Swickard: Being smart in college football programs

© 2016 Michael Swickard, Ph.D.  “I find that the three major administrative problems on a campus are sex for the students, athletics for the alumni and parking for the faculty.” Clark Kerr, 1958
          There is a gloom over some New Mexico State University Aggies due to their football team falling on hard times these last fifty years. If the administrators wanted to get a good look at whom it was than precipitated the crisis, they only need to find a mirror.
            The NMSU Aggie motto might even be to blame: nobody tells an Aggie what to do. That’s the Aggies I have known since I started watching Aggie Football during coach Warren Woodson’s last season in 1967. He found success while none of the following coaches even came close.
            Woodson had a great quote: “The perfect record is seven and four because the fans are happy with the winning season, the Alumni are sullen but not mutinous and the NCAA won’t come and look at your program.”
            In the last thirty years of writing columns the number one topic has been Aggie Football. More than anything else I have protested one policy: selling loses to big programs for cash.
            NMSU has been harvesting cash with loses for most of forty years and each year their fortunes get worse because all football programs are judged by their win/loss record. I have made no progress with the leaders of the university. One said to me, “We know what we are doing!”
            My reply was that they were ignoring research and available data. This same person said that I just did not understand university administrative issues. Friends, I have a Ph.D. in educational administration from NMSU and pointed this out to that administrator. To no avail, they kept selling losses and the program gets weaker and weaker with their abysmal win/loss record.
            Finally, NMSU was thrown out of the good football league that included some great teams. Our college was dragging the rest of the league down because we sold losses. Currently NMSU finds that there is not a league that wants NMSU because NMSU sells losses but NMSU next year is going to continue selling losses.
            Fine, but don’t look surprised when your Football Program ends. That is the fate of Football Programs that continually sell losses.
            From the Clark Kerr quote to start the column, parking is a big problem at colleges. I asked a professor at NMSU about the parking some thirty years ago. He said, “It’s going to get a lot worse before it gets better.” So I immediately asked, “Do you think it will get better?” He shook his head, “No.”
            Many colleges had declining enrollments and act surprised. Why should less students coming be a surprise? College doesn’t hold the magic key of prosperity like was once the case. Now to even get a job students have to be savvy enough to select an employable major.
            The colleges won’t help because their administrative fiduciary relationship is with the professors so they will try to keep everyone employed rather than pare off majors where few jobs are available. With the football program and the majors at the university, NMSU is a contrast in roles.
            Does NMSU have the best interests of the students in mind or are those administrators feathering their nests? Why sell losses when it only weakens the program. Why keep majors where there are few if any jobs? Those questions need to be answered.
            Remember that the motto of NMSU is: nobody tells an Aggie what to do. So I doubt that there will be any changes. In fact, each time I point out the lunacy of selling losses the leaders double-down on their stupidity and amaze me even more with bad leadership.
            Ultimately, it is easy to see that these failures are my fault. I always buy season tickets to the Football Program and I went to NMSU for my Ph.D. So I guess I have no complaints. While I talk bad about the management they know I still support their decisions with my money.
            The customer is not always right but the customer always is the one with the money. This customer would like NMSU to be smarter.



Mary Spence said...

So tragic and so sad.

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