Thursday, November 05, 2009

The Jan-and-Dean surfer solution

What is wrong with this picture?

The Forest Grove News-Times reports that at Pacific University, women students outnumber men nearly two to one...and the admissions department is having trouble attracting male applicants.

How’s that?

In my pre-feminist youth, we belted out a surfer song, “Surf City,” which extolled the virtues of “two girls for every boy.”

The refrain went: “You know we're goin' to Surf City, gonna have some fun, now — Two girls for every boy!”

But for some odd reason, Pacific University, named after the very same ocean whose surf inspired that youth culture of yore, has decided the way to attract young men to its campus is to revive …



And these folks are supposed to be smart.

No need to get on my soapbox about “clock-ringing” head injuries, later-life dementia and "career-ending" torn ligaments. Besides being dangerous, competitive collegiate football is not known for attracting the best and the brightest — at least to the classroom.

Still, as follow-up story in yesterday’s Oregonian pointed out, small liberal arts colleges “have enjoyed up-ticks in mile enrollment — or at least stabilized it — after starting football programs and have reaped revenue gains from tuition, ticket sales and concessions.”

Ah, revenue gains. It’s about the money. Bring in the jocks and we can pay the professors.

Pacific University administrators might want to talk to the faculty at the University of Oregon about its salaries. They are notoriously less competitive even as the university’s nationally-ranked football team becomes more so.

Could there be some connection here?

The Pacific University story raises all kinds of issues and questions: about the soaring cost of education (Could that be why men aren’t going to expensive liberal arts schools?), the poor academic performance of young males in general (Are young men increasingly modeling themselves after their moronic media stereotypes? Are they living in a virtual world of fantasy?), the priorities of post-adolescent males who choose a college for its football program and not for its academics, the muddled mindset of administrators who promote athletics over academics, the libido of young males (Why does “two girls for every boy” no longer work? Too sexist perhaps? Could suppressed libidos result from too many Budweisers in high school?), the impact on women students of having a dating pool full of tackles, tight ends and tailgaters.

No, if I were marketing Pacific University to young men, I’d turn back the clock and crank up those musical surfers Jan and Dean on behalf of the college.

You know we're goin' to Pacific University, gonna have some fun, now — Two girls for every boy!”

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