Author Topic: Auburn Football "Running Their Own University"?  (Read 4110 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline bayonetbrant

  • Chief Arrogance Mitigator
  • Musketeer
  • *****
  • Posts: 37048
  • Loitering With Intent
Auburn Football "Running Their Own University"?
« on: August 27, 2015, 05:34:39 PM »
Hey Airboy!  Whassup?

http://www.wsj.com/articles/at-auburn-athletics-and-academics-collide-1440635278

 :o

Quote
In 2013, Auburn University’s curriculum review committee took up the case of a small, unpopular undergraduate major called public administration. After concluding that the major added very little to the school’s academic mission, the committee voted to eliminate it.

But according to internal documents and emails reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, the committee’s decision was ultimately overruled by top administrators after it met significant opposition from another powerful force on campus: Auburn’s athletic department.

In addition to meeting with the school’s provost to urge him to spare public administration, the documents show, top athletic officials also offered to use athletic department funds, if necessary, to help pay its professors and support staff. Gary Waters, Auburn’s senior associate athletic director for academic services, wrote in an email in January 2013 that athletics had made “similar investments in academic programs during the last few years,” although in those cases, he added, “it has not been publicized.”

In the fall semester of 2013, more than half of the roughly 100 students majoring in public administration were athletes, records show, including nearly all of the top stars on the Auburn football team, which would win the Southeastern Conference title and play in the national-championship game. “If the public administration program is eliminated, the [graduation success rate] numbers for our student-athletes will likely decline,” a December 2012 internal athletic department memo said.

An Auburn spokesman said that while various groups may provide input on curriculum decisions, the “athletic department has not improperly influenced academic decision-making.” The school said athletics has donated money and other resources to help several academic programs over the years, “but public administration is not one of them.”

For as long as universities have fielded big-time sports programs, many star athletes have gravitated to a handful of friendly majors that make it easier for them to meet the NCAA’s academic eligibility requirements. At some schools, these majors have come under intense scrutiny. An internal investigation at North Carolina last year found that many football and basketball players were enrolled in “no attendance” classes in the African and Afro-American Studies department, where the only requirement was the submission of a single research paper. The NCAA has told North Carolina it is investigating the matter.

Auburn faculty members, in interviews, said the athletic department’s interest in public administration represents a troubling new development. Michael Stern, the chairman of Auburn’s economics department and a former member of the faculty senate, said athletics is so powerful at Auburn that it operates like a “second university.” Whenever athletic interests intersect with an academic matter, he said, “it’s a different kind of process.”

According to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, the agency that accredits Auburn, universities must place “primary responsibility for the content, quality and effectiveness of the curriculum with its faculty” and that decisions about majors must be made by people who are qualified in the field. The commission hasn’t reviewed the Auburn situation. In general, a spokeswoman said, if the commission received evidence that a school’s athletic department had influenced a curriculum decision, “there would be cause for concern.”

The Auburn spokesman said: “Auburn’s academic community makes all academic program and curriculum decisions. Auburn is fully committed to the integrity of its academic programs.”

In early 2012, documents show, a panel performing a review of the Auburn political science department, which oversees public administration, expressed doubt that the major “contributes a great deal to the Department’s education mission.” In May, provost Timothy Boosinger sent a memo supporting a proposal to suspend the major by the end of the next school year.

In August, according to documents, the political science faculty voted 13-0 to remove public administration as an active major. The following March, Auburn’s academic program review committee, the final faculty body to review such proposals, voted 10-1 to place the major on “inactive status.”

But even as the proposal was zooming toward final approval, the athletic department had begun a campaign to reverse it. In February 2013, Waters, the department’s academic officer, sent an email to Jay Jacobs, the athletic director, that said it was “extremely important” that they plead their case with Boosinger and Auburn president Jay Gogue as soon as possible. On April 9, Waters and Jacobs met with Boosinger. Gogue wasn’t present.

After the meeting, Boosinger’s position on the future of public administration softened. In a June email to Gerry Gryski, then the chairman of the political science department, he said there would be no action taken on the major until the College of Liberal Arts had appointed a new dean. In September, when Patricia Duffy, the chairwoman of Auburn’s curriculum committee, asked the provost’s office for an update, she received an email that said: “The Provost and the Dean have agreed to keep the Public Administration program open.”

In an interview this week, Gryski said he was unaware that the athletic department had offered money to help keep the major open. “I’m searching for a word here,” he said. “It’s unbelievable. It’s incomprehensible.”

Auburn confirmed Wednesday that athletic department officials had offered to subsidize public administration during the meeting with Boosinger, but the provost had turned the offer down.

Waters, through a spokesman, said he told the provost during the meeting that he was concerned that cutting the major might have a “detrimental impact on the academic experience of students enrolled in that program.”

Auburn said the decision to save the major was Boosinger’s and that the provost changed his mind because the new dean of the College of Liberal Arts, Joseph Aistrup, asked to keep public administration open.

In an interview Wednesday, Aistrup said he felt it was important to preserve a pre-professional program with at least 100 majors. He said he decided to try to improve the program by giving it more resources. “I didn’t know there was a single student-athlete in the program,” he said. “It was not even on my radar screen.”

Auburn said the athletic department has contributed to the school’s academic side in the past by endowing professorships and donating $1.5 million to the College of Liberal Arts for the marching band. It once funded three years of a startup program in health and fitness for the kinesiology school and provided an adjunct professor to teach two classes in the journalism school, among other investments.


Auburn players in 2013 after the Tigers’ dramatic victory over Georgia. ENLARGE
Auburn players in 2013 after the Tigers’ dramatic victory over Georgia. PHOTO: JAY SAILORS/ASSOCIATED PRESS
By BEN COHEN
Updated Aug. 27, 2015 12:57 p.m. ET
141 COMMENTS
In 2013, Auburn University’s curriculum review committee took up the case of a small, unpopular undergraduate major called public administration. After concluding that the major added very little to the school’s academic mission, the committee voted to eliminate it.

But according to internal documents and emails reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, the committee’s decision was ultimately overruled by top administrators after it met significant opposition from another powerful force on campus: Auburn’s athletic department.

AUBURN COVERAGE

Auburn’s ‘Football’ Major: Why Do Players Love It?
The SEC, the Bully of College Football, Seems a Little Scared (July 15)
While Football Ticket Prices Soar, Auburn Struggles to Profit (Nov. 11, 2014)
Behind College Football’s Most Amazing Play (Jan. 3, 2014)
In addition to meeting with the school’s provost to urge him to spare public administration, the documents show, top athletic officials also offered to use athletic department funds, if necessary, to help pay its professors and support staff. Gary Waters, Auburn’s senior associate athletic director for academic services, wrote in an email in January 2013 that athletics had made “similar investments in academic programs during the last few years,” although in those cases, he added, “it has not been publicized.”

In the fall semester of 2013, more than half of the roughly 100 students majoring in public administration were athletes, records show, including nearly all of the top stars on the Auburn football team, which would win the Southeastern Conference title and play in the national-championship game. “If the public administration program is eliminated, the [graduation success rate] numbers for our student-athletes will likely decline,” a December 2012 internal athletic department memo said.

An Auburn spokesman said that while various groups may provide input on curriculum decisions, the “athletic department has not improperly influenced academic decision-making.” The school said athletics has donated money and other resources to help several academic programs over the years, “but public administration is not one of them.”

ENLARGE
PHOTO: AL MESSERSCHMIDT/GETTY IMAGES
For as long as universities have fielded big-time sports programs, many star athletes have gravitated to a handful of friendly majors that make it easier for them to meet the NCAA’s academic eligibility requirements. At some schools, these majors have come under intense scrutiny. An internal investigation at North Carolina last year found that many football and basketball players were enrolled in “no attendance” classes in the African and Afro-American Studies department, where the only requirement was the submission of a single research paper. The NCAA has told North Carolina it is investigating the matter.

Advertisement

Auburn faculty members, in interviews, said the athletic department’s interest in public administration represents a troubling new development. Michael Stern, the chairman of Auburn’s economics department and a former member of the faculty senate, said athletics is so powerful at Auburn that it operates like a “second university.” Whenever athletic interests intersect with an academic matter, he said, “it’s a different kind of process.”

MORE COLLEGE FOOTBALL

College Football Wakes Up to a New Statistic: Sleep
NLRB Sacks Northwestern Players’ Union Drive
The Seduction of Jim Harbaugh
According to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, the agency that accredits Auburn, universities must place “primary responsibility for the content, quality and effectiveness of the curriculum with its faculty” and that decisions about majors must be made by people who are qualified in the field. The commission hasn’t reviewed the Auburn situation. In general, a spokeswoman said, if the commission received evidence that a school’s athletic department had influenced a curriculum decision, “there would be cause for concern.”

The Auburn spokesman said: “Auburn’s academic community makes all academic program and curriculum decisions. Auburn is fully committed to the integrity of its academic programs.”

In early 2012, documents show, a panel performing a review of the Auburn political science department, which oversees public administration, expressed doubt that the major “contributes a great deal to the Department’s education mission.” In May, provost Timothy Boosinger sent a memo supporting a proposal to suspend the major by the end of the next school year.

In August, according to documents, the political science faculty voted 13-0 to remove public administration as an active major. The following March, Auburn’s academic program review committee, the final faculty body to review such proposals, voted 10-1 to place the major on “inactive status.”

TIMELINE

March 2012: A review of Auburn’s political science department questions whether the major in public administration is worthwhile.
May 2012: Provost Timothy Boosinger approves a proposal from the dean of the College of Liberal Arts to close the major by the end of the next school year.
December 2012: Auburn athletics officials acknowledge that the department’s graduation rates would decline without the major.
March 2013: Auburn’s academic program review committee votes 10-1 to place the major on “inactive status.”
April 2013: Athletic director Jay Jacobs and senior associate AD Gary Waters meet with Boosinger to discuss the elimination of the major.
June 2013: Boosinger tells the chairman of the political science department there will be no action on the major until a new liberal-arts dean is appointed.
September 2013: A new dean is hired, and the provost’s office says the public administration program will stay open.
January 2014: No. 2-ranked Auburn loses to Florida State in college football’s national-title game. More than a dozen Auburn starters were majoring in public administration.
But even as the proposal was zooming toward final approval, the athletic department had begun a campaign to reverse it. In February 2013, Waters, the department’s academic officer, sent an email to Jay Jacobs, the athletic director, that said it was “extremely important” that they plead their case with Boosinger and Auburn president Jay Gogue as soon as possible. On April 9, Waters and Jacobs met with Boosinger. Gogue wasn’t present.

After the meeting, Boosinger’s position on the future of public administration softened. In a June email to Gerry Gryski, then the chairman of the political science department, he said there would be no action taken on the major until the College of Liberal Arts had appointed a new dean. In September, when Patricia Duffy, the chairwoman of Auburn’s curriculum committee, asked the provost’s office for an update, she received an email that said: “The Provost and the Dean have agreed to keep the Public Administration program open.”

In an interview this week, Gryski said he was unaware that the athletic department had offered money to help keep the major open. “I’m searching for a word here,” he said. “It’s unbelievable. It’s incomprehensible.”

Auburn confirmed Wednesday that athletic department officials had offered to subsidize public administration during the meeting with Boosinger, but the provost had turned the offer down.

Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs. ENLARGE
Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs. PHOTO: DAVE MARTIN/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Waters, through a spokesman, said he told the provost during the meeting that he was concerned that cutting the major might have a “detrimental impact on the academic experience of students enrolled in that program.”

Auburn said the decision to save the major was Boosinger’s and that the provost changed his mind because the new dean of the College of Liberal Arts, Joseph Aistrup, asked to keep public administration open.

In an interview Wednesday, Aistrup said he felt it was important to preserve a pre-professional program with at least 100 majors. He said he decided to try to improve the program by giving it more resources. “I didn’t know there was a single student-athlete in the program,” he said. “It was not even on my radar screen.”

Auburn said the athletic department has contributed to the school’s academic side in the past by endowing professorships and donating $1.5 million to the College of Liberal Arts for the marching band. It once funded three years of a startup program in health and fitness for the kinesiology school and provided an adjunct professor to teach two classes in the journalism school, among other investments.

AUBURN’S 2015 SCHEDULE

All times Eastern

Sept. 5: vs. Louisville in Atlanta, 3:30 p.m. (CBS)
Sept. 12: Jacksonville St., noon (SEC)
Sept. 19: at LSU, 3:30 p.m. (CBS)
Sept. 26: Mississippi St.
Oct. 3: San Jose St.
Oct. 15: at Kentucky, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
Oct. 24: at Arkansas
Oct. 31: Ole Miss
Nov. 7: at Texas A&M
Nov. 14: Georgia
Nov. 21: Idaho
Nov. 28: Alabama
Public administration majors account for less than 1% of Auburn’s undergraduate student body. But in the fall semester of 2013, documents show, 51% of the 111 students pursuing the degree were athletes. Among them were the football team’s starting quarterback and running back, its leading wide receiver and the three defensive players who led the team in interceptions, tackles and sacks. At the time the athletic department learned of the plan to close the major, Auburn’s football team was coming off its worst season in a half-century and had just fired its coach. The following season, the team would win the Southeastern Conference and lose to Florida State in the national-championship game.

This February, in response to a question from Auburn’s faculty senate, Boosinger asked the school’s institutional research office to examine enrollment data for athletes. The report showed that 26 football players, or 32% of the 2014 team, were majoring in public administration. In May, documents show, Boosinger appointed an internal committee to review these enrollment trends and make recommendations about what actions might be appropriate.

This season, Auburn is ranked No. 6 in college football’s preseason polls and is the early favorite to win the SEC title. Public administration is still the team’s most popular major.
The key to surviving this site is to not say something which ends up as someone's tag line - Steelgrave

"their citizens (all of them counted as such) glorified their mythology of 'rights'...and lost track of their duties. No nation, so constituted, can endure." Robert Heinlein, Starship Troopers


Offline bayonetbrant

  • Chief Arrogance Mitigator
  • Musketeer
  • *****
  • Posts: 37048
  • Loitering With Intent
The key to surviving this site is to not say something which ends up as someone's tag line - Steelgrave

"their citizens (all of them counted as such) glorified their mythology of 'rights'...and lost track of their duties. No nation, so constituted, can endure." Robert Heinlein, Starship Troopers

Offline MetalDog

  • GrogHeads Mods
  • Arquebusier
  • *****
  • Posts: 16341
  • Central Scrutinizer
Re: Auburn Football "Running Their Own University"?
« Reply #2 on: August 27, 2015, 05:39:37 PM »
Heard that on the radio all day down here.  What surprises me is 1) that anyone might actually be surprised that stuff like this goes on, 2) that stuff like this I am sure goes on at every major (and minor) football powerhouse and 3) that the NCAA isn't going to f*ck the investigation up so thoroughly that Auburn shouldn't just self report and self punish.
And the One Song to Rule Them All is Gimme Shelter - Rolling Stones


"If its a Balrog, I don't think you get an option to not consent......." - bob

Offline Bison

  • Captain America
  • Arquebusier
  • *
  • Posts: 19092
Re: Auburn Football "Running Their Own University"?
« Reply #3 on: August 27, 2015, 05:45:53 PM »
I'm not sure there is an issue here unless grades were unduly influenced resulting in the awarding diplomas that were not "earned".

Offline bayonetbrant

  • Chief Arrogance Mitigator
  • Musketeer
  • *****
  • Posts: 37048
  • Loitering With Intent
Re: Auburn Football "Running Their Own University"?
« Reply #4 on: August 27, 2015, 09:24:01 PM »
3) that the NCAA isn't going to f*ck the investigation up so thoroughly that Auburn shouldn't just self report and self punish.

there is absolutely nothing for the NCAA to do in this case.
The key to surviving this site is to not say something which ends up as someone's tag line - Steelgrave

"their citizens (all of them counted as such) glorified their mythology of 'rights'...and lost track of their duties. No nation, so constituted, can endure." Robert Heinlein, Starship Troopers

Offline MetalDog

  • GrogHeads Mods
  • Arquebusier
  • *****
  • Posts: 16341
  • Central Scrutinizer
Re: Auburn Football "Running Their Own University"?
« Reply #5 on: August 27, 2015, 10:03:34 PM »
There are rumors and accusations that the football program has undue influence.  That the head of the dept. that the degree belongs to originally acknowledged that the football team tried to donate to said dept. to keep the program alive.  Then denied he knew of the attempt.  Of the 111 students enrolled in the program, 51% were student athletes including the star qb, rb, wr and the leading tackler, sacker and interceptor on defense.  It's just the price of doing business in big time college football.  I accept that.  The NCAA may have cause.  If they don't, it still casts a shadow on Auburn and the SEC.  And true or not, you can bet someone will suggest a conspiracy out of Tuscaloosa.  That a dime was dropped. ;)

Edit: my bad.  I didn't bother to read the OP.  My point still stands though.  True or not, Alabama will be blamed for telling :)
« Last Edit: August 27, 2015, 10:06:51 PM by MetalDog »
And the One Song to Rule Them All is Gimme Shelter - Rolling Stones


"If its a Balrog, I don't think you get an option to not consent......." - bob

Offline bayonetbrant

  • Chief Arrogance Mitigator
  • Musketeer
  • *****
  • Posts: 37048
  • Loitering With Intent
Re: Auburn Football "Running Their Own University"?
« Reply #6 on: August 28, 2015, 04:19:14 AM »
The NCAA doesn't have anything to do with this b/c it's purely academic.  That doesn't mean it's OK.  There are other bodies that may be investigating, like SACS.

Still, it does not look good for Auburn, and I'd be interested in Airboy's take on it all.
The key to surviving this site is to not say something which ends up as someone's tag line - Steelgrave

"their citizens (all of them counted as such) glorified their mythology of 'rights'...and lost track of their duties. No nation, so constituted, can endure." Robert Heinlein, Starship Troopers

Offline OJsDad

  • Crossbowman
  • *
  • Posts: 6355
  • Fighting for Oppressed Individualism
Re: Auburn Football "Running Their Own University"?
« Reply #7 on: August 28, 2015, 07:02:51 AM »
I thought Communications was the go to major for a lot of athletes. 
'Here at NASA we all pee the same color.'  Al Harrison from the movie Hidden Figures.

Offline bayonetbrant

  • Chief Arrogance Mitigator
  • Musketeer
  • *****
  • Posts: 37048
  • Loitering With Intent
Re: Auburn Football "Running Their Own University"?
« Reply #8 on: August 28, 2015, 08:11:23 AM »
I thought Communications was the go to major for a lot of athletes. 

When I was teaching in the Comm school at Ohio St as a grad student, a lot of us were assigned to teach COM 367, which was a general ed req for just about anyone at the school, but was required for Comm majors.  And yes, a lot of athletes were Comm majors.  Not necessarily b/c they thought it was 'easier' than engineering or something, but because a lot of them that were unlikely to go pro in their sport (or had no pro equivalent in their sport, like wrestling) were interested in sports media after graduation, which makes perfect sense.

That said, in comparing notes in the 04-05 school year, across a dozen or so grad assistants teaching around 30 total sections of the class throughout the year, not one of us had a football player in the class at a time when about half the team were supposed to be Comm majors.  I had a few tennis players, some baseball players, a wrestler (and great student), and a bunch of track athletes, but none of us, anywhere, had any football players.  Which made us all wonder just what section of the required class these guys were supposedly taking.
The key to surviving this site is to not say something which ends up as someone's tag line - Steelgrave

"their citizens (all of them counted as such) glorified their mythology of 'rights'...and lost track of their duties. No nation, so constituted, can endure." Robert Heinlein, Starship Troopers

Offline airboy

  • Landsknecht
  • *******
  • Posts: 4996
    • averysgameblog
Re: Auburn Football "Running Their Own University"?
« Reply #9 on: August 29, 2015, 09:58:36 AM »
What is going on?

Public Administration has enough majors (100+) to be viable.  My department has one of the top 25 majors in terms of size at AU - and we have 275 or so majors. 

Political Science at AU is one of the those weird catch-all departments.  They have Public Administration and also an International Commerce degree.  International Commerce is a pseudo-business degree without the hard stuff: accounting, finance, international finance, statistics, etc.....

Political Science became understaffed.  They decided to shut down Public Admin due to staffing - not because of a lack of students.  It got to the Provost, but we had a new Dean coming into that college and a new Political Science department head coming in (both unrelated to this issue).  Provost delayed the decision.  New Dean of Liberal Arts decided to add additional faculty to Political Science to staff Public Admin side - and the major was retained.

The only "scandal" was the Athletic department offering to pay to hire some faculty in Political Science to teach in the Public Admin major.  The Provost turned the money down.

Public Admin has a little better than 50% athletes.  Any AU student can major in it.  There is no word of any phantom classes, classes without assignments, etc....   It is just an easy major.  Every big school has easy majors.  There are definitely majors in the College of Business that are harder than others.

There is no scandal.  There is nothing for the NCAA to get upset about.  I actually know everyone named in the paper and I don't think anything will come of this with one exception.  Michael Stern is a jerk.  He is always a jerk.  People outside of Economics hates him.  When he speaks in the Faculty Senate there is an audible groan from the collective audience.  Economics was kicked out of the College of Business because they were jerks.  Economics is currently housed in the basement of their new home in Liberal Arts.  They tried to move to better quarters - but nobody wanted them around on campus because they are known to be jerks.

Offline MetalDog

  • GrogHeads Mods
  • Arquebusier
  • *****
  • Posts: 16341
  • Central Scrutinizer
Re: Auburn Football "Running Their Own University"?
« Reply #10 on: August 29, 2015, 10:08:15 AM »
Thanks for clearing that up, airboy.  And the stuff about the major and the football team, too ;)
And the One Song to Rule Them All is Gimme Shelter - Rolling Stones


"If its a Balrog, I don't think you get an option to not consent......." - bob

Offline airboy

  • Landsknecht
  • *******
  • Posts: 4996
    • averysgameblog
Re: Auburn Football "Running Their Own University"?
« Reply #11 on: August 29, 2015, 10:09:28 AM »
There are rumors and accusations that the football program has undue influence.  That the head of the dept. that the degree belongs to originally acknowledged that the football team tried to donate to said dept. to keep the program alive.  Then denied he knew of the attempt.  Of the 111 students enrolled in the program, 51% were student athletes including the star qb, rb, wr and the leading tackler, sacker and interceptor on defense.  It's just the price of doing business in big time college football.  I accept that.  The NCAA may have cause.  If they don't, it still casts a shadow on Auburn and the SEC.  And true or not, you can bet someone will suggest a conspiracy out of Tuscaloosa.  That a dime was dropped. ;)

Edit: my bad.  I didn't bother to read the OP.  My point still stands though.  True or not, Alabama will be blamed for telling :)

Alabama will not be blamed for the bad AU publicity.  Michael Stern and the economics department will catch the blame from knowledgeable AU faculty, staff and supporters.

Having taught at AU for almost 30 years, the Athletic department has never interfered with an academic decision that I know of.  I have taught hundreds if not in the low thousands of athletes over the years.  The Athletic department has academic advisors.  They ask faculty (by email) to report if athletes are attending class, what their grades are, and if there is anything they should be doing that they are not doing.  The student gives permission for this.  Faculty can comply if they wish.  I always have - but I also have office hours and do the exact same thing for all of my other students upon request.

Since I'm a Department Chair now, I oversee in some way every single athlete who majors in Business or has a Minor in Business.  This is around 35% of all AU students.  All have to take a core class in my department (we have more than 800 enrolled this semester alone).  I've never heard of any interference from the Athletics on any academic decision.  The only direct contact I've had with a coach was a letter of apology for a screw-up on a team who failed a class for not doing the work (that happened twice for two different teams over the course of 28 years).

Since my wife and I are big sports fans, I occasionally get asked how this process works, if students earn their degrees, etc at athletic events.  I have never had anything to report that was less than positive.

Offline bayonetbrant

  • Chief Arrogance Mitigator
  • Musketeer
  • *****
  • Posts: 37048
  • Loitering With Intent
Re: Auburn Football "Running Their Own University"?
« Reply #12 on: August 29, 2015, 11:52:10 AM »
That's why we all wanted you to chime in :-)
The key to surviving this site is to not say something which ends up as someone's tag line - Steelgrave

"their citizens (all of them counted as such) glorified their mythology of 'rights'...and lost track of their duties. No nation, so constituted, can endure." Robert Heinlein, Starship Troopers

Offline MetalDog

  • GrogHeads Mods
  • Arquebusier
  • *****
  • Posts: 16341
  • Central Scrutinizer
Re: Auburn Football "Running Their Own University"?
« Reply #13 on: August 29, 2015, 12:24:39 PM »
There are rumors and accusations that the football program has undue influence.  That the head of the dept. that the degree belongs to originally acknowledged that the football team tried to donate to said dept. to keep the program alive.  Then denied he knew of the attempt.  Of the 111 students enrolled in the program, 51% were student athletes including the star qb, rb, wr and the leading tackler, sacker and interceptor on defense.  It's just the price of doing business in big time college football.  I accept that.  The NCAA may have cause.  If they don't, it still casts a shadow on Auburn and the SEC.  And true or not, you can bet someone will suggest a conspiracy out of Tuscaloosa.  That a dime was dropped. ;)

Edit: my bad.  I didn't bother to read the OP.  My point still stands though.  True or not, Alabama will be blamed for telling :)

Alabama will not be blamed for the bad AU publicity.  Michael Stern and the economics department will catch the blame from knowledgeable AU faculty, staff and supporters.

Having taught at AU for almost 30 years, the Athletic department has never interfered with an academic decision that I know of.  I have taught hundreds if not in the low thousands of athletes over the years.  The Athletic department has academic advisors.  They ask faculty (by email) to report if athletes are attending class, what their grades are, and if there is anything they should be doing that they are not doing.  The student gives permission for this.  Faculty can comply if they wish.  I always have - but I also have office hours and do the exact same thing for all of my other students upon request.

Since I'm a Department Chair now, I oversee in some way every single athlete who majors in Business or has a Minor in Business.  This is around 35% of all AU students.  All have to take a core class in my department (we have more than 800 enrolled this semester alone).  I've never heard of any interference from the Athletics on any academic decision.  The only direct contact I've had with a coach was a letter of apology for a screw-up on a team who failed a class for not doing the work (that happened twice for two different teams over the course of 28 years).

Since my wife and I are big sports fans, I occasionally get asked how this process works, if students earn their degrees, etc at athletic events.  I have never had anything to report that was less than positive.

The 'Tuscaloosa Conspiracy' was more of a jibe at the sports talk radio/message board morons that populate the state who stoke the rivalry beyond anyone's capacity to be objective about the other side. 

Thanks for laying this out for us :)
And the One Song to Rule Them All is Gimme Shelter - Rolling Stones


"If its a Balrog, I don't think you get an option to not consent......." - bob

Offline airboy

  • Landsknecht
  • *******
  • Posts: 4996
    • averysgameblog
Re: Auburn Football "Running Their Own University"?
« Reply #14 on: September 02, 2015, 11:22:19 AM »
This week the Provost sent an email to all of the AU faculty calling the controversy "BS."  First time I've ever gotten anything like that from the central administration.