What’s Wrong Here?

The independent organization known as The American Council of Trustees and Alumni, located in Washington, D.C., has come out against the bloated salaries and expanding numbers of administrators at American colleges and universities in the face of higher costs of tuition and the poor graduation rates and mediocre showing of college graduates upon graduation. More importantly, they engage in an ongoing check on the academic credentials of America’s colleges and universities and grade them according to their core requirements. This examination covers the basic subject areas they think every educated person should know something about, namely, Composition, Mathematics, Economics, U.S. History, Foreign Language, Literature, and Science and their grades rank from A to F. Very few colleges and universities in this country garner an “A” grade.

Seemingly unrelated to this fact is the consideration that football coach Nick Saban at the University of Alabama was recently given an extension on his contract that will guarantee him somewhere between $7 and $7.5 million a year. Undergraduate students pay out $92,000 apiece in tuition, room and board for their four years of education at Alabama even though fewer than half of them actually graduate. Alabama did not make the A.C.T.A.’s “A” list, needless to say.

Additionally, Florida State University will play for the national title in football and their star quarterback recently won the prestigious Heisman Trophy — despite the fact that there are still allegations of rape against the man that have not been cleared up. Playing for the national championship in football will bring the university millions of dollars in revenue. Students at Florida State pay about the same as those at Alabama for tuition, room, and board and the university has a slightly higher graduation rate. But that university also fails to make the A.C.T.A.’s “A” list.

I’m just sayin’…………


7 thoughts on “What’s Wrong Here?

  1. Hugh, good post. The other issue is the added VPs of Stuff or VP of Things. Some colleges seem to have too heavy a weighting on the Administration side. The football stuff is in its own world. There are some who would argue that Saban is worth every penny. Yet, it seems to be contrary to the purpose of the school. Thanks, BTG

    • The number of administrators and support staff in the vast majority of America’s colleges and universities has increased at a rate far surpassing the rate of increase of teachers in the cassrooms. There is a real issue here that simply makes the absurd salaries of the football coaches — and their many assistants — part of a larger problem of priorities.

  2. Looks like we’re headed toward the F train. Priorities is exactly it, Hugh, and it’s a very good blog. As you have said, and as data shows, the schools that have the biggest athletic department budgets have been, consistently for the last several years, schools with some of the weakest academic performances, including poor graduation rates. And that’s not just among athletes, but for the entire student body. The glorification of major sports, consciously or subconsciously, seems to be sending a message about what our universities prize most.

  3. College sports programs being completely eliminated and funds redirected to actual education certainly would not be the worst thing that could happen to higher education. Saban’s $7.5 Million could put a lot of deserving students through school.

    • When Robert Hutchins became president of the University of Chicago in the 30s of the last century the first thing he did was eliminate intercollegiate athletics — to the howls of alumni. But he weathered the storm and Chicago’s academic reputation took wings!

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