly world.

Jeff

As someone who spent twenty five years in the academic book world and is now at a big ten university (Northwestern) i am simultaneously appalled by the sum of money spent on athletics and hold season tickets in the two major revenue sports. Am i a hypocrite? By Steve's logic (and my own) the answer is no because of how our university disperses other funds (research, the arts, funding Pell Eligible students etc). I do not agree with all the ways we spend the money but i don't personally resent sports expenditures and we have a subsidized, if small, University Press which makes up in prestige what it lacks in size. Kentucky unwillingness to fund its Press is embarrassing and speaks to their lack of commitment to academics. That is the key point.

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