RALEIGH -- A bill designed to end "predatory education" has passed the North Carolina House of Representatives. The proposed statute (HB 937) would ban predatory college tuition rates and limits storage fees for undergraduate students who stay in college longer than the now-standard five years.
A companion Senate bill (SB 1032) seemed set to sail through to the governor's desk when a committee hearing raised new issues that shifted thinking on the proposed law.
Testifying before the Select Committee on Higher Education Finance, former UNC System president C.D. "Dick" Spangler said, "Studies have shown clearly that the more we pay professors, the better they teach. It's just like the way it works for what we pay coaches. As Roy Williams might say, 'You ain't getting ol' Roy unless you pay for that dadgum sucker.'"
While most of the senators present did not seem to buy into Spangler's data or logic -- few seemed to believe that faculty taught better when paid more -- Spangler's sports analogy did raise the question of how the proposed law might impact coaching salaries.
Called to speak to the issue, UNC athletic director Dick Baddour testified that without high tuition rates it would be "simply impossible" to pay revenue-sport coaches "the salaries they deserve." Baddour added, "To use one example, do any of you think that the University of Alabama could have lured Nick Saban from the Miami Dolphins without a massive infusion of alumni funds? Without sufficient tuition rates, some alumni resources would be diverted to supporting educational purposes, and thus would be unavailable for market-rate coaching salaries."
Baddour's stunning revelations seemed set to kill the Senate bill in committee as members considered the impact on their respective alma maters.
But the bill's flagging momentum reversed again when University of North Carolina officials suddenly announced their "whole-hearted support" for the bill as written. Inside sources say the turn of heart came after UNC administrators realized that while the proposed tuition-limiting law would crimp finances at UNC, it would put Duke University out of business in a matter of weeks.
Legislative analysts say the bill would rollback tuition rates by as much as 55% and would limit future rates of increase to the rate of inflation as measured by a specially calculated index which weights more heavily than the standard CPI the costs of textbooks, beer, pizza and cell-phone airtime charges.
Bailout coming for ailing college football industry
WASHINGTON -- In the midst of the looming national crisis in the college football industry, Congress has voted a $22 billion bailout to rescue the many potential victims from its imminent collapse.
The bill passed easily after riveting testimony by National Collegiate Athletic Association president Myles Brand.
"The current system is broken," said Brand.bluntly, as he fired off a series of points to back his claim:
* Many bowl-bound teams lose money -- even if they win the game.
* Many loyal fans of "name-brand" football schools feel like losers -- even when their teams win most of their games.
* While many coaches at high-profile schools are making multi-million dollar salaries -- they don't have time to spend the money.
* Coaches at lower-profile schools aren't making multi-million dollar salaries -- and pro-rated across the number of hours they work don't even make the federal minimum wage.
* While many universities have done their share by compromising their academic and behavioral standards to admit gifted non-student-athletes -- all they have gotten in return is lowered graduation rates and bad press stemming from notable arrests.
Brand admitted that while the money wouldn’t fix the problem, it would make everyone involved in college football from fans to college presidents feel better.
For its part, the NCAA is proposing to give every college football team a 2-0 win-loss record to start the season. "It'll take getting used to. But, think about it, we begin every game by having teams kick off from the 35 yard mark, not the goal line," said Brand.
Brand noted that these "gifts" will not be first for colleges and universities.
"You may or may not be aware but we have always given students 200 points on their SATs, as they say, just for signing their names. Same concept. It has worked wonders on the academic side. How many football players do you think would be eligible for admission without those extra SAT points? Not many, I'd venture," said Brand.
Gary D. Gaddy, who came with his wife and two preschool children to attend graduate school in Chapel Hill in 1980 penniless, used a variety of scholarships, fellowships, assistantships and a mobile home purchase to leave UNC with a Ph.D. and a check for $4500 in his pocket.
A version of these articles were published in the Chapel Hill Herald Thursday February 14, 2008.
Copyright 2008 Gary D. Gaddy