Your football or your life

Terry W. Hartle, senior vice president of the American Council on Education, which represents the leaders of colleges and universities, said that the numbers in the report, viewed in context, may not be alarming.

“This comes from the American Association of University Professors, which has a vested interest in finding that too little money is going to faculty and too much to sports and administration,” Mr. Hartle said. “If you just look at the percentage increases, without the base they’re working from, it’s hard to tell what it means.”[1]

Bullshit. Hartle is defending an increase in colleges’ and universities’ spending on athletics, while “their spending on instruction, research and public service declined or stayed flat.”[2] Hartle is trying, somewhat obscurely, to suggest, without actually saying so, that if you look at the aggregate numbers the amount of change will be ‘small change’.

Bullshit. It might be possible to argue that if colleges and universities had a dual mission, to promote both education and athletics or if their primary mission was athletics. It isn’t. Education and, for research institutions, research are supposed to be their primary focus.

But what we’re seeing instead is that professors, you know, the ones who are supposed to actually teach the classes, are being hired as adjuncts or ‘visiting’ professors, with no job security, treated like shit, refused union protections, paid next to nothing, and rendered invisible in faculty statistics.[3]

“Many of us have had the concern that the out-of-control expenditures in Division I would have a cascading effect, and this report suggests that our worst fears are coming to pass,” said William Kirwan, co-chairman of the Knight Commission and chancellor of the University System of Maryland. “The American culture is so in love with athletics that even though many people know the right thing to do, they can’t do it.” . . .

The report also said that the ranks of administrators and adjunct professors are growing many times faster than full-time tenured, or tenure-track faculty. Faculty salaries increased 2.4 percent last year, on average, while top administrators received large raises.[4]

We have serious problems in this society, including existential problems like climate change. We aren’t dealing with them. And we’re increasingly less prepared to deal with them,[5] thanks to an ideal that prioritizes time on a sofa drinking cheap beer and watching football on the idiot box.

  1. [1]Tamar Lewin, “Colleges Increasing Spending on Sports Faster Than on Academics, Report Finds,” New York Times, April 7, 2014,
  2. [2]Tamar Lewin, “Colleges Increasing Spending on Sports Faster Than on Academics, Report Finds,” New York Times, April 7, 2014,
  3. [3]L.V. Anderson, “Why Adjunct Professors Don’t Just Find Other Jobs,” Slate, November 19, 2013,; Kelly J. Baker, “The Impermanent Adjunct,” Vitae, February 26, 2014,; Josh Boldt, “99 Problems But Tenure Ain’t One,” Vitae, January 21, 2014,; Josh Boldt, “The Ph.D. Needs CPR,” Vitae, February 18, 2014,; Austin Cline, “Duquesne University: Unions Are Anti-Catholic?”, September 27, 2013,; Ella Delany, “Part-Timers Crowd Academic Hiring,” New York Times, December 22, 2013,; David Drumm, “Duquesne University Professor Dies In Abject Poverty,”, September 28, 2013,; Sydni Dunn, “Visiting Professorships Take On New Uses in Changing Market,” Chronicle of Higher Education, February 4, 2013,; Sydni Dunn, “As Adjuncts See Their Hours Cut, Some Are Fighting Back,” Chronicle of Higher Education, May 2, 2013,; Amien Essif, “Told To Clock Their Hours, Some Illinois Professors Protest,” In These Times, January 30, 2014,; Henry A. Giroux, “Beyond Neoliberal Miseducation,” Truthout, March 19, 2014,; Billie Hara, “How Do You, NTT Faculty, Pay Your Rent?” Chronicle of Higher Education, March 23, 2012,; Keith Hoeller, “The Wal-Mart-ization of higher education: How young professors are getting screwed,” Salon, February 16, 2014,; Scott Jaschik, “Hiding Adjuncts From ‘U.S. News’,” Inside Higher Ed, September 3, 2009,; Audrey Williams June, “3 Things I’ve Learned About Ph.D. Students and Placement,” Chronicle of Higher Education, September 23, 2013,; Audrey Williams June, “Do You Know Where Your Ph.D.’s Are?” Chronicle of Higher Education, September 23, 2013,; Sarah Kendzior, “Zero opportunity employers,” Al Jazeera, September 23, 2013,; Daniel Kovalik, “Death of an adjunct,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, September 18, 2013,; Moshe Z. Marvit, “Duquesne University Adjuncts’ Fight to Organize,” Unionosity, n.d.,; Mark Oppenheimer, “For Duquesne Professors, a Union Fight That Transcends Religion,” New York Times, June 22, 2012,; Edward McClelland, “You call this a middle class? ‘I’m trying not to lose my house’,” Salon, March 1, 2014,; Stacey Patton, “The Ph.D. Now Comes With Food Stamps,” Chronicle of Higher Education, May 6, 2012,; Stacey Patton, “Ph.D.’s Spend Big Bucks Hunting for Academic Jobs,With No Guaranteed Results,” Chronicle of Higher Education, March 11, 2013,; Claudio Sanchez, “The Sad Death Of An Adjunct Professor Sparks A Labor Debate,” National Public Radio, September 22, 2013,
  4. [4]Tamar Lewin, “Colleges Increasing Spending on Sports Faster Than on Academics, Report Finds,” New York Times, April 7, 2014,
  5. [5]Henry Giroux, “Neoliberalism’s War Against the Radical Imagination,” Tikkun, February 11, 2014,

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