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Regent Johnson's Sports Page Comments on University of Minnesota Presidential Search

RegentJohnson.jpg

"During the interview of our presidential search, I will ask, 'What has been your commitment to athletics and to football and how much have you budgeted?' Not 'What are your plans, but what has your track record been?'"

And if they have no track record, Mr. Johnson? Does this mean that they are not presidential material? If their football coach had a poor record, like President Bruininks, does this mean they are not a suitable candidate? Where are your priorities, Regent Johnson? I'll also point out to interested readers that apparently Mr. Johnson is a big fan of K-State's ex-president Wefald. That he would make laudatory remarks about Wefald is an indication of how out of touch Regent Johnson is with the higher education presidential scene. For more details, please see:

University of Minnesota Regent Johnson lauds ex-Kansas State president, Wefald
How out of touch can you be?

Link

My friend and fellow alum, Michael McNabb writes:
(emphasis mine)

Headline in the St. Paul Pioneer Press today (Wednesday, October 27):
U Regent Wants Football Focus

The report contains the following quotations from Regent Dean Johnson, the former majority leader of the Minnesota State Senate:

"The University of Minnesota has three things to do: teach, provide research and outreach. The first two are extremely important. The third, the outreach--I can think of no better outreach than to have a winning football team, a Big Ten championship and a competitive national football team. . .

"If the Golden Gophers were to go back to the Rose Bowl or be nationally competitive, that helps us to get through the workday; that takes care of a lot of things. The positives: the alumni become more excited, donors begin to feel good about their giving, not only to athletics, but to the law school, to the school of medicine, to whatever. And it all generates an enthusiasm. . .

"During the interview of our presidential search, I will ask, 'What has been your commitment to athletics and to football and how much have you budgeted?' Not 'What are your plans, but what has your track record been?'"

"Now, we'll ask questions of academics and research and on and on, too. They are equally important. But I think the people of this state want us to, and I think we owe it to them, to be more competitive in collegiate football."

Where to begin with this nonsense? For starters:

(1) Entertainment (football) is not outreach (or public service) for an institution of higher education.

(2) It is a myth that winning athletic teams generate widespread alumni support for academic programs. See the attached letter to the former director of the Minnesota Alumni Association.

(3) The objective of an institution of higher education is not to help people "get through the workday" by making them feel good about winning games. An institution higher education does prepare people to make intelligent decisions about their life and their work.

(4) The Regents owe it to the people of Minnesota to devote their time and effort to finding solutions to serious problems that threaten higher education today.

Michael W. McNabb

Attachment: Letter from Mr. McNabb to then alumni association director, Margaret Sughrue Carlson

mwm_msc.pdf

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