Date: Thu Oct 1 07:47:54 2009

Author: Richard Berg

Subject: Re: UM Intercollegiate Athletics update


This is an update to the recent string regarding the issue of whether
intercollegiate athletic programs actually, as a general rule, contribute
money to the University budget. It was occasioned by an article in the
Washington Post Sports section on Wednesday, September 30, under the
headline "Friedgen's Future at Maryland Is Unclear."

The University of Maryland football team is now 1-4, the worst start for
Coach Friedgen in his nine years. Naturally, they are considering
replacing him at the earliest possible time; lamentably, he still has two
years remaining on his contract at over $2,000,000 per year (Yes, that's
$4.5 million for his two remaining years.). The good news is his
offensive coordinator, James Franklin, is scheduled to take over the head
coach job when Coach Friedgen leaves. The bad news is that the offense
has been so bad that they are beginning to have doubts about giving him
the head coach job, and there is another issue: the potential new coach
declined an NFL job because Maryland guaranteed to pay him $1,000,000 if
he does NOT become head coach when the current coach leaves. So the
University of Maryland will need to pay off over $5.5 million in order to
get rid of two current football coaches and hire new ones that they hope
will actually win.

Another serious issue is that they just finished major construction on the
stadium that includes (mostly) 64 luxury suites, but have not been able to
obtain commitments for 23 of them (over one-third). And the people who
just come and pay for admission to the games are apparently staying away,
leading to a significant reduction in expected revenue. The team is in
trouble, losing BIG to California and to Rutgers, as well as a one point
loss to Middle Tennessee (say what?) and a three point overtime win over
James Madison, a small college in Virginia.

It is hard for me to understand how the University can get itself into
this type of mess, and particularly embarrassing and problematic for the
University in the current recession. The University is furloughing
employees for up to two weeks, after furloughs of up to one week last
spring, and is laying off employees with over ten years of seniority.

Is this happening at every University, or is the administration of the
University of Maryland just dumber than most?

Dr. Richard E. Berg, Professor of the Practice
Physics Lecture-Demonstration Facility
U.S. mail address:
Department of Physics
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742-4111
Phone: (301) 405-5994
FAX: (301) 314-9525