Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Football: Time for waiting is over

The Observer's editorial board on Tuesday offered an unsigned editorial in which it questioned the timing and expense of UNC Charlotte adding a Division I football program.

Part of its reasoning is that expenses incurred to operate such a program would somehow detract from unmet funding needs the university requires to pay for classroom and office space and to continue to develop its doctoral programs.

First, let me say as a 1991 Charlotte graduate, I agree the university does not get its fair share of funding relative to its size in the state university system, its impact on the Charlotte community or the quality of graduates it produces.

However, I believe the editorial position mistakenly equates methods of funding of athletic and academic programs. They could not be more different.

If Charlotte is not receiving proper funding for its academics and not getting its fair share in comparison to other state universities, that is an issue for state government and the university's board of trustees. It is not a burden to be placed on potential contributors for an expansion of an athletic department. Nor should they be made to feel guilty for not doing so.

Corporate sponsorships that would be solicited for support of athletic facilities or their expansion are not monies that could instead but simply shifted over to the department of mechanical engineering, for instance. To make it appear that could be the case is misleading. This is not a question of if you give to one, you must take from the other.

A university is in many respects a microcosm of our country, a "city within a city" if you will. All aspects of the university must be attractive to potential students in order for the university to establish the best, brightest and most diverse collection of students.

To be fair, all athletics programs at all state universities could be shut down and the total emphasis of all solicitation of donations be put toward academics. But does anyone really believe the same amount of money would instantly transfer? Do we honestly expect this same "academics-first" philosophy will next be asked of schools in Chapel Hill, Raleigh or Greensboro?

A 10-member committee, handpicked by Charlotte's chancellor, came back with a unanimous recommendation that the school should add Division I football, and for a multitude of reasons.

One that was not emphasized was an increased feeling of attachment by students and graduates that could produce increased contributions to the school - in other words, a new revenue stream. Is that not what the end result should be?

For too long, Charlotte has stood back and waited -- waited for funding, waited for its fair recognition, waited to expand its athletics programs and waited to take the next step in expanding the profile and the reach of a strong university.

The time for waiting is over. The school should not be left on the sidelines again while the rest of the country is still playing the game.

What do you think? Post your opinion in the comments section below.

28 comments:

metroniner said...

That is the most accurate description of academics vs athletics I've seen. Well said Jim. Go Niner football!

Anonymous said...

I agree 100%. You could have not said it any better. Charlotte needs football, and needs it now. Go NINERS.

Anonymous said...

Jim, Great points. Seems to me that the funding issue from the UNC trustees would make for a great investigative piece for the Observer.

Kevin H said...

Thanks for signing your name Jim, unlike the unsigned editorial.

I'm tired of waiting and standing on the sidelines. I'm tired of status quo.

Alumni like myself, and students will not take "NO" for an answer. The time for football is NOW. Actually it probably was 10-15 years ago, but we need it ASAP.

X-49er said...

Get'em Jim. Nice to have somebody from the O on our side. Go Niners!! Are you ready for some Niner football?

Anonymous said...

We are already thought of as a suitcase college and we provide the area with so much economic punch. Now, we are looked at -- with out 4 day class schedule -- as a soon to be 25,000 student PhD COMMUNITY COLLEGE! Makes me sick. Make a difference. Add football and keep our students and alumni engaged!

Jim Duncan said...

Sad that the editorial staff for write something so uniformed and pattenly false. If worse is not having the guts to put their name to it. You might think your "Education over Athletics" stance will do well pandering to your readers, luckily most of your readers are smart enough to see through it and fortunetely you have writers like Jim Utter onm your staff who actually know what the hell they are talking about.

Anonymous said...

If Bonnie Cone had accepted what the "power that be" said, there would be no public university in Charlotte! We've always have to fight for every scrap we receive and the issue of football is no different. We built the SAC without one dime of state money unlike most other campuses. The city of Charlotte is short changed enough (ie. road funding, courts, UNC Charlotte) without members of our own community joining in. Thanks for nothing, Observer!

Anonymous said...

More proof that the entire editorial board of the Observer went to Chapel Hill.

Kyle Thompson said...

Thank you Jim. Could not have said it better myself.

Anonymous said...

This man should be the official voice of Charlotte football! Thank you Jim.

89 Niner Grad said...

As a 89 UNCC grad now in NJ I am a proud graduate and am a proponent of academics of our uninversity despite being so far away. I say our because it is all inclusive and athletics is part of the all inclusive college experience isn't it? I am also a football fan and although I will see very few games, the university deserves a team...and now...not years from now. The independent study has come back with its recommendation. If now is not the right time, the argument holds that all college sports should be disbanded in the UNC system...I don't think the blue folks will like that do you Mr. Observer Anonymous Editorial Writer?

Chevee said...

Jim,
Great response. I wouldn't want my name on something as unsupported or invalid as that if I had written it either. The time is NOW for football. The writer of the editorial brings up one good point; funding is an issue at Charlotte. Academic funding is a responsibility of the state.

-Josh B
Go Niners!

Shane Altecz said...

That unsigned editor has to get one thing through his thick head...

NCAA REGULATIONS PROHIBIT USING ANY ACADEMIC MONEY. ALL THE MONEY HAS TO BE GENERATED SEPERATE OF ACADEMICS.


I mean seriously... I thought the paper wasnt biased. If that editorial wasnt biased, then whoever wrote it is ignorant and shouldnt be writing anyways.

and I agree with the other posters, there is no way students and alumni and almost 75% of the staff is going to sit by and let the Chancellor screw this one up.

jge said...

Now that someone brought Bonnie Cone's name up, I want to clarify something. While attending UNCC, I had a work-study job just down the hall from her office and saw her almost every day. I asked her about the rumors that she had vowed to abandon UNCC if we ever got a football team. Hogwash, she said. She only worried about misplaced priorities - that the energy spent establishing a football team might be put toward other fundraising efforts to bridge the asinine gap between the government funding we SHOULD get vs. what we do get (yes, she knew NCAA rules meant academic & athletic monies must be separate; she was speaking of the time & effort on starting football vs. using that time & effort for general fundraising efforts). And no, she would never divorce herself from UNCC; how could she after totally devoting 50 years of her life to the place?

As for the editorial - par for the course. Would you expect anything else from the Charlotte Tar Heel - er, uh, I mean, Observer?

My only reservation on football is, can we raise enough capital to pay for top-notch facilities and coaches, not just enough to go 6-5 every year - or worse, barely good enough to get into the Southern Conference? As long as we can do it right and build a great team, let's get this show on the road!

Wraunch said...

The Trustees need to pay attention to the study they paid for. We need football. That is the only way anyone in the south is going to take us seriously as a university. I don't care that UNCG, UNCP, UNCW, and UNCA don't play football. That has nothing to do with us. Honestly our academics are ahead of those "sister" schools in many areas as are our other athletic programs. Let's get this thing going UNCC!!!! I got your first 2 season tickets! Hell I'll be willing to pay for the helmets for the offensive line if money is such an issue. Who's willing to pay for the pads? Wachovia, BofA, Lowe's??? Who wants to cover it so these so called editorial authors can stop crying poor mouth???

Anonymous said...

And finally, the handpicked committee unanimously voted yes for UNCC Football. And yes, the UNC-CH Journalism Newsletter er, Charlotte Observer seems to have a dog in the fight, un-promoting UNCC Football. Kind of a strange position, but those sob's have never supported UNCC athletics anyway.

DarenJ said...

Congrats Jim. You were clear and concise, Bravo. I agree with all you wrote. I would, however, like to disagree with the Observer's policy concerning editorials. Most newspapers will not print an unsigned letter or editorial. This opens the door to unethical practices. Unsigned opinions should stay in blogs like this, where readers expect some mischief. However, an editorial should send a message of reputation to the reader. As long at the Observer chooses unsigned editorials, us readers will always be highly suspicious in our "take" on the opinions.

An example of mischief...I write an argument for the side that I oppose. During this argument, I use clearly false logic and turn everyone against this side's argument based on false conclusions or false information. In an editorial, someone's reputation should be at stake.

Ninerballin said...

I have no idea why that editorial was even published! To sell more papers? Mabye.

When I was reading that article it reminded me of something I would have read in a tabloid. Almost all of it was untrue.

Now, as Jim stated, it is true that the academic side of the university is already underfunded by idiots in Raleigh, while they just shove $$$ into UNC-CH and UNC-R. Another fact is that a football program won't hurt academics at this university one bit!

If this writer (who doesn't have the balls to put their name on the piece) had any sense at all, he or she would know that academically respected IVY League schools have sports programs, including football. Of course, I don't see where it is hurting them academically.

Thanks Jim, as always, for making a valid and fact filled response to such an untrue and blatant rant!

Stanton Adams said...

Thankyou Jim, you are doing a great service by countering lies with facts and hysterics with calm reason. I hope Mike Persinger appreciates your talents as much as Niner fans.

As for the editorial, well I guess those cowards who put this up learned from the last time someone on here posted an assine anti-football op-ed. We are a small band of supporters compared to most of your editorial staffs' "FBS football program having, Walmart powder blue T-shirt wearing" Alma Mater, but we are dedicated.

Something cowardly about not putting your name on something this contentious, but as poorly formulated and ill thought out as it was, it would not do for the Chapel Hill Journalism School to be recognized as putting out "journalists" such as this person.

Football will happen, its the right thing and the smart thing for the university to do. Its an insurance policy for ALL atheltics and will solidify the university's public image, reputation and renown.

Academic responsibility rests on a state government full of Chapel Hill graduates who manipulate finances to an unfair and dishonest advantage for their Alma Mater at the expense of schools like Charlotte. Why does the Observer editorial staff waste its time with useless and unfounded accusations against a positive improvement for Charlotte when it should be hitting the Legislature and Board of Governors harder on the funding issue? Look at the degrees on their office walls, you'll find the answer.

zerogeneticsdc1 said...

Jim,
I greatly appreciate not only the great coverage you bring the niners, but also for backing up the program 100%. Thanks a ton for all you do.


-Ben

metro49er said...

Mary Schulken wrote the garbage in the Observer today. Has she ever publicly lobbied for ECU (her alma mater) to drop its football program? Come on Mary...be consistent. Would ECU be half the success it is w/o football and the environment it produces. The only time I ever hear ECU in the news is about football.

Anonymous said...

Jim great work. I look forward to your future year round coverage of 49er Athletics including recruiting roundups of our incoming running backs, defensive lineman and quarterbacks. Your blog should be published in the O. Thank you for being a voice of truth, common sense and for the NINERS. Your writing is brilliant. Where did you say you went to college again?

Anonymous said...

For everyone who mentioned Chapel Hill in their response, please stop. I don't care what is going on in Chapel Hill or where these journalists went to school. All I care about is the Charlotte 49ers and what is best for us. I know you have good intentions, but all this Chapel Hill talk sounds foolish.

This really should be a no brainer. The committee we paid unanimously voted to add football, the students agreed to an increase in student fees to help support football. Let's start the fundraising so we can get a team on the field before we get passed by again.

Raleigh, NC said...

Sad that the Observer "OP-ED" takes something potentially good and does their best to put a negative spin on it. Why have they (you) been silent for so long as UNC Charlotte has received a disproportionate share of legislative dollars, especially when tasked to grow faster than any other state university to meet the increasing number of high school graduates over the coming years. Wake up op-ed staff and allow Charlotte's university to become more than the "commuter school" you perceive.
How long has it been since you have made the 20 minute drive north from your "uptown" location to see what has transformed. What you printed it a sad commentary of your ignorance of the transformation of Charlotte's University. Even more the reason to add football.

Jon said...

Chicago resident and Niner alumni... I always get asked during football season who we are playing... I would love to tell them we are busy upsetting a Big 10 team like ASU did... we have a long way to go, but I would gladly give a little to the school to get some Football!!!!

jp49er said...

Time to get off the sideline and get in the game. Well said Jim Utter...Kudos...

ATL said...

The city of Charlotte deserves college football. It's been too long.