Category Archives: Blogosphere

“Cost of Attendance, EMU Athletics, and You”

In the realm of “sport,” there’s a good post by our friend Jeremy over at the site Eagle Totem, “Cost of Attendance, EMU Athletics, and You.” It’s about some rule changes for student athlete scholarships and also about how that is likely connected to EMU getting out of the game at home versus Michigan State. It’s a good read so follow that link. A couple of quotes here:

After years of dragging their feet, the NCAA finally approved cost of attendance increases for student athletes. It was the Power 5 conferences that finally moved on this, as they seemingly control all aspects of college athletics. The ripple effect will eventually hit us here in Ypsilanti, and how the increased costs will be dealt with is uncertain.

The MAC released a statement claiming “the Mid-American Conference’s Council of Presidents has reaffirmed its support of the NCAA’s autonomous legislation that allows for cost of attendance to be included in a grant-in-aid.” In layman’s terms the notion is this — student-athletes will see a bump in their overall scholarship allotment, money to cover food/books/rent etc. The Power 5 masters have pulled the leash, and the Group of 5 subjects have been forced to follow. The ante for admission at the adult table has been raised.

and this:

… for the sake of argument we claim that EMU will be paying $3,000 to each student-athlete [in these additional scholarship expenses], the cost will be enormous. EMU has approximately 500 student-athletes, at the cost of $3,000 per we are looking at approximately $1.5 million dollars added to the already stressed EMU athletic budget.

The EMU athletic budget currently runs an annual deficit of $10-11 million dollars. It is clear that any money used to pay student-athletes will have to come from the larger budget, as athletics cannot simply raise ticket prices to add meaningful revenue. Perhaps they can persuade Pepsi or another corporate sponsor to cover the cost. These solutions are doubtful. Odds are the only way the Athletic Department can pay for this is by either cutting expenses or drawing more money from the student population.

So far, it looks like what is likely to happen is a bit of both: that is, the department is trying to cut expenses so that they are drawing not quite as much money from the general fund, but we’re still going to end up throwing more money at athletics.

And then there’s this:

The first step toward, pardon the phrase, closing the gap in expenditures fell yesterday, when it was announced that EMU has dropped a home game with Michigan State because, in Heather Lyke’s words, “We couldn’t afford to play that game without a guarantee exchange.”

This means that EMU has to miss out on a golden opportunity to party with our Spartan amigos, amidst a full Rynearson Stadium, if only for one weekend. Have you ever noticed that almost all photos of Rynearson Stadium seem to be an aerial shot of an empty stadium? The MSU game was a chance to rectify that! Finally, a stadium full of green and white clad fans! EMU is missing out on fifteen years of useable stock photos.

I’m assuming that when Lyke says we can’t afford the guarantee exchange, she’s talking about how much money we’d have to pay MSU to come here to beat us up. I guess I can kind of understand that, but I have to say that I’m not so sure that Jeremy kind of has a point, even if he’s being a bit sarcastic here. It would be the first time that stadium has been full since… well, maybe the first time ever. Even if EMU had to pay MSU $1 million to come here, it seems possible they’d make that back in ticket sales (especially if they bumped them up for the game) and it would definitely help the attendance figures.


“The Writing on the Wall,” a podcast about Yik Yak at Colgate

“sometimes sports fan” posted this to the comments section, but it’s definitely worth sharing in its own post: “The Writing on the Wall” is a podcast about Yik Yak at Colgate University, where a particularly ugly series of Yaks “brought out a particularly vicious strain of racism that shook the school.” Completely worth listening to in all sorts of ways, but a few highlights/quasi-spoilers:

  • The issue here was among student on student racism at the very small and very white private liberal arts school. And it sounds like a lot of the Yik Yak users are pretty freakin’ racist.
  • At about the 7:10 mark, the story explains that a) Yik Yak has honored requests to restrict access at high schools but not colleges, and b) besides, all users have to do is not use the college network and use their smart phones’ networks. In other words, what the EMU-AAUP was asking for from the administration isn’t technically possible.
  • At about the 12:30 mark, we get into a bit about how the legal ramifications of compelling Yik Yak to give up information on some of its users. This story says that request was essentially denied, though I’m a little fuzzy on the details of that denial.
  • Keep in mind that this was a situation where students were being mean/racists/threatening to other students, and the faculty at Colgate were quite upset about all this. So they decided to fight back by more or less “taking back” Yik Yak. At about the 15:45 moment, that part of the story begins. The professors basically offered naively positive and upbeat statements on Yik Yak, and those faculty signed their Yaks. That seemed to have two effects: first, it sent the message to students “we know what’s going on here,” and second, “we care.”
  • It wasn’t perfect; there were still problems, as the podcast says toward the end. But it helped.
  • And at the end of the story, there’s an important message, I think: Yik Yak made visible to the students and faculty at Colgate what people were saying only to people who thought like them. It exposed a level of racism and overall nastiness that before this whole incident was there but just not visible.

Anyway, super-duper smart stuff here, and I sincerely hope that the folks at the EMU-AAUP and the faculty who wanted to ban Yik Yak in the first place take a listen to it.

Two MLK Day Links

I’m a little late on the uptake for a couple of different reasons on Martin Luther King Day news, but two things I thought I’d share:

First, EMU’s MLK Day schedule of events. Technically, EMU isn’t closed today– it’s just that there aren’t classes– and there are indeed a variety of different events happening on campus. The keynote speaker for today’s event is Dick Gregory, and I have kind of mixed feelings about that. On the one hand, he is of course a giant of the civil rights movement. On the other hand, when I did a search just now of “Dick Gregory,” I came across this YouTube video (which is really 47 minutes of rambling audio from some kind of Internet radio show), “Dick Gregory speaks on Ebola Hoax, Obama’s Secret Service Debacle, and ISIS (CIA Agents).” I only listened to about 10 or 12 minutes of it, but as far as I can tell, Gregory has a lot of kind of crazy conspiracy theories. A LOT. So the open to the public 10 AM keynote in the student center auditorium could be a wild ride.

Second, from the blog Gin and Tacos, “Here Comes Santa Claus.” The guy who writes that blog is a poli sci prof who blogs quite a bit about a variety of things, and I think his point here– that Martin Luther King’s legacy and even the whole civil rights movement is being softened and misinterpreted as it becomes more historically distant– is probably accurate. And that’s a problem, especially given the last year or two and some rather high profile. A quote:

As I watched what happened in Ferguson, NYC, Cleveland, and too many other places to count last year – and particularly watched how white people reacted in many cases with an amount of bile and racist invective that would have made a 1920s Klansman blush – I wonder if America’s race problem is actually worse today than it was when Martin Luther King lived. Sure, we no longer have segregated theater seating and public bathrooms. But back in the days of Jim Crow, society didn’t even bother to pretend that black people were equal or treated equally. Somehow the widespread perception among whites today that black people (and other people of color) are treated equally despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary has made things worse. We’ve traded brutal, immoral honesty for a delusion that has made us more bitter by the day.

I don’t think I completely agree with this– I do think that there has been progress since the 1960s– but I definitely see GT’s point.

Rarely is this site about Emus….

A friend of the site sent me this Emu-related bit of news, “Watch This Runaway Emu Sprint Through Israeli Traffic In The Rain.” Besides this little video and Emu story, this line caught me: “This is the second exotic animal to make a break for it in Israel in the past week. On Thursday, three rhinoceros from the Ramat Gan zoo took a leisurely stroll out of their enclosure upon realizing the gate had not been locked.”


“GUEST POST: EMU faculty honor University President Susan Martin’s courage & leadership and ask for her help re: the EAA”

It’s not a guest post here (though I always welcome such things); rather, it’s at the site eclecta blog, “GUEST POST: EMU faculty honor University President Susan Martin’s courage & leadership and ask for her help re: the EAA.” It’s a letter addressed to President Martin by EMU professor and friend of the site here Steve Wellinski, and I’d definitely encourage anyone and everyone who cares about the whole EAA mess to take a look at it. I’ll just quote from the opening paragraph because I think this is important:

President Martin,

On December 5th, the politically appointed Board of Regents intentionally placed our beloved Eastern Michigan University (EMU) in a merciless stranglehold. I need not remind you of the darkness that engulfed our community with their simpleminded choice. But, it is important to publicly recognize that a beacon of light did appear that afternoon – YOUR courageous step in recommending the severance of the inter-local agreement that establishes the Educational Achievement Authority (EAA).

Amen to that and to the other administrators who have joined the cause here to get EMU out the EAA.


“Who actually funds college football?”

A loyal reader sent me this link from the web site Raw Story, “Who actually funds college football?” The answer to this question is well-known to readers: it’s students, and it’s a result of student fees. One interesting angle in this article though is the author, David Ridpath, is a professor at Ohio University who has done some MAC-specific research on this. Here’s a quote:

I recently completed an empirical research study with co-authors Jeff Smith, of the University of South Carolina-Upstate and two Duke University Graduate Students, Jonathan Robe and Dan Garrett. We researched student perceptions of the athletic fee in the Mid American conference (MAC), one of the most highly-subsidized Division I conferences in the NCAA.

The study, due to come out in the January issue of The Journal of Sport, showed that students were largely unaware of these fee amounts, and how much it was allocated for intercollegiate athletics.

The athletic fee wasn’t obvious (in fact, it wasn’t even itemized) on university bills. Furthermore, getting the exact number from MAC institutions proved exasperating.

Considering the total fees assessed to fund athletics at MAC institutions, it’s clear why schools weren’t exactly transparent about the fee. Once the actual fee amount was detailed to the surveyed population of students, over 90% were either against the athletic fee or wanted it substantially lowered.

I’ll have to wait for my January issue of The Journal of Sport to arrive to get more of the details.

One more post about EMU vs. UM in basketball

Still basking in the glow of EMU’s victory in basketball over UM. I brought it up in a class I was teaching yesterday and a number of students (ones who don’t follow sports at all) thought I was kidding that EMU won in basketball against U of M. And even these students who never otherwise care about sports were happy about it all.

But for further reading, I’d recommend some of what’s in The Eastern Echo, particularly the column “Can a win over U of M improve fan attendance?” I think there are lots of reasons for the bad attendance numbers at home games– the average crowd this year so far is 840– but I think perceptions of the quality of this year’s team is just part of it. I also think a lot of it has to do with the kinds of students we have, commuting/working/returning students who just don’t have the extra time and lifestyle of students at a place like U of M or MSU. But I would agree if EMU started having a decent team that got to the NCAA tourney on a regular basis, the attendance numbers would climb.

I’ll say this: after seeing Tuesday’s game in person, I’m a lot more inspired to see some games at the Convocation Center this year. It’s a nice facility, tickets are pretty cheap (free for students!), you can pretty much sit wherever you want, etc., etc.

There are lots of pieces over at our friends Eagle Totem, including “Don’t get ahead of yourself just yet,” which is basically a cautionary piece about what the victory against U of M means. No need to be a “Debbie Downer” in response to what has to be described as a historic win (I mean, the last time this happened was 1997, which is the year my son– who is getting ready to graduate from high school– was born). But I do agree that the game against MSU will be a much better test for the Emus and a better indication about this team being “real” or not.

Finally, the other side of the “buy game” phenomenon in mLive, “Michigan’s loss to EMU includes $80K payment; total non-conference home tab comes to $387K.” Here’s a quote:

Four days after handing a program-defining victory and a check for $92,000 to New Jersey Institute of Technology, Michigan basketball cut two more losses on Tuesday night.

Along with a 45-42 defeat, U-M paid neighboring Eastern Michigan a contracted $80,000 as the guarantee for what would be the Wolverines second straight stunning loss in non-conference play.

The payouts, typically between $80,000-$100,000 for non-league “buy games,” are standard in college basketball.

Losing the games is not, let alone back-to-back.

I don’t know this for sure, but I assume that EMU does the same thing with some of the teams it beat up on at the beginning of the term. It’s just that you’re not supposed to lose games against teams you pay to play.

By the way, one of the comments on this mLive piece: “Can the church team I coach play Michigan next year?” Indeed. If my department could get together a team to lose against UM, I think we’d be happy to take a meager $40K.



“EAA Battle is a Fight for the Soul of EMU”

Friend of the site/friend of EMU, Jeremy Rosenberg over at Eagle Totem, has a long and interesting post here, “EAA Battle is a Fight for the Soul of EMU.” As he says:

Make no mistake, fellow EMU enthusiasts, what is taking place is a battle of political patronage versus the will of the students, faculty, alumni, and anyone who cares about this institution. The battle of the EAA has taken place on many fronts. More knowledgable voices than mine have articulated the reasons why this affiliation has to end.

He goes on to talk about the incoming (I presume?) chair of the Board of Regents, Michael Morris.  (As the Echo reported, current BoR chair Francine Parker, along with Floyd Clack, are done with the Board– though I don’t know if it is so much about retirement as it is term limits.) Rosenberg goes into some detail about Morris, who seems to be the definition of a rich guy who got his appointment as a political favor from Snyder. Rosenberg goes so far as to compare him to Ken Lay and Jeffrey Skilling, though to be fair, Morris had been on the Board before.

And I like his impassioned plea at the end here:

What can we do? We can continue to do what we have been doing. We can let the Board know, in the clearest language possible, that we do not accept their rule by fiat. We do not accept that we are to bend to the whims of this oligarchic junta. These six people, these lickspittles of Governor Snyder and his anti-education cabal. Teaching is sacred at EMU.

The oligarchs and the Board of Regents would like us to believe that we have no power, that we are to sit on our hands for a year while education at EMU exsanguinates right before our eyes.

But we do have power, EMU Nation. Maybe together, with a University President determined to fight for the interests of her citizens, a charismatic Student Body President, a faculty already knee deep in the battle themselves, a motivated and active student body, and one handsome blogger, we can unite to hold the Regents accountable.

The Board of Regents will slither into their holiday holes and ignore the outrage, certain it will die down, certain it will go away. But we will not let this go. We will think on what needs to be done over the winter break. We will come back in January.

This isn’t over.


On a positive note, I’m almost certain this would never happen at EMU. Almost certain.

From Gawker comes “College Buys $219,000 Table.”

Of course, EMU did build/buy that multimillion dollar president’s house….

“An Open Letter to My Governor…”

Wow, it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything here! It’s kind of a combination of being busy with my day-job, busy with my life, and being in kind of a “slow news” cycle right now, at least slow news relative to EMU.

Anyway, loyal reader and fellow EMU colleague Steve Wellinski sent me a link to this, “An Open Letter to My Governor….” This is by an EAA teacher addressed generally to Snyder. Here’s a quote:

As society continues its pervasive attack on teachers and the education system, I need only to look at the derogatory commentary that has been set forth my way by your own supporters. There is Matthew Schmidt, who scoffed at my 9-month school year, unaware that the EAA, an organization designed and regulated by the Governor he voted for, is a year-round school district. Fellow Christian, Dan Borkowicz spoke from the pew of his profile picture as he told me to “move,” a feeling seconded by Paula Krueger and Mike Head. Gary Rosenfeldt feels that any individual who questions unfair working conditions can always go to Wal-Mart, where undoubtedly, his tax dollars would be supporting my income short-fall anyway.

Supporter Gary Shooltz politely told me to “blame my union representative.” Can you tell me, Governor Snyder, who my local union representative is? Perhaps I can address the bed bugs, cockroaches, mice and ants that I have currently documented pervading my classroom without fear of district reprisal (the foundation of teacher tenure).

And so forth. I picked this quote because I think it’s fair to say that this is part of  what is in the mix about the EAA is opposition to organized labor. I think Snyder et al are under the impression that if we can just get the unions out of the way in the schools, all will be well. There are any number of problems with that point of view, not the least of which is it ignores the fact that most successful public schools in Michigan are unionized as well.