This has a lot of people (Forbes' Steve Salzberg, among them)
outraged that a school that has a $100 million nationally ranked
football program would gut/eliminate/eviscerate/filet/pick-your-word a core
part of the science curriculum. U.S. News and World Report ranked UF's CS
department 39th in the nation two years ago.
always, the truth is somewhere in the middle. It's true that the
school, like most across America, is under budget pressure. It's true
the dean of the College of Engineering has a proposal on the table to
reorganize the department. What happens is yet to happen.
Misguided priorities? But
the ruckus affords an opportunity for us to debate the role of athletics
in establishments founded (whenever they were founded) to educate young
men and women and advance research in the interests of society.
were not founded to teach students to hit a baseball farther, score
more points on the football fields or basketball courts. But over the
years, you'd be forgiven if you got the impression that academics was an
afterthought at many universities, smitten as they are by the almighty
revenue stream from ESPN, sporting-events gates, and apparel and foam-finger sales.
would be fine if the money supported academics but it doesn't. Most
athletic programs are run by associations not directly connected to the
academic programs. At UF, the association gives about $3 million a year
over the past two decades to academics. And often, sports-program donors
give money only to the sports programs and specify their donation is
not to be used for anything else. And like clockwork, donors routinely get called out or prosecuted for slipping money to "student"-athletes, who are taking up a space in a classroom that should be given to a student, not a semi-professional sports figure.
My take is that sports at the
college level should be intramural only. The NCAA, ESPN and the rest can
go pound sand. They'll figure out other ways to exploit young athletes
But that's just me. What do you
Should sports be divorced from academic institutions that receive
Should sports associations be required to fund academic programs
(not just the occasional scholarship but research programs?)
Unfortunately this is a reflection of priorities at this school, and society in general. The school makes money from their football program, but the Computer Science program doesn't grant them immediate benefits. Now, one can argue producing more CS graduates benefits society overall more than another college football team, but organizations (schools, etc.) aren't in it for the benefit of society, or the local / state / regional / national economy, they are in it for their own short-term benefit.
It is inappropriate for me, as an Australian, to criticize the priorities of US citizens but I did have these thoughts:
If you can get 20,000people to watch a football game, people who would probably pay well over $50 to go to a pop concert and wouldn't even notice that amount on their cell phone account, why can't a university collect that much from each of them each time.? Surely that would fund a few useful courses.
I also thought, having once watched the buildup to a game between two, not particularly well-known, universities in the USA, that the energy, dedication and organisational skills (not to mention the expense) involved in just the preliminaries - marching bands, singers and groups, fly pasts and whatever, shows an enormous and laudable capacity for achievement. What is needed surely is for this skill and effort (and money) to be applied in more useful directions, AS WELL, not INSTEAD. And if sporting events, casinos and rather dense TV programs are the only way to gain the interest of most of the population, why not put a substantial levy on all of these and pour it into (useful) educational programs. (You can do 'gender studies' or whatever in your own time and at your own expense.)
As far as the Australian manic obsession with sport is concerned, while our manufacturing capability dwindles to zero and our economic survival rests on digging ever larger holes in the ground, I think we are quite mad.
Given that we are talking about the famous University of Florida, perhaps they could get rid of all of those hard programs and concentrate on the easy ones. There are lots of other schools where one can get a good engineering education, after all.
Perhaps it is time to stop doing what they don't do well. After all, not every school is a great engineering school.
Please note that this is a statement presented as one persons opinion. In the USA we are allowed to do that on some topics, so far the quality of universities is not out of bounds.
Follow the money. If athletics generates more profits for the school than CIS, the trustees will keep the athletics.
And in a heartbeat, they need to be blacklisted and expunged from the academic community. They are obviously more interested in saving their precious jobs than honoring their commitment to academic excellence. I would never be able to trust them to use good, sound judgment in their educational choices
I think some commentators here are a bit (a large one) off track. Education is not only "business". There is (supposedly) a higher goal underneath. The question is not if Football makes more money than CS or Applied Physics (by the way - to say that football players are "applying Physics" in any academic sense is a faaar stretch). The question is: The professionals that are supposed to be educated at the university will make money and create usefull stuff AFTER finishing the college for their markets. If the University is applying more effort and men-hours to manage sports and make money, it should change its name and focus - instead of Miami University, it should change to Miami Sports Center. To make and sell food and soft drinks are great business also. So why don't we stop to teach at schools and start to sell hamburgers and Coke instead?
There are plenty of companies also offering internships, unpaid. The student pays tuition, the college gives credit and the company gets free labor. I was on a university career website the other day, for biology majors there were more "jobs" unpaid than paid.
I can't image there is no demand for Computer Science majors, I could see if they were cutting their creative writing or history department, but CS???
David Patterson, known for his pioneering research that led to RAID, clusters and more, is part of a team at UC Berkeley that recently made its RISC-V processor architecture an open source hardware offering. We talk with Patterson and one of his colleagues behind the effort about the opportunities they see, what new kinds of designs they hope to enable and what it means for today’s commercial processor giants such as Intel, ARM and Imagination Technologies.