I want to wrap up a few thing about my criticism of the Rachel Bachman article from Friday, as I think that there are a few things that I need to say:
First off, I want to apologize to Rachel publicly. Not because anybody has asked me to do so, but because it is the right thing to do. I stand by my general criticism of the article, but my last line in my column made that criticism personal, instead of being about her work. It was petty, unprofessional, and borderline sexist. It was characteristic of a high school student, not a high school teacher, and uncharacteristic of the four year track record of this website. Anytime you write something for public consumption, its always subject to public criticism, that's fair game. Instead, I made a personal remark about someone whom I've never conversed with. I wish I would have omitted that, and I wish to own up to that mistake right now.
But my concern stands. Why does everything have to be reduced to an academics vs. athletics argument? This money isn't being taken away from academics. The Jacqua Center being a donated building, the academics really have no stake in the issue. Its the equivalent of someone donating a million dollars for our high school to install a turf football field, and the newspaper interviewing my wife complaining about how much science equipment that could have bought. Its irrelevant and not germaine to the conversation. That money was never going to go to academics.
It also concerns me greatly because I feel like causing this rift will ultimately hurt both sides. Our academics could be in much better shape. We are barely a tier 1 institution. Our legislature hardly funds the school. Our professor pay is among the lowest in the Pac-10, causing us to lose very good professors to higher paying institutions. We have academic buildings that are in badly need to upgrading. But by trying to drive a wedge into this split, we are hurting that cause. Why would Phil Knight donate to academics if he's going to be treated that way? Why would other sports boosters? Its the same criticism I have of the tea party protesters. Instead of just bitching about everything (which ultimately just turns off the people who have any ability to do anything about it) we need to find solutons. Fundraising, not bashing athletics, is the key to helping solve our academic problems. So lets try and figure out how to fundraise better, instead of bitching about what everybody else is getting.
As an alum of the University, it remains the most special of places in my heart. I want everything to be the best it can be, whether it be the football team or the chemistry department. By continuing to drive this divide, all parts of our University will ultimately suffer. I cannot, and will not stand by and let that happen quietly.