As CSU continues to struggle financially, it has started to ignore academic priorities in order to pump money into sexier, revenue-building areas such as athletics.
In recent months CSU hired Jim McElwain as the new head football coach with a salary of $1.3 million, nearly double that of former coach Steve Fairchild. McElwain is now the highest-paid CSU employee, making about three times more than even CSU President Tony Frank. The university hired Jack Graham as the new athletic director with a salary of $259,000 a year even though Graham has no experience as an athletic director.
Most importantly, the university has started one of the most expensive projects in CSU history: the $100 to $200 million on-campus stadium.
Meanwhile, during the sudden and drastic overhaul of everything athletics, CSU has decided to sell Y Cross Ranch, the 50,000-acre, self-sustaining ranch that provides agricultural students with priceless, real-world experience.
Our agricultural students are losing a resource that provides rare educational and internship opportunities, while our football team, which went 3-9 last season, will get a pricey new coach and a beautiful new stadium.
Itâ€™s clear where the schoolâ€™s priorities lay and itâ€™s not in academics. Students can only sit back and watch as their tuition is raised by 20 percent and have that money get thrown into luxurious projects that have nothing to do with their education. Even though athletics comes from an entirely different funding stream than academics, youâ€™ve still got to ask: what kind of message is our university sending to students by spending like this?
Imagine if your parents decided to empty your college fund, buy themselves a new Ferrari and sent you to a community college.
The next time the projector doesnâ€™t work during a lecture, or you try to check the time only to find out there is no clock in your classroom, you can at least be thankful that in 2014 you might have a stadium you can walk to.