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September 17, 2009

Imagine

After a seemingly short battle with cancer, NCAA president Myles Brand passed away yesterday.  We issue our condolences to the Brand family.  Brand made his chops as the president of Indiana University by firing Bobby Knight.  He had little to no sports experience when he arrived at the NCAA headquarters.  At the NCAA he will be remembered for emphasizing academics by instituting higher eligibility hurdles for incoming athletes and the APR requirements on athletic departments.
So this got me thinking about the next head of the NCAA and I have a meek suggestion:

Such an appointment would accomplish two things.  First and foremost, it would get him out of Athens, a dream of many fans (especially Dawgnoxious).  Second, it would force him to deal with blow hard university presidents hell bent on their own view of every issue.  He would essentially have to win over people like himself.  Who better to do it? 

Quinton

38 comments:

William said...

The problem is we then go from bad (Adams), to worse (Perdue). Sonny has admitted interest in being appointed to Adams position. If Sonny's proven anything, it's a stunning ability to mismanage state finances with a complete disregard for anything relatively intelligent. As much as I dislike Adams, inviting in Sonny to follow him would be a few steps down the ladder.

rbubp said...

He's more interested in sports than a academics anyway, so yeah, get rid of him and get someone who will understand that academics are the reason the place exists.

rbubp said...

There is now way that Sonny Perdue will ever get the UGA presidency. EVER.

For one, it's not a political position--you can't get voted or appointed in, you get hired from a pool of applicants, all of whom meet pre-determined criteria such a previous university experience in both administrative AND academic realms.

Finally, rightly or wrongly, universities have this neat little caveat about actually having a demonstrated interest in, appreciation of, and familiarity with higher education, as demonstrated through: 1. experience, and 2. advanced degrees.

Sonny is an embarrassment to the university if he is serious about this. He'll be laughed off the stage. he'd have as good of chance as being the football coach.

godawg said...

I likey.

MikeInValdosta said...

Adams has my vote! for any opening

dawgnotdog said...

From those who know Mikey and are in his inner circle, this is a job he covets. He has campigned for it at NCAA conventions.

There is no question he would leave UGA for this position.

Anonymous said...

I offer to help Adams pack.

Anonymous said...

A+ Quinton, A+.

Pete said...

What are the chances, though?

Cousin Pat from Georgia said...

If it is something he wants badly enough, he'll go for it. I can think of nothing better than Adams arguing with people like himself for the rest of his days.

HiAltDawg said...

If we find out he's interviewing for the job, can we hide the University of Georgia before he gets back?

p.s. florida sucks

Anonymous said...

Quinton --- you are right on with this one.

http://www.kansascity.com/385/story/1450225-p2.html

However, fellas be careful what you wish for. We could always end up with someone worse than Adams.

RedCrake said...

Sort of Sonny...I can think of no one worse.

If this came to pass can we please find someone who isn't an Ohio State alum? Say what you want about the merits of the Big 10 but I haven't been impressed with the OSU grads I've observed in leadership positions.

RedCrake said...

*short*

Obviously...God I need the weekend to get here.

BillT said...

Not to get too many hopes up, but he's expected to be on the short list:

http://sports.yahoo.com/top/news?slug=ap-whatnow&prov=ap&type=lgns

Sam said...

RedCake, what other OSU grads in leadershp positions are you referencing?

Anonymous said...

I comedian Richard Lewis was at one time the head of NASA.

Got booted out after the Hubble telescope and our ill fated mission to Venus. He is an OSU grad.

UGAfanINclemson said...

I wouldn't elect Sonny to guard the dump my neighbor's dog just left on the street - and to be honest I do not really even care for that dump all that much...

So I cleaned out my car today and found a Pringle under my seat that had actually started to mold - which means that it was there for a while because it takes a while for that to happen.

The mold has more appeal to be the head man than Sonny, and for that matter so does the carpet, and the Pringle itself.

UGAfanINclemson said...

P.S. HiAltDawg: Florida does suck

RedCrake said...

Sam-

Three principals...only 1 I worked for and 1 school superintendent. All 4 were condescending douches and constantly referred to themselves as graduates of THE Ohio State University.
They did not have the confidence of their subordinates and neither has Adams.

Not that Ohio State doesn't have many fine programs worthy of envy, but there does seem to be a pomposity that goes with many of their graduates...particularly when it comes to Southerners and our "uneducated" ways.

William said...

The problem is, Adams and Perdue are friends, and Adams puts the people in place who will choose his successor. If Adams so wishes, he can make it an almost certainty that Perdue gets picked.

I'm not looking forwards to that possibility.

Anonymous said...

Catch 22: The Board of Regents picks the Prez and the Governor appoints the Board of Regents. It would certainly be bizzarre if Sonny tried. I doubt Sonny has anything beyond an undergrad degree. To be Prez at a state research university, expectations are for a phd (hell you can't be superintendent of schools in Kinchafoonee Co. without a phd).

I was recently reflecting on the # of times Adams has appeared on ESPN or been mentioned in an ESPN story. The following came to mind:
(1) every year at WLOCP he asks networks to not call it that
(2) BCS
(3) Harrick fiasco

Its kind of ridiculous. Maybe I've missed some other Presidents that appear, but none come to mind (Donna Shalala a few times?). This guy loves the camera more than John McCain.

RedCrake said...

Sonny actually has a doctorate from UGA...albeit in Vetrinary Medicine.

Not that this qualifies him to be President at UGA but its kind of funny that the expectations/qualifications of a potential University President are greater than those for the high├ęst office in the state.

William said...

Really, is it? I'd rather someone who understands academia be in charge of the university than someone who doesn't. However, it would be equally as nice if we asked people who ran for state office to have high degrees as well. Because it never hurts to have at least nominally intelligent people in positions of importance.

RedCrake said...

Precisely...

I'm guessing the President at the University of Minnesota's primary qualification wasn't professional wrestler and character actor in Schwarzenegger movies.

MikeInValdosta said...

William, et all,

An advanced degree should be required, but real world experience running a successful enterprise in a competitive environment is also a worthy resume entry.

Not defending Sonny and don't want him running the University. Just think we need to broaden the search beyond left wing radicals that have never survived a competitive pursuit beyond the hallowed grounds of academia or government.

rbubp said...

RedCrake, that's the way it works when comparing elected office with a hired position.

I wasn't aware Sonny had a doctorate, but his lack of academic experience would eliminate him regardless. It's not the same as running the state; academia has a protocol that is pretty unique.

Additionally, the individual has to be respected and accepted. Adams barely was, and he has the qualifications, mostly. There's a decorum there that asserts that the candidate need to have come from a prestigious position at a more prestigious institution, usually, which was the first issue in Adams' hire-- he was seen as being hired for qualifications other than his achievements at the most prestigious institutions. He was a money guy at a junk school. Is anyone surprised at his crass manner? They shouldn't have been.

At least he had the balls to get rid of that fraud Dooley, though.

rbubp said...

"Just think we need to broaden the search beyond left wing radicals that have never survived a competitive pursuit beyond the hallowed grounds of academia or government."

I'm concerned by the suggestion that academia isn't itself competitive, Mike. First of all, getting into a doctoral program at all is a significant feat. Only the best of the best even get in. Have you taken a look at the GRE? It's damn difficult. And you have to have had great grades and great LORs in undergrad or your master's program in addition to an excellent GRE score. And even then if you went to a shite school you won't get in anywhere no matter what your test scores and grades.

Secondly, getting a job at all is damn hard. Everyone who applies is thoroughly qualified, and the interview process takes at least a day for each candidate.A WHOLE DAY interview. If you are in a field that has no private enterprise, like, say, History or Philosophy, you will be up against 200+ candidates who have the same degree and qualifications as yourself.

Then, once you get a job, you have to kick arse in teaching and research or you won't get tenure. In fact, at the Ivy schools, they take your file at tenure time and offer your position to anyone else in your field in the entire world. So, if you're in law, for example, and Bill Clinton put his name in the ring for your position...you get the picture. And yeah, this kind of stuff does happen. This is how Alan Dershowitz and Robert Reich got their university jobs.

The idea that academics don't have to compete and achieve -- rise to the very top of their profession-- is not correct. In addition to what i have mentioned, there is competition to get your research done--competing for limited money for grants, getting recognized and reviewed in your field, etc.

I get where the "ivory tower" stereotype and where it comes from, but it's not true. Academia is an immensely competitive arena, and the more prestigious the university, the more competitive it is.

RedCrake said...

rbubp-

Agreed. Although your first point leads to a minor quibble with the second...while being a member of academia in and of itself is honorable and an indication of ability and knowledge, I tend to be skeptical of those whose only experience has been in academia. My feeling is that one should be well rounded in education, background, and experience.

From what I can tell, Adams entire scope of experience has been in academia, communications related to academia, and communications related to politics. He is a professional PR guy whether for the University, others, or himself.

While that certainly qualified him for certain parts of the Presidency, it also made it difficult for him to relate to those outside those spheres...which has caused considerable tension.

Nonetheless, none of this does anything to refute that Perdue would make an terrible President.

RedCrake said...

Apologies rbubp. The first comment I referenced was actually made by Mike. Your arguments were completely consistent with one another.

MikeInValdosta said...

rbubp,

I will ride this fence on this. As I stated, I believe an advanced degree should be required. Do I have one? No.

My point was not to lower the qualifications, but to stiffen them.

Adams answer to everything is to raise tuition. Cutting cost or eliminating waste is not an area of emphasis. I am speaking in generalities for I am not close enough to the situation to be specific.

In my opinion, academia in general, is not value oriented. Adams has done great things for the university, there is no taking that away from him. However, I do not believe, though I cannot back it up with facts, that the school's academic performance has has grown in equal relation to the investment the state, the students, and the contributors have made.

So please take my use of the word competitiveness in the context of return on investment. While I may not have the qualifications, I could certainly say "give me more money" and I will fix it. I believe all public institutions should be tightening their collective belts.

Again, I am not for Perdue, but I do not think we need another Adams at this point in our financial cycle.

rbubp said...

Your points are fair and lucid, Mike, except for two things about belt-tightening:

--wish I had the link to this study, but the percentage of public instutional budgets coming from the state is the lowest it has ever been in this country.

--lessening your resources doesn't pay. Ironically, the best students go to the most competitive schools that cost the most. The universities that are in the most financial trouble are the ones who do not offer the resources students want (a great football team, phat dorms and rec centers) or the perceived academic quality. plus, Clemson did a study iwth an experiment a few years ago--the study told them that enrollment would INCREASE if they raised their tuition. They did, and it did.

--There is no saving. What you don't spend gets cut (not that there are $300 hammers floating around).

So there's a backward equation when it comes to value, I'm afraid, though certainly universities could do a lot better with being value-oriented if it would not mean losing funding and students.

Anonymous said...

Sonny's DVM would qualify him in the minds of many (not to mention that he "played" for Coach Dooley). There's a certain culture in this state which would find those two traits appealing in a leader for UGA. Afterall, this is a state where it's perfectly acceptable to have a liquor distributor who lacks even an undergraduate degree on the Board of Regents.

There are plenty of examples of political figures going on to presidencies: Robert Gates (a PhD but with an abbreviated academic career) went from government to president of Texas A&M. It's no coincidence he worked for GHWBush and the Bush library is in College Station. Georgia Gwinnett has a former general running the show. Lamar Alexander went from a governorship to president of UTn. All he has is a JD. I don't think it's a stretch that a DVM could do it.

Add to that UGA has long been a source of political appointments. Take a look at the resumes of a lot of admin at UGA right now. A great many of them have connections to Zell Miller. It's pretty natural for the political establishment to look at the university and see a nice place to retire. Better yet, go check out Dr. Dyer's history of UGA. This type of patronage has a long history.

The notion that a president must come from academia is dated, even if preferable. A president's job isn't to teach or even, at this point, oversee teaching or research. It's to represent the university to the constituents who are going to support it: the state legislature, philanthropists, wealthy alums, etc. The president's role in the day-to-day devolves to his appointments/hirings: a provost, a vice president for research, a vp for instruction, etc. One doesn't need the experience of the tenure process to be able to do that (although, I agree it's preferable to have someone with some scholarly background for, at the very least, the sake of appearances). I'm not saying it's a good thing, just the reality.

I wouldn't dismiss the possibility of Sonny as President of the University of Georgia. I also wouldn't scoff at the notion of Zell Miller (if he's still alive).

Also, labeling Pres. Adams as a liberal is, well, misleading. Adams' resume includes stints serving as COS for a Republican representative and running for office as a Republican. As is the notion he's not a Southerner (he finished HS in Chattanooga and went to Lipscomb in Nashville), so intimating that his OSU degree makes him disdainful of the south is pure speculation.

Lastly, and unrelated, UGA needs to raise tuition fast. If the state wants it to achieve its mission, it's going to have relent on this. We're hemorrhaging qualified faculty because of the budget situation and if that continues, Georgia's students will be hurt. Since we're in a balanced-budgeting state, the only option is to raise tuition.

rbubp said...

Good points, Anon 10:32, about political appointments. I do think a university president has somewhat more responsibilities than you list, however (it is certainly not a figurehead position as implied by the suggestion that it's a good place to retire). Presidents set and amend mission/ overall policy and articulate goals and how to achieve them; they have the final say on very large projects that can affect a university quite directly, such as whether to build a new baseball stadium or if that money would be better spent on renewing the infrastructure of the admissions system.

Anonymous said...

rbubp, I agree. A president has more responsibilities than I list. But, I don't dismiss Sonny because I don't think anyone with responsibility for the decision-making realizes what I think you and I probably do.

Anonymous said...

I hope mikey gets the job, then appoints Jim Harrick to police the rules again.Why should UGA be the only one to share this treasure ?

Anonymous said...

number 1: there is no way Adams leaves before the Medical School is completed. No one would carry that banner, a project that will largely bear his legacy, in his absence.

number 2: Even if Adams did leave today, tomorrow, or 10 years from now, Sonny Perdue won't even be a consideration. UGA will be looking for a true academic to fill Adams' shoes. The Regents may not look smart all the time but htey know that unless a scholar is put in place, someone the faculty can follow, they'll have a tough time retaining/recruiting faculty.

Anonymous said...

Former UGA B-school Dean Al Niemi for UGA Prez!

 
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