Sunday, April 06, 2008

ESPN "Outside the Lines"on Phil Knight (UPDATE)

Good thing I missed ESPN's show "Outside the Lines" this morning because from what I can tell it was a "hit job" on Phil Knight and the University of Oregon Athletic Department. I was able to watch a short version of the show on ESPN's web site and the tone was very accusatory. They of course dug up gadfly Jim Earl from the English Department of the University for his usual attack on the Athletic Department in support of the shows preconceived thesis. Any one who has read this blog for anytime will know that I have followed very closely the decision to "retire" Bill Moos and bring in new Athletic Director Pat Kilkenny. Since he has taken over the AD he has done a wonderful job. He brought back from Cal Jim Bartko. He has brought back baseball to Oregon and a baseball park is going to be built,the new basketball arena project has been approved by the Oregon Legislature and will be built. He and his wife are donating one million dollars to University of Oregon academics and he is donating back his meager salary as AD.. What more could we ask. He was hired for two years but I hope he stays for much longer.He has reached out to fans and donors and reinvigorated the Athletic Department. But oh, he doesn't have a degree! What does he tell a athlete who is thinking of dropping out of school. Well I have a proposal:

I propose this as an answer for Pat Kilkenny:

Since leaving the University of Oregon I founded a multimillion dollar insurance company and have earned millions of dollars.

I have given good jobs to hundreds of people with college degrees.

I have donated generously to my University.

My name is attached to University athletic facilities.

I have been asked to serve on many prestigious boards at more than one University.

At the request of the President of my University I have agreed to serve for two years without pay in a job for which he drafted me.

In spite of all of the above a sports reporter for a state wide newspaper and ESPN have saw fit to write a story on the fact I did not get my college degree.

So stay in school and get your degree as there is more than one kind of prejudice in this world.

The University of Oregon is lucky to have an alumnus and friend like Phil Knight. Every thing he has done for the University has been first class. Everything he has done has been legal, ethical, and in conformity of NCAA regulations. Thanks Phil Knight for everything you have done both Academically and Athletically for the University of Oregon.

UPDATE for all my wrestling friends finding their way to this post.(June 14, 2008)

I felt very bad when the University of Oregon dropped wrestling in favor of baseball. I love Football and Basketball but am not interested in either baseball or wrestling. However, I do know that more fans like baseball than wrestling and there is a larger more affluent donor base with baseball. This is important with an Athletic Department that is self supporting and gets no state funds. In filing their law suit against the University of Oregon Athletic Department the wrestlers burned all their bridges behind them and lost many who were sympathetic to their cause. Who would want to attend a university to be a wrestler where the only reason the school had wrestling as a sport is because of an order from a judge? Judicial activism, now that is another subject! Who would want to donate to such a program? The University of Oregon academically does not have a Veterinary program nor an Engineering program. Both are fine occupations but if you want to be a vet or and engineer you go to Oregon State University. The state of Oregon can not support two vet or engineering programs. If you want to be a lawyer you go the the University of Oregon because Oregon State doesn't have a law school. The same can be said for wrestling. If you want to be a wrestler you should go to Oregon State.

In the Pac-10 only three schools now have wrestling, Oregon State, Arizona State and Stanford. Boise State won the Pac 10 Championship this year? Oregon finished 9th behind such non Pac 10 schools as UC Davis, Cal State Bakersfield, Cal Poly and Cal State Fullerton. Oregon only beat out Number 10 Portland State.

I do believe that the scholarships for the current wrestlers at the University of Oregon should be honored for four year and wrestling be kept as a "club" sport. Go Ducks!