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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

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    Criticism of new coach’s salary product of misdirected anger

    While I understand the sentiment of “”education over athletics,”” I’ve found it particularly frustrating trying to justify new men’s basketball coach Sean Miller’s $1.6 million contract to those who think that, in these economic times, only one can survive.

    First, the number of “”1.6 million to a basketball coach while teachers and departments are being cut”” comments demonstrates clearly the lack of understanding about the way our athletic program works. There seems to be a piece of knowledge that most (apparently) don’t know: that there is a separation of the athletics department’s funding and the funding for the rest of the school. When boosters, donors and sponsors choose to support athletics over giving money to the UA Foundation, they’re specifically choosing to spend their money in a way that will build up our sports programs; they don’t just cut a check to the university and let the school choose who needs it most. The sweeping sentiment that we need to cut back spending on our athletics department in order to help counter the rising cost of tuition is not a matter of opinion, nor is it a matter of putting education before athletics; it’s simply an incorrect assessment of the situation, because it concludes that the money all comes from the same source, and therefore it can be allocated to help support education instead of our sports programs.

    “”Well,”” some I’ve talked to have countered, “”the boosters should recognize that the academic funding of our school is suffering more than our athletics department, so they should donate to help fix that instead.”” Well, no. The money they donate is their money, so they can choose how to spend it. That is all the justification that is really needed. But to continue anyway, there are many boosters who do choose to support both athletics and education, and cut checks to both the athletics department and the UA Foundation. The most troubling aspect that seems to elude opponents of the cost of Sean Miller’s contract, however, is that in valuing education over athletics, there is often a disregard for the positives that come with the athletics department. The most obvious is that having a relatively strong program like we do annually brings in a lot of money – considerably more than the cost of Miller’s contract. That’s straight-up revenue from ticket sales, merchandising and sponsorships.

    The more underlying reason may be harder to accept at face value for non-sports fans, but someone like Sean Miller is a huge long-term investment for the basketball team and consequently, the athletics department, which in turns brings in more money and positive image for the school as a whole. We could have, indeed, gone for a much cheaper coach and encouraged boosters to donate what would have been the difference in salaries to the UA Foundation, but a cheap coach would likely be an example of “”you get what you pay for,”” and would have negatively impacted the success of the basketball team. If that happened, say goodbye to sponsorships and merchandising and ticket revenues, which in turn takes money away from the rest of the school.

    A more valid source of “”education over athletics”” frustration should be directed towards the graduation rates for our student athletes. The argument that Sean Miller’s relatively large contract is negatively impacting the academic funding of our school is not a valid argument, and the sooner the collective student body can understand the reason why, the sooner we can go back to rooting for our sports teams while still studying for our classes.

    Nick Proch

    music senior

    Conservative writer unveils ideas for fixing higher education

    In his letter to the editor Thursday, Kevin Ferguson claims that conservative writer David Horowitz “”proceeded to bash everything liberal.”” In fact, Horowitz started his speech on Tuesday evening by saying, “”Out of the professors on the left, 90 percent are decent academics and respect students,”” and also defended Ward Churchill, therefore making the claim that Horowitz came out bashing everything liberal completely false. Ferguson also claimed that he did not hear Horowitz “”say how he would fix this nation. Not once did I hear how he feels would be the appropriate way to pull out of this recession. Not once did I hear him say how he would protect higher education in Arizona.””

    Horowitz didn’t speak about how to fix this nation or how to pull out of the recession simply because those two topics have nothing to do with his book and the focus of his speech. However, he did speak about how to protect higher education, not only in Arizona but around the country. He did this by explaining how indoctrination in classrooms does not challenge liberal students, and therefore is not worth students’ educational dollars. He said that in order to protect education you must show both sides of an argument, and back teachings with evidence, not just ideological statements and ideas.

    I suggest students read his book, “”One Party Classroom,”” for more information. Horowitz has not made a career out of blaming anyone else for things that went wrong. This is because he does not act like a victim, as most liberals do. Horowitz simply calls for two sides of an argument to be presented in a classroom along with facts to back up lesson plans.

    Katie Pavlich

    journalism junior

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