Really, in the final analysis, what are we all about?

“We are confronted primarily with a moral issue.”

— John F. Kennedy

Athletics vs. Academics. What are we really about?

Missouri Southern may soon be confronted with a moral issue. Will it do the right thing?

Once again, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has published The Satanic Verses his FY 2013 budget proposal. And in it he has handed public institutions of higher education a fistful of shit. You know it is bad when even the Republicans in the General Assembly are going, “What the fuck? We hate that intellectual elite, but the question is ‘Is our kid learning?'”

So how will the green and gold handle this communal shit sandwich? RTV might find out today. The college presidents are meeting with the governor to call him an asshole plead their case. And, hey, if The Fedora’d One calls Nixon an asshole (or even implies it), we will back him. But the response to this epic downturn in state appropriations is scary to everyone.

It was the hot topic at The Watch’s Monday editorial meeting at Pat’s Lounge in Pittsburg, Kan. In fact one Watch editor said the following:

“I would cut every single athletics program before I would eliminate one degree program or hurt the academic integrity of this university. Or at least what’s left of its academic integrity.”

Please note that this person is in his or her 20s. That wasn’t faculty.

But really. We are trying to raise MILLIONS of dollars for athletic facilities improvements at a time when we can’t hire tenure track faculty. Jesus a Go Go is trying to sell naming rights to buildings, programs, toilets and spatulas at the new Pizza Hut Express. Why? To fund capital improvements and athletics.

We want to jump all over her. But we can’t. It isn’t her fault.

Donors don’t want to fund education, generally. That is the state’s job, they believe. They pay taxes, after all. They want to fund grand projects and excellence. Hell, University of Missouri Interim President Steve Owens said as much to the General Assembly.

So the cuts have to come from the universities. And they have to cut academics. They have to cut their morals and their souls at the altar of athletics. If they cut athletics, they say, donors go away.

We don’t believe that. Not here. Not at Missouri Southern.

This isn’t a football factory. Cut football if it saves a major. At some schools, football funds research. Here, football doesn’t fund itself.

That won’t happen, of course. We just hired a new head coach and nine assistants. And the only major fund raising coup of the Speck era is to build a sports complex that may or may not include his elevator to the president’s box.

And it may be a matter of survival. Some have noted that Missouri supports more public four-year colleges than bordering states. What if they decide at the state level to cut institutions?

But, if we believe the NCAA mantra that most all students are going pro in something other than sports, why do we cut their opportunities?

It is like a family choosing HBO over groceries. And it doesn’t make us a university, it makes us entertainment.

It sure doesn’t make us moral.

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5 Responses to Really, in the final analysis, what are we all about?

  1. A PSU fan says:

    Sitting in a comfortable L&P Center Wednesday night, I spoke with a Southern fan who told me about this website. Having spent some time this evening reading back through the history, I couldn’t resist replying to this post.

    First, as a PSU fan, I agree with you 100 percent. Bring back Julio Leon. He was the best thing ever for PSU in regards to Southern athletics. Thanks to his long tenure, Southern athletics, aside from the L&P Center, are still operating like it’s the early 1980’s. The exceptions are Corn’s program, track and cross country teams, which are also guided by a long-tenured coach. And thanks to Julio of the Ivory Keys, Southern is undefeated vs. PSU in head-to-head piano competition.

    Second, your neighbor state schools (Kansas in this case) does not allow one penny toward athletic department funds. Not one. Athletics at Hays, Emporia and Pittsburg (as well as KSU, KU and WSU) are privately funded, including scholarships. Donors, sponsors, season ticket sales, corporate sponsors, luxury box sales, concessions and overall ticket sales fund these programs. So go ahead and take the moral high ground, cut athletics before academics. Shall we place a bet on the enrollment decline, would you prefer percentage or overall number?

    Third, before you throw academics back at me, let’s not get into a comparison of academic all-Americans or academic all-MIAA numbers between PSU and MSSU. Just don’t. If you want to compare academic programs head-to-head, bring it on.

    Finally, please understand my intention is not to appear as an arrogant PSU fan. Bottom line, the MIAA is a better league and the MSSU/PSU rivalry is much better when Southern is competitive. I would like to see Southern find a way to upgrade its facilities, to be more competitive and come into the current century on how athletic departments operate. Northeast is getting it done; Western is getting done; Central has been getting it done for years; no more excuses Southern. Fact is, the bar is rising fast in the MIAA, Western has an indoor practice facility, Hays and Pittsburg are getting indoor practice facilties. At the current pace, by the time Southern upgrades its facilties, it will be to the standards set a decade ago, and Southern will STILL be behind the times.

    In conclusion, I would not be a true PSU fan without praising Southern for one detail; I think it is the nicest thing in the world that Southern students would help market and promote its rival by making shirts with the name Pitt State on them. Thank you, we appreciate your support. GoRillas.

  2. PSU fan,

    We had a Watch editors meeting today and someone had a funny thought:
    “Could that be Dwight (Douglas)?”
    We hadn’t thought about that, but if you spent an entire evening reading our back posts, you have no fucking life. And we want to give you the benefit of the doubt.
    And why would you give two shits about Southern? And since you do, why do you open up with a “Piss on Julio” rant? That is right out of the Mighty Dwight/RTV playbook.
    Cool theory. Hmmm…..

  3. Slippery Rock says:

    The PSU poster is correct. Comparing the funding of athletics to the funding of Athletics is not really comparing apples to oranges when speaking of Kansas and Missouri.

    Missouri allows state funds to be spent on Athletics, that is taxpayer dollars. So yes, we do have some tough decisions to make. I was in Jefferson City and asked a legislative leader if they thought about addressing this issue (taxpayer dollars for athletics) and he said without hesitation (“No, this is a great system which works well”) Sure it works well for him, he is a big Mizzou booster. Just think of where our academics would be if state dollars did not go to fund athletics?

    Apparently states like Kansas who do not allow State dollars do go towards academics really have the priorities in line.

    Now, schools like Pitt State raise A LOT of money for their entire university, not just athletics. Saw they are in the process of building a Fine Arts Center, spending like 16 million on their student center, and redoing their basketball arena (and an indoor track/football) facility. I remember reading their president say back in the 1980’s ‘Football is the Front Porch to this University” and they use that philosophy like KU does in BB to get funds for academics. Nothing creates school spirit more than a great sports team.

    The bottom line is in this present day, we need to decide which is most important and where our tax dollars need to be spent in higher education.

  4. Slippery Rock says:

    Agreed. I found is quite disturbing that this Mo House leader said changing this model was “off the table” despite the dire state of Higher Ed funding.

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