Saturday, August 07, 2010

Phil's Folly wags the Ducks

Phil Knight is at it again, this time with a $41.7 million over-the-top, luxury clubhouse for University of Oregon athletes.

UO officials continue to let the feathered tail (Knight, Nike’s billionaire founder) wag the ducks (the university's image and perceived mission). In the past I’ve suggested that “big sports” campuses spin off their athletic programs into amateur leagues that bear no relationship to the campuses and their academics except for traditional names (Ducks, Beavers, Vikings, Slugs, Earthworms or whatever. . . .)

Knight’s most recent duck-wagging may prove I have it backwards. How about the campuses keeping the athletes (and their clubhouses, stadiums, perks, overpaid coaches, television contracts, sponsor endorsements, and publicity machines) and transporting students and faculty to off-campus independent universities?

Sounds as though that’s where things are headed in Eugene, thanks to the sport-obsessed Knight and thousands of season-ticketed alumni seeking nostalgic pride in all the wrong places.

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