Berdahl to IAC: stop asking hard questions

3/19/2012: Interim President Bob Berdahl thinks the UO Senate Intercollegiate Athletics Committee is asking too many hard questions about athletics, and he is going to rewrite the committee’s charge to make it easier for the athletic department to have their way with UO. 

From what I can tell this is the first time in UO history a president has gone after a Senate committee like this. In addition, the administration now appears to be attempting to repudiate the 2004 Athletics Task force report, a 3 year joint effort of the UO administration, the athletic department and Senate that produced this 12 point blueprint for athletics reform at UO. This was commissioned by then President Dave Frohnmayer and signed off on by everyone from Jim Earl to Dan Williams to Bill Moos.

There is a series of recent emails between IAC chair Tublitz and Berdahl posted on the UO Senate website, here. Read them all to get the context. Here is an excerpt from Tublitz’s report to the IAC on his meeting with Interim President Berdahl last week.

He [Berdahl] gave several examples where this year’s IAC had improperly strayed into oversight:

a) Requesting information about NCAA violations;
b) Asking for financial information such as donations that had nothing to do with academic issues;
c) Making too many requests to the Athletic Director.

I [Tublitz] pointed out that these items are in our current charge to which the Interim President replied that he would not have approved the current charge if he was president at the time the current charge was adopted.

The Interim President also stated that other items in the current charge such as being involved in appointments of head coaches were also well outside the proper consultative role of the IAC.

We discussed the fact that the current charge and several issues discussed in the IAC this year came directly from the 2004 Athletic Task Force (ATF) report. I noted that the report had been submitted to the Senate by the entire ATF committee, including Mr O’Fallon as FAR, then Athletic Director Bill Moos and then VP for Administration Dan Williams speaking on behalf of then President Frohnmayer and the central administration. Jim O’Fallon strenuously objected to the commonly held notion that he, AD Bill Moos and the administration had approved the Task Force report even though their names were on the final report and the Senate adopted it. The Interim President said that he had consulted with former President Frohnmayer who said he did not “sign off” or approve the 2004 Task Force report.

The Interim President was adamant that the IAC should: 

a) Not change its charge;
b) Not change its membership (refer to footnote 1 below);
c) Send all requests to his office; and,
d) Adhere to a more consultative approach.

He also said that he did not trust the committee to follow its charge, that he had full authority to regulate the charge and membership of the committee, and implied that he had considered dissolving the committee.

Current charge here. The IAC has indeed been asking a lot of questions, and it has dug up a lot of previously hidden information – including info on subsidies and secret agreements between Frohnmayer and former AD Kilkenny, now posted for all to see on the athletics department website here. The IAC’s most recent accomplishment has been to make the AD post a copy of UO’s 2006 NCAA certification review – or at least part of it – here. Interesting reading. And you can bet there will be more to come.

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11 Responses to Berdahl to IAC: stop asking hard questions

  1. Anonymous says:

    “Asking for financial information such as donations that had nothing to do with academic issues.”

    If Berdahl really said that, somebody needs to tell the IRS. Doesn’t the tax-exempt status of those donations depend on the university claiming that they support our academic mission?

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  2. Anonymous says:

    Soon you guys will be calling for Berdahl’s head! I will be eager to see who our Robespierre will be.

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  3. uomatters says:

    Berdahl is the radical on this.

    He is trying to weaken the powers of a long established UO shared governance arrangement for athletics, of the sort that exists on almost every campus, and which is of the form supported by the NCAA, Knight Commission, etc.

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  4. Anonymous says:

    Well, of course he is! He’s a professional administrator. Would he make his life more or less complicated? Coupled with the fact that he doesn’t seem to be a likely candidate for a longtime permanent president means he’s not out to be a politician buddy with the faculty, only keep a lid on the simmering pot until after he’s departed.

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  5. Anonymous says:

    The U of Athletics is one messed up institution.
    Wiki describes Matt Arena as:
    The arena floor is named Kilkenny Floor after former Oregon Athletic Director Pat Kilkenny. Called “Deep in the Woods”, the design features repeating silhouettes of Pacific Northwest tree lines, giving the impression of being lost in the forest, gazing toward the sky.

    I’d say they got the theme half right. The U of O does seem to be “lost in the forest ” of out of control/balance athletics, and they are in deep something…

    How about a new rule– no more athletic enhancement spending until the same (retroactive) amount is spent on the academic side?
    That’s $227 million for the arena alone. (plus PK park, LaCrosse, Jacqua & expanded sports building amounts ).
    Ka ching!

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  6. Anonymous says:

    If you think the current guy is bad, wait till you see what OUS/Pernsteiner cook up for our next president.

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  7. Anonymous says:

    What the hell? Hubin’s report described the IAC as providing “faculty and student oversight and input to the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics.” How has this changed in such a short time?

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    • uomatters says:

      What page is this on? I haven’t had time to dig into it. Thanks. Anything else interesting in there?

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  8. Anonymous says:

    Rob Mullens didn’t like the faculty and students having oversight and input, so he complained to Lorraine, who went to Berdahl and told him that the faculty were getting uppity again. Berdahl did what she told him to do, but went a little overboard on the emails, without thinking through the consequences. Just a guess, of course.

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