Doing it for the children, or doing it to the children?

Really, there aren’t two more interesting intersections between the worlds of college football and politics than those we’re seeing in Louisiana and Missouri.

In the case of the latter, we’re watching the school struggle to respond to the demands of a hostile legislature and threats from gubernatorial candidates.  So there’s this.

Not sure what that means, or why only athletes will be required to enroll.  But I’m pretty sure it won’t be more than window dressing.

Meanwhile LSU is doubling down on the threat from state’s budget crisis.  Geaux, you Tigahs!

It’s not hyperbole, it’s reality, says LSU President F. King Alexander.

If the mid-year cuts to higher education are deep enough that campuses close early or that summer school is cut, then athletic programs will suffer, he told the Baton Rouge Press Club on Monday afternoon.

Alexander, in his address, said that higher education institutions are trapped in “a fog” of uncertainty where school leaders are anxiously awaiting to find out from legislators how severe the damage will be on their individual campuses.

“I know a lot of people will say, ‘Well, that’s not going to happen,’” he said referring to the prospect of LSU football being hurt. “Well, that will happen if we don’t have summer school. We’ll only have half of our football team eligible.”

The recent theme of using football to garner attention for worst-case scenarios to higher education has been widely criticized by many legislators who have stated that the rhetoric is either unrealistic or that it minimizes the importance of cuts to academics.

“It’s not us saying that,” Alexander said. “It’s the NCAA telling us that — that student athletes have to be eligible to play. And yes, classes and sports go together. They’re student athletes, you can’t have one without the other.”

The man is practically begging Mark Emmert, who, if you’ll recall, once occupied his position, to stick his nose in Louisiana’s business.  I doubt it’ll work, but you have to give him credit for creativity.

47 Comments

Filed under Political Wankery

47 responses to “Doing it for the children, or doing it to the children?

  1. Argondawg

    It’s time for universities to thin down. Tuition prices have been rising at astronomical costs. I live in Athens and have a half a dozen professor friends at UGA and only one of them teaches a class and that is 1 class twice a week. We talk about the athletic faculties ballooning but it will take decades for them to begin to catch up with the academic side. This whole threat that we are going to have to cut athletics is actually pretty funny. These academics think they are more important than the football program. Silly fools. They cancel one game at LSU and the pitch forks and torches come out.

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    • One major reason that tuition has been increasing is because there is less financial support coming from state legislatures.

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      • 3rdandGrantham

        While that certainly is true, the sheer bloat at colleges and universities — particularly large, public ones — is unfathomable. And its not just the professors, and the high salaries and other benefits that they are afforded, but especially the myriad administrators as well. In fact, according to a Forbes report from a few years prior, administrators and their support staff now outnumber professors and their academic staff nationwide on college campuses.

        The salaries paid to these groups, especially numerous admin ones, are extremely handsome, with other benefits that most in the private sector could only dream of (free/mostly free healthcare for life, retirement pensions, etc.). Even better, the overall lifestyle is a fairy tale like existence as well, with 30-40 hour workweeks, summers off, relative low stress and/or tenure, and little fear of losing your job unless you really, really screw up.

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        • Walt

          I think you’re partially correct that some university professors work shorter weeks, and there are older professors that refuse to retire and let the younger more energetic people get their chance. However, I’m not sure those 30-40 hour work weeks are all that common for most professors, at least in math and science departments. A lot of time is spent chasing grant money, and with more and more people chasing fewer and fewer dollars, it can take up a LOT of time. You’re correct that some researchers get tenure and then lessen their work load, but, at least in reputable departments, the tenure process weeds out people who don’t have an investment in their research careers and/or the drive to do the research. And I have some friends that are responsible for securing their own funding for the summers when they aren’t teaching. So they either come up with grant money or they don’t get paid for a few months each year.

          I totally agree with you regarding the bloating of the administrations. Just like all the hospital administrators we have these days that increase our medical costs, this is part of the equation.

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      • Just Chuck (The Other One)

        I remember a conversation some years ago with the person who was chair of the psychology department at UGA. He suggested to me that they had gone from a state supported institution to a state assisted institution to a state affiliated institution. When it comes to state funding, it’s probably even worse now. Tuition at any college or university doesn’t pay the whole cost of education. At a state school, it’s not even close. You absolutely must have funds from other sources to keep the doors open. That’s one reason why you don’t see a lot of full time faculty teaching undergraduates. It’s all about bringing in the research grants and the university takes a big chunk of that money as “overhead”. Alumni contributions are also important. Not so much because it produces a lot of money but it makes an impression on foundations who provide grant money if you can show a significant percentage of your alumns support the institution financially. Think about that and, the next time you write your check to the athletic department, write one to the University’s annual fund.

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      • Hogbody Spradlin

        Less support from state legislatures is only one major reason for tuition increases. Federal dollar flows and insulation from accountability are just as important. Higher education and health care are two industries with the most opaque finances in American society, and the steepest price increases. Such was true back when state legislatures were flush, as much as today.

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  2. Voted this morning. Over the last month I have become very anti-Trump. It is funny that in the beginning he was my second choice. Just when you think times can’t get any crazier, we get a narcissistic, mean spirited, unstable billionaire.

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    • Agreed…I expect a bit more decorum from a President. You know like when our current President uses super cool lingo like “pop off” in press conferences.

      I took the kids with me to vote so that they will at least be able to tell their grandkids what it was like before the Inner Party took over. I have even taken to referring to their ipads as telescreens.

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    • Napoleon BonerFart

      I just can’t bring myself to vote for a narcissistic, mean spirited, unstable billionaire when I could just as easily vote for one of the narcissistic, mean spirited, unstable millionaires.

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  3. old dog

    Correct me if I’m wrong but the Fed has provided more and more funds for student loans,too…politicians (rarely missing a chance to play to the voters) usually throw in red meat for all the parents by emphasizing their kid’s education…

    the perfect storm…students clamoring to go to college and lots of borrowed money to fuel it…no wonder colleges are encouraged to increase tuition at an increasing rate…tenured professors never had it so good…teach a few classes and make big bucks…where do I apply? 😉

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    • no kidding about the overpaid professors. It is the greatest down side to Hope Scholarships and other type of programs. Tuition just goes up much faster than inflation. Well, what about the quality of education? lol

      BTW, Speaking of poor education, I looked up Rep. Hank Johnson’s Guam Island tipping over for a response to a below thread and it is so good I felt compelled to post it again. Hank For President!!!

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      • Napoleon BonerFart

        Hank has a bachelor’s and a J.D. You can’t claim he’s not well educated.

        Now, what we need to do is increase government spending so that we can push even more marginal kids into higher education. They can borrow to pay for it because degrees have so much intrinsic value that it’s a can’t lose economic boon.

        It worked really well in housing, amirite?

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    • 3rdandGrantham

      Mike Rowe from Dirty Jobs and similar type ventures said it best (paraphrasing): we’re loaning money we don’t have, to students will never be able to pay it back, in order for them to get degrees often in fields that serve no real purpose or value in the real world.

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      • I love Mike Rowe. Damn great American!

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      • Derek

        We do a great job identifying problems. Less so at identifying solutions. It seems to me that if we have a large proportion of our populace who are capable of attaining a college degree and the we don’t effectively use that talent it’s a waste. I don’t think denying college to lower and middle income kids because of costs and forcing them lower down the economic food chain is good economically or for political stability. What we need is greater cooperation between the business world and the government so that the skills that are desired in private industry are available to them. We also should strongly consider a much greater investment in our nations infrastructure where those investments will pay off down the road. It seems to me that our polemic politics either lead us back to feudalism or to 1963 Moscow. What we need is maximization of our human resources and less political ideology. We need pragmatism not easily debunked social engineering. I think we’ll get there as soon as these last dying gasps of racial division are behind us. I’m not suggesting that race will ever completely go away, but it’s going to become impossible to win the presidency without appealing across demographic barriers. That will be a heathy thing. After all the south was full of progressives until race made rural southerners suddenly small government conservatives. Once people start actually voting on what is in their economic interests and not on identity politics, some of these things that seem difficult today are going to be easier to manage tomorrow.

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        • 3rdandGrantham

          Some of the most plentiful and most rewarding jobs currently available don’t require a college degree, but rather a year or two of on the job training. Yet for some warped reason, we’ve all been programmed to believe that, in order to have a happy and successful career, you must have a college degree, and that simply is not only false, but it has led to deleterious consequences. Namely, skyrocketing costs of higher education, in which students are saddled with debt that most likely will never be retired in order to obtain rather pointless degrees in History, Communications, Art, Sociology, etc.

          By the way, did you know that the per hour cost of a plumber in SF and L.A. is now more than the average hourly rate to visit with a psychologist? Caterpillar alone has thousands of unfulfilled jobs currently open, including quite a high percentage that pays 100K+. Heck, an electrician friend of mine makes more than I do in my highly desirable/popular field of SaaS.

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          • Normaltown Mike

            +1

            My friends that are plumbers kill it.

            Better than that, a skilled tile-setter can make a fortune if he works in commercial.

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          • Derek

            I understand that there are high paying blue collar jobs. I have a nephew who doesn’t want to go to college but can’t find stable work because he’s starting at the bottom of the food chain. One day he’s making 30 bucks and hour and the next he’s unemployed. One reason that people see college as advantageous is stability AND at least you have an education that they can’t take away from you. There will never be a perfect solution for everybody. Simply making college loans less available is unlikely to be a panacea anymore than making college loans universally available is. Statistically, those with “useless college degrees” are doing better economically than those with only high school degrees. Exceptions can be found: Bill Gates. Overall though if you were advising a person graduating from HS today and advised them to skip college, you can’t be thinking you’re doing them a service.

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            • 3rdandGrantham

              “at least you have an education that they can’t take away from you.”

              That is precisely my point when it comes to overall attitudes and this absurd stigma that you are only officially educated (and welcomed into the social status club) with that college degree. Asinine, IMO. Hell, most people don’t even use their degree for their eventual line of work (myself included), and the vast majority will readily tell you that they learned far more the first few years out of school than they ever did while in college.

              You can become educated all you want in a litany of pointless fields that don’t prepare you for a 21st century marketplace, but the guy who immediately learns on the job right out of high school in a growing field will have a huge leg up on the aforementioned, without tens if not hundreds of thousands of debt to pay off as a result. As for HS grads being unemployed or underemployed, the same thing can be said for millions of college grads too (hence all the jokes about college grads living at home, working as baristas at Starbucks, etc.)

              At least the HS grad has no debt that he/she is beholden to, while the college grad working at Starbucks is barely able to make the monthly payment on their students loans with an outstanding balance of 95K. Oh, but that degree in archaeology sure does look good on their bedroom wall, however.

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              • Derek

                Two things: 1) whether a college education is “used” as you say the fact that you have one shows demonstrably a capacity to complete a task and not a particularly easy one. 2) if you had it to do over again, would you really ship college? Personally having a law degree (at a cost of roughly 200k with interest) is a life time of income security. That being the case, I’m hard pressed to discourage higher education.
                If employers have so much to offer hs grads, show up to hs and start make job offers. There will be plenty of takers. The truth is that for every kid at Starbucks with a BS and loan debt there are 15 hs grads without a gd thing to do.

                I’m all for changing that, but if you think that the answer is ending student loan programs, you’ll just make things worse.

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                • 3rdandGrantham

                  I’m not discouraging people from going to college, and I’m not for ending student loan programs. However, I’m for limited gov. involvement in loans, and they are a huge part of the problem when it comes to skyrocketing education costs. By the way, the total outstanding student loan debt in the U.S. recently surpassed 1 trillion, and its estimated that much of this amount will either never get paid off for some, or will only be fully retired when the loanee is in their late 30’s for a majority.

                  Fact is, there are millions of students who either don’t have a desire to go to college and/or don’t particularly belong there, yet we push them there anyway. This starts at the HS level and in society, where its ingrained in us that we must attend college if we want any semblance of a decent life ahead. Again, fact is, there are more and more jobs available than ever before with the right skills training, yet they go unfulfilled while we fill up colleges with students often going for pointless majors. This is the skills gap I’m referring to…and its why Caterpiller can’t fill six figure jobs numbering in the thousands and why plumbers earn more than psychologists depending on locale. These aren’t special or unique cases but rather ever increasingly the norm.

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                • Derek

                  That begs the question then: who do you make ineligible for government subsidized loans? If you want to eliminate “for profit” colleges from that program, I’m with you, but if a person is accepted to the university of Georgia, but can’t pay, on what basis do you exclude them? As I started this with, it’s easy to identify a problem. Creating fair and equitable solutions is hard.

                  I would also point out that colleges are not only benefitting from government subsidy. They also benefit from the fact that there is not the clear path to financial prosperity without them that you say there is. If it exists, people aren’t aware of them. I’d say that a competing market for 18 and 19 year olds will be filled if it’s made available to them. There are plenty of people who’d prefer entering the workplace, they just don’t know where that good career is. This would be better than just terminating federal school loan subsidies.

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                • Napoleon BonerFart

                  A solution for student loans isn’t hard. It’s actually very easy. Get the government out of the student loan business. Let banks underwrite loans and take on the risk of default.

                  If a high school valedictorian wants to go to college to become an architect, write the loan. If a straight C student wants to earn a degree in Native American rain dancing, he can pay for it himself. Before long, colleges would be full of students with great economic potential and the kids who are just using the experience as an excuse to avoid doing anything for 6-7 years after high school can spend their time in more productive pursuits.

                  It’s the people who claim that college is a necessary part of the American Dream that are part of the problem. It’s mindless and stupid. The reason 18 year-olds aren’t pursuing well paying vocations available to them outside of college is because everyone in their lives are just mindlessly repeating a bumper sticker slogan that they have to go to college OR ELSE!!

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                • doofusdawg

                  Making the interest on student loans tax deductible would be a good start. It’s crazy that if you make more than $80k per year you get no deduction. There needs to be a way to keep borrowers in the system or we will just have another housing like crisis… the defaulters will be forgiven and the folks paying their bills get screwed.

                  It’s crazy that if you own a $50 million apartment complex you can depreciate the buildings and deduct the mortgage interest to shelter over $5 million in income… with no cap. Or if you buy a private jet you can take a 50% bonus depreciation in year one… effectively making the cost of a $50 million jet $25 million. I’m not suggesting eliminating these deductions. But if you go to law school or medical school and end up with $250 k in student loans you can’t deduct $15k in interest annually while you pay back the debt. An education is not supposed to be depreciable but I have owned enough real estate to know that prices never go down… unless there is a serious recession… which is coming.

                  The whole system is ass backwards.

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                • 3rdandGrantham

                  If someone is accepted into UGA, they almost certainly (99.9%) have a yearn to attend college and are fully prepared, as UGA is a top 20 public institution. I’m referring to those who end up attending lesser schools, large, degree pumping universities like Univ. of Phoenix, etc. I do think student loans should be privatized to some degree, as only when gov. got massively involved did the overall cost shoot to the moon. This certainly isn’t coincidental.

                  Ironically enough, better education is needed at the HS and societal level, in effort to combat this absurd notion that you must attend colleges, otherwise you’ll be cleaning tables at Taco Mac or digging ditches for the remainder of your life. Again, there are 2 mil+ unfulfilled jobs out there that are full time, well paying and offer advancement, yet we have nobody to fill them as they lack the basic skills and/or don’t want to take a job/career that has a warped stigma against it…and that’s a shame. This includes the 150k heavy machinery operator/technician jobs from caterpillar, the 100k plumber job, the aircraft engine repair tech, and, yes, the 200k+ electrician career my aforementioned friend has as his line of work.

                  There also isn’t a clear path to financial prosperity with a college degree, other than an assurance that you’ll be saddled with mounting debt for years if not decades to come. That, IMO, is the most scary proposition of all.

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                • Derek

                  Can I stop paying taxes for FDIC too? I’m not worried about your deposits. If abc bank loses your life savings tough! You should have found a mattress. This idea that the market fixes everything is dumb. I’m sure the invisible hand of the market would keep planes from flying into each other without the faa. We could have safe drugs without the fda. We could have safe food without government oversight. If you think a bank is loaning money to an 18 year old kid to go to college you’re just painfully stupid. Government is a necessary problem.

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                • Napoleon BonerFart

                  You really think that “too big to fail” is a viable economic strategy? Ha!

                  I know that there were 152 government agencies in place to stop the housing bubble from popping. If only there were 153, we would have been golden, right?

                  I know this is a radical position to take. But the solution to government failure is not more government. Even if the bumper sticker slogan is really pithy.

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                • Napoleon BonerFart

                  1) If you believe that obtaining a college degree in women’s studies or sociology is difficult, you should probably update your education in English. Personally, I would view a graduate with such a degree more negatively than a kid who skipped college altogether. Bragging about a sociology degree would be like putting the fact that you regularly compete in hotdog eating contests. It’s not the kind of judgment employers really want to see.

                  2) If I had a degree in sociology, which qualified me to be a waiter, I would definitely skip college and avoid the debt. One can wait tables or sell cars just fine without a degree.

                  Also, if you think that a degree gives you lifetime income security, you must have missed a little thing called the Great Recession. As of 2014, the median starting salary for a lawyer was $62k. And those kids had >$150k in debt. That’s not exactly a can’t lose career choice.

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        • Normaltown Mike

          “What we need is greater cooperation between the business world and the government so that the skills that are desired in private industry are available to them”

          The only problem is that many within the Ivory Tower find the business world and the concept of educating students for a career as wholly loathsome. They derisively call business or engineering education “pre-professional education” which is (in their mind) akin to trade school.

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          • Derek

            And they are right. The university of Georgia is not a trade school. There are values to a broad based liberal arts education not the least of which is the promotion of western civilization, which while having an “uneven” history, has been the best hope for collective human freedom and prosperity. That’s said, we don’t need one size fits all. The people in the ivory tower aren’t the problem any way. They are filling thier pockets because no one is challenging thier model effectively. What we need is to draw a straight line from business interests to high schools to trade schools to well paying jobs for those who are looking for that path. There are many. They just don’t see the tangible results that would encourage more to take that path. It’s just a greater crap shoot in this day and age to go a non-college route. It’s in your interest to go to college today than not to. That’s what needs to change.

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            • Napoleon BonerFart

              So, you believe that the market will present a viable path for jobs. But you don’t believe that government pumping hundreds of billions of dollars into that market will skew the results? Dude!

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              • Derek

                So you’re illiterate? Dude! Reading is fundamental, dude.

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                • Napoleon BonerFart

                  I guess we need more government programs to tech Derek basic economics.

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                • Derek

                  There certainly is no correlation between public schooling, compulsory attendance and literacy rates is there? While you’re living proof of the exception to the rule, the availability of public education has a cause and effect relationship to both literacy and common sense significant enough such that it’s obvious failure in your circumstance does not justify it’s abandonment in favor of waiting for market forces to provide that service to every child in America.

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                • Napoleon BonerFart

                  Your unshakable faith in your benevolent overlords in government is heartwarming. I know they tend to screw up everything they touch. But they just care so danged much that we owe it to them to give them unlimited money and power to try to fix their mistakes and give us all that we deserve. And anybody that equates correlation with causation like you do deserves a hell of a lot. Bless your heart.

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      • Rp

        Yeah, but we feel good about “educating people” so it’s totally worth it.

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  4. Go Dawgs!

    Seems to me like Mizzou’s athletes already understand social responsibility pretty well. There is certainly room for debate regarding whether the Missouri president needed to go because of his response or lack thereof to the perception of racial disharmony on the Mizzou campus. However, the players believed in something strongly enough to threaten a boycott of a football game(s) and contrary to what the members of the Missouri state legislature’s GOP delegation seem to believe they did not take that action without fear of consequences. For one thing, any NFL prospects on the team had to know that it could have an impact on how NFL teams perceive them. For another, I’m certain that scholarship athletes were aware that they could potentially lose their scholarships if they skipped the games. They felt they had a responsibility to something bigger, and then they took action.

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  5. DawgPhan

    It seems like a lot of the athletes at Mizzou got some first hand experience with social responsibility last fall. I really wonder what the administrations social responsibility course will include.

    It seems like a classic trap. Because likely whatever they put in the course materials will appear tone deaf and offensive. The course materials will get published on social media and everyone will be right back in attack mode.

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    • Rp

      Yep, they are screwed. If the class even hints at the idea that the protests last year may have been less than responsible and justified it will begin anew. I would not risk presenting an alternative viewpoint to these students.

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    • Go Dawgs!

      Well said! haha

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  6. Bulldog Joe

    I can “gawr-on-tee” ya, sports recreation management, kinesiology, and exercise studies classes will NOT be removed from LSU’s summer curriculum.

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    • Debby Balcer

      Kinesiology is no basket weaving course. A lot of people who go on to get their PhD in PT have an undergraduate degree in kinesiology.

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  7. doofusdawg

    Pretty soon most all government institutions including public universities will go the way of the big three auto makers… their biggest liability will be the legacy costs of the teachers, administrators, etc. It’s already happening in many counties and municipalities across the country… not to mention states.

    As long as the federal government keeps dishing out money to the universities by way of the student loan recipients… tuition, salaries and costs will continue to rise.

    As far as the issues at Mizzou and LSU you have an attempt to gift a little bit of accountability back to the taxpayers in the former and as previously stated a threat to stop picking up the trash in the latter.

    The common theme with all of the above is that eventually the well will dry up… and those in charge and responsible will be long gone and nervously secure in their retirement. And corporate America is just as guilty. I hope Trump likes college football.

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  8. DawgPhan

    Not all college degrees are equal. They shouldnt cost the same. Classes shouldnt cost the same. Without some market forces to drive the prices down on individual classes and forces schools to compete at that level. Especially within a system like Georgia’s where classes transfer pretty easily between schools in the university system.

    My MIS degree should have cost me more than another person’s Family and Consumer Science degree because it is more valuable. In effect, south campus has been subsidizing north campus for all these years.

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    • Silver Creek Doug

      With all due respect, your MIS degree certainly didn’t subsidize my Marketing degree from Terry or my friends’ JDs from the Law School on North Campus.

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