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Buffaloed:

The new book Buffaloed: How Race, Gender, and Media Bias Fueled a Season of Scandal by Bruce Plasket (available from Amazon.com) attempts to debunk the huge national sexual assault scandal that surrounded the University of Colorado football team in 2004. My review of the book for the Rocky Mountain News finds that Plasket is on-target with many of his charges, but he also overstates his case and ignores contrary evidence.

One point about which Plasket is clearly correct in his criticism of media malfeasance is an incident I wrote about in early 2004, when the media treated some unsubstantiated hearsay accusations about two anonymous CU players as if they were plainly true. Likewise, as Plasket accurately notes (and I wrote about earlier this year) the media gave scant attention to the exoneration of two CU football players who were accused of raping a woman they met at a bar in 2003.

Bruce Hayden (mail) (www):
I take the heretical view that the problem is in having the football team in the first place. Because of their national reputation, the CU football team has operated under a different standard than most of the rest of the University of Colorado. (I should note that other nationally recognized teams, like their ski team also fall into the same situation).

I view the primary goal of a state university such as CU as educating the most students at the highest level possible. And the level of hypocracy involved with the football (and ski) team has no positive, and significant negative effect on this mission.

In short, the school would do better to just dump its major atheletic teams and concentrate on academics.
11.25.2005 3:14pm
Bruce Hayden (mail) (www):
Interestingly, being a Colorado native, going to CU games while growing up, etc., and I posted the previous post before the connection with "Buffalos" and CU clicked.
11.25.2005 3:16pm
Anderson (mail) (www):
I've scanned the review and the post, and I don't find guns mentioned anywhere, despite this post's being by David Kopel. Impressive, if disorienting.
11.25.2005 3:40pm
Willard:
But, Bruce, clearly the university has different mission. Unless the Almighty has shared with you His knowledge of the Platonic essence of the University of Colorado, why should your vision of the University's mission have any particular weight? In a democratic society, where the voters/taxpayers clearly delight in successful football and skiing teams, why wouldn't the university administrators (who probably aren't on close terms with Platonic ideals either) respect the decisions of those who voted their institution into existence and support it with their taxes.
11.25.2005 9:20pm
frankcross (mail):
Judging by today's events, it appears that the miscreants are in the stands at Boulder, not on the field.
11.25.2005 10:00pm
Tumbling Dice:
Major D-1 football programs bring a ton of money to their schools. In fact, most football programs are the ONLY money makers for D-1 schools, often supporting many of the lesser athletic programs (many of which exist because of Title 9).

I'm sure at some point a studay has been done to see if there is a correlation between winning football programs and alumni donations, etc. Obviously, it would be hard to say definitively if there is a correlation since there could be a number of factors, but I don't doubt that there is some correlation.

Sometimes it's best if those that are jealous of the athletes just come out and say it rather than preaching from on high about the "true mission" of a college institution.
11.25.2005 10:58pm
Tumbling Dice:
Major D-1 football programs bring a ton of money to their schools. In fact, most football programs are the ONLY money makers for D-1 schools' athletic programs, often supporting many of the lesser athletic programs (many of which exist because of Title 9).

I'm sure at some point a study has been done to see if there is a correlation between winning football programs and alumni donations, etc. Obviously, it would be hard to say definitively if there is a correlation since there could be a number of factors, but I don't doubt that there is some correlation.

Sometimes it's best if those that are jealous of the athletes just come out and say it rather than preaching from on high about the "true mission" of a college institution.
11.25.2005 10:59pm
frankcross (mail):
Actually, plenty of studies have shown that there is no such correlation. See
http://www.bringbacktrack.com/
About/Sport_Giving_Non-Correlation.asp
Politically, though, college sports are here to stay.
11.25.2005 11:22pm
Daniel Chapman (mail):
"bringbacktrack.com?" Link is dead anyway.
11.26.2005 11:46am
Tumbling Dice:
Yes, I'm sure those studies have "shown" there is no correlation. As I stated, there is no possible study that could show conclusively, either way, what effect sports programs have on alumni giving (which, generally, would go to the general funds).

It's fairly easy to see where such studies that actually look to donor motivation (which are the only ones that could possibly get to the answers) rely almost exclusively on the self-reporting of the donor's motiviation. I doubt many people would check the "The football program done good this year" over something that sounds more.....errr....intelligencer.
11.26.2005 12:11pm
frankcross (mail):
Why critique studies without looking at them? None of this research relied on survey reporting. It looked at things like rates of giving associated with emphasis on football, dropping the football program, etc. It's hard to prove or disprove motivation but the bottom line is that the association is not there as an empirical matter.
11.26.2005 12:48pm
Tumbling Dice:
Frankcross,

I suspect you have some vested interest in it being shown there is no correlation, given your last post. There are a number of studies that have come to the exact opposite conclusion; however, they aren't cited by the paper (which is as much a summary as anything) you have so conveniently presented as proof that "the association is not there as an empirical matter."

Try reading some alternative points of views/studies:

http://asstudents.unco.edu/students/AE-Extra/2000/7/anb1.htm

What do you know? Seems there are a number of studies that show there IS a correlation.

Again, I don't care if there is a correlation or if there is not - I don't have a dog in that fight. There are a number of arguments for a university, public or private, to have athletic programs. And one of them is that there is some correlation between a successful athletic program and contributions to the general fund of the institution by alumni. I do get tired of hearing the whining of the ivory tower types who don't see any value in athletic programs w/o owning up to their motives.

Everyone has motives...mine is that I happen to enjoy watching college athletics.
11.26.2005 5:11pm
Justin (mail):
Incidental question: Why do Big 12 teams (outside of Texas and the old SWC temas reverse their names when writing their school shorthand.

What I mean is:

KU: The University of Kansas
CU: The University of Colorado
MU: The University of Missouri
NU: The University of Nebraska
OU: The University of Oklahoma

BUT:

UNO: THe University of Nebraska Omaham
UT: The University of Texas
UM: The Universitiy of Michigan/Miami

etc.
11.26.2005 5:21pm
frankcross (mail):
Tumbling, how would I have a vested interest? Your first response was either nonsubstantive or mischaracterized the research. That was why I responded. Your second post, which cites research, was a valuable substantive one. I hadn't seen that information Now people who read this board, including me, have available to them some actual research to rely upon.
11.26.2005 10:00pm
Bruce Hayden (mail) (www):
I wouldn't call it reversing the letters - I grew up with CU being Colorado University, and that is what seems normal to me. Yes, now, it is a minority position, but it does make some logical sense. For example, in CO here, we have CU (Colorado University) and CSU (Colorado State University - formerly the ag school).
11.26.2005 10:08pm
Bruce Hayden (mail) (www):
I don't like major college atheletics because they appear to me to be highely corrupting. For example, I had a friend awhile back on a skiing scholorship at CU. The ski team ate, dormed, and took classes with the football players. It was bad enough that they got a lot of extra tutoring, but in prepping for tests, they would get this year's tests to study from (i.e. the tests they were about to take), instead of last year's tests like the rest of the students.

Notice that it is now just assumed that there is a double standard at this level of collegiate athletics. The problem at CU wasn't really that sex or alchohol was used to recruit football players, but rather that some of the sex might not have been totally consensual. But consensual sex used as a recrutiting tool appears to be ok.

If you want college athletics at this level, why not just eliminate the hypocracy and corruption? Just hire a semipro team of athletes, and let them play for the school. Don't pretend that they are really students, just like the other 20,000 students at CU-Boulder (or, more recently, UCB). They aren't just like those other 20,000 students. For the most part, they would quickly flunk out if held to the standards that the non-athletes are held to.
11.26.2005 10:22pm
Justin (mail):
But Bruce, whatever you called it, that's NOT the name of the school. The school is the University of Colorado, and why you reverse it and CALL it CU (or Colorado University) is beyond me and the source of my question. I mean, nobody calls the University of Michigan "Michigan University" despite its ugly stepsister being Michigan State University.
11.26.2005 11:33pm
Adam (mail) (www):
I'm sure at some point a studay has been done to see if there is a correlation between winning football programs and alumni donations, etc.

See The Game of Life, chapter 10. There is no general correlation. Generally, giving rates are unaffected by won-lost records at the high-profile Division IA schools and at the Ivy League schools. Increases in winning percentages yield modest positive increases in giving rates, particularly among former atheletes, at the lower-profile Division III liberal arts colleges. But that's it.
11.27.2005 10:16am
JohnAnnArbor:
Justin, I remember some VERY OLD (100 years or more) books in the UMich library with markings on the spine like "Michigan University," meaning "University of Michigan." It's very rare, but not unknown.......
11.27.2005 5:40pm
Bruce Hayden (mail) (www):
Look, it has been "CU" my entire 55 years of life, and presumably a lot longer. It was just the way things were done back then. That said, there is a movement to change the way the school is known - you now routinely hear about UCB, UCD, and UCCS (for the Boulder, Denver, and C. Springs campuses). It seems like "CU" is primarily used today to refer to the entire four campus system (the fourth being the med school). Last I knew, the football team, while being based at the Boulder campus technically represented all four campuses.

Let me add that in addition to CU and CSU (Colorado State University), there is also CSM (Colorado School of Mines), and there used to be a CSC (Colorado State College), the traditional teachers' college, but it was renamed UNC (University of Northern Colorado) a couple of decades ago. CSM typically just goes by "Mines", but I noticed a bunch of parking stickers the other day, and they use "CSM".

Oh, and add in CC (Colorado College), not to be confused with any of the above, since it is private and predates most of the public schools listed above. (ok, I guess CC could change its name officially to "College of Colorado" just to be consistent).
11.28.2005 10:11am
Tumbling Dice:
For whatever reason, I thought that the old rule was that a school with "University of" was a state school (though it wasn't the ONLY way a state school might be named: Texas A&M University)

Interestingly, the A/M aggies, in all their envy of The University of Texas, think it is funny to call The University of Texas tu. So, it's safe to assume that The University of Texas will never refer to itself as TU.
11.28.2005 11:28am
Justin (mail):
Look, it has been "CU" my entire 55 years of life, and presumably a lot longer. It was just the way things were done back then.

K, thanks.
11.28.2005 2:31pm
tylerh (mail):
Tumbling,

I am a proud UT graduate ("Go horns GO"), and I too believe Div I althletics have no place on a College campus. Why? Because I had several friends in UT's DIV-I sports programs, and I saw what it did to their lives.

One woman was at attending UT's top-10 chemistry school for free due to her volleyball skills. Except, she couldn't: chem labs aren't scheduled around NCAA tournaments. She was being forced to choose between getting the college education she wanted or keeping her volleyball scholarship. Another acquaintance was a starting lineman for the UT football team. He managed, through Herculean effort, to get an engineering degree after five-and-half years. Shame he had to sacrifice his knees to pull it off.

I'm all for varsity athletics: sports can add to the learning experience. But the big time college sports programs are different beasties: They are minor leagues for the pros that warp budget priorities, endorse behaviors of star players that make a mockery of the ideals of "higher" education, and ruin many young lives while delivering few of the benefits of an actual college experience.

If these minor league teams are so profitable for the colleges, why not spin them off as stand alone businesses?
11.28.2005 3:23pm