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Subsidizing Failure

For the past few years, Central Michigan University’s football program has been a flop.

Football fans file into Kelly/Shorts Stadium at the beginning of each game, but by halftime many of those same fans are on their way home, figuring there’s little reason to stick around to watch our team take a beating.

Not even the highly-anticipated game against Michigan State University was able to break that precedent. By halftime, students were trickling out of the stadium.

The problem has become so excessive that when pressed about attendance numbers, our athletics department admitted drastically inflating head counts.

Our team is, evidently, that bad.

At least for now.

Success on the football field is cyclical. We’ll do well for a few years, and then we’ll inevitably suck for a few more.

Admittedly, I’m not a football fan. Even during the 2009 season, when our team was playing quite well, I only allowed myself to be dragged along to one game.

It makes no difference to me whether we’re winning or losing, honestly.

Indifference toward football aside, I am a student, and I do have an interest in the financial well-being of this university.

Dropping piles of money on the head of CMU football’s top brass seems counter to that interest, especially considering the team’s poor performance over the past few years.

Head football coach Dan Enos, according to CMU budget documents, will receive nearly $300,000 for his services during the 2012-2013 fiscal year. That doesn’t include an additional $85,000 in benefits for the coach.

Enos is one of the highest paid employees at CMU, pulling in a paycheck dwarfed only by that of President George Ross, Provost Gary Shapiro, and a handful of other administrators, most of whom are from the College of Medicine.

Earlier this year, CMU administrators elected to extend Eno’s five-year contract for an additional year.

I’m not sure why.

Since Enos took control of CMU football in 2010, our team has recorded two consecutive 3-9 seasons.

When a student fails to meet CMU’s academic requirements, they’re either put on academic probation, dismissed, or excluded from scholarships for lack of merit.

If you’re a student and don’t meet a certain standard, CMU refuses to spend any extra money on you, as it should.

Sports officials like Dan Enos should be subject to a similar standard.

Extending Enos’ contract flies in the face of sound judgment, and indicates the university’s priorities aren’t arranged in the best order. It suggests CMU is willing to gamble on sports at a time when it should be looking for ways to keep tuition rates from rising and faculty from feeling financially slighted.

That’s not a message administrators should be content with sending.

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