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July 14, 2008 - Image 4

Resource type:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2008-07-14

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Monday, July 14, 2008
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
htfrc it an tu

Edited and managed by students
at the University of Michigan since
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109


Like Bush's economy?
Hire McCain."
- Signs of protesters outside of the Bayloff Stamped Products
plant in Van Buren Township, where Sen. John McCain
delivered a speech last Thursday.
A third chair


Unsigned editorials reflectlthe officialpositionof the Daily's editorialboard. All other signed articles and illustrations
represent solely the views of their authors.
A bad call on bad behavior
'U' fumbles by agreeing to pay Rodriguez's fees
Based on the short amount of time he's been with the University, it appears Rich
Rodriguez's name is "trouble." The Athletic Department's problem child made
headlines again last week when an out-of-court settlement determined that the
Wolverines' new head football coach would have to pay $4 million for breaking his con-
tract with his former employer, West Virginia University. That would have been all well
and good, perhaps even karmic retribution for bad behavior - that is, if the University
hadn't stepped in and agreed to help foot the bill. Indicative of the continued overem-
phasis on athletics, lack of Athletic Department oversight and just plain irresponsible
spending, there's no doubt about it: This call wasdefinitely foul.

The University has promised
to shell out $2.5 million of the $9
million the newest head coach is
obligated to pay, and as agreed
to cover his legal fees. That rep-
resents a hefty chunk of change,
money that could have been bet-
ter spent on - well, actually,
pretty much anything else. .
Rodriguez made a choice to
walk away from his contract
with West Virginia, and lots of
other coaches who have been in
his position have chosen to stay
put rather than fork over money
for big buyout clauses. Rodri-
guez should have expected that
if he did choose to leave, he
would have to pay. If he wasn't
willing to, he shouldn't have
signed with the Wolverines. On
the Athletic Department's end,
it shouldn't have hired him if it
knew it might have to make this
kind of expensive compromise.
If the Athletic Department
had millions lying around, burn-
ing a hole in its pocket, it could
have put the -money toward an
endless list of more productive
things - like creating more
varsity sports teams, for exam-

ple. The University trails other
schools, boasting only 26 varsity
teams compared to similar uni-
versities like Ohio State Univer-
sity which has 37. Historically,
financial strains have been used
to justify this low number; it's
certainly not a lack of demand.
There are teams in the wings
waiting. Lacrosse, for example,
has long been vying for varsity
Even if the department
couldn't have found ways to
spend the money internally, the
University sure could have. The
Athletic Department - which
has a budget separate from the
rest of the University's general
fund - has, in recent years,
turned a profit and gave some of
that money back to the Univer-
sity. Last year, for example, the
department gave $1.5 million
to the general fund for need-
based financial aid. Though the
department is not under any
obligation to give money to the
general - fund, undergraduate
students now facing a 5.6-per-
cent tuition increase probably
would have better appreciated

the financial aid Rodriguez's
buyout could have funded.
The whole situation is indica-
tive of the University's jumbled
priorities. The fact that the Ath-
letic Department is ina position
to give money to the University
at all is largely due to big licens-
ing deals and vender contracts.
Hiring a coach already under
contract wasn't the classi-
est move; using money earned
through fat contracts to pay
for his buyout is unacceptable.
All signs point to the fact that
college sports, including the
University's program, are being
pushed to levels of commercial-
ization that should be raising
some skeptical eyebrows.
And the fact that the Athletic
Department could get away with
stealing a coach, dragging the
University through an unnec-
essary ordeal and paying mil-
lions in the process is telling of
another problem: lack of over-
sight by the University. Though
the department may be sepa-
rate, the University should still
slap its wrists when it makes
poor choices like this one.

While Obama and McCain will
go to the mats about issues like
health care and energy policy, one
thing they've probably never had
to raise a ruckus about is whether
or not their names will appear on
the ballot.
But that was one source (of
many) of heated discussion at the
Green Party's national convention
this weekend in Chicago, where
the party nominated Cynthia
McKinney and Rosa Clemente as
its presidential and vice presiden-
tial candidates.
Regardless of whether or not
you agree with the party's poli-
cies, there's no denying it: This
party is different.
Most notably, the convention
provided a forum for voices typi-
cally unheard on issues - like bal-
lot access - you won't likely hear
talked about in other places.
It's unlikely, for example, that
Endless War and the Military-
Industrial-Governmental Com-
plex" at the Republican National
Convention or find Dems holding
a session entitled "What to say
when you're called a spoiler."
It's great that these issues are
getting attention; that means
the Greens are doing their job
as a third-party watchdog. But
wouldn't it be even better if this
was happening notjust one week-
end a year in a cramped con-
EditorialBoard Members:
Elise Baun,
Anindya l3hadra,
Harun Buljina,
Robert Soave

ference room but every day in
Washington? And why do we fear
voting for the parties that can
make that happen?
McKinney, in her acceptance
speech, characterized public poli-
cy as being decided at a table that,
right now, has two chairs pulled
up to it. And, as she so aptly put it,
"with that 5 percent, we can pull
up another chair at the table of
public policy."
People may accuse third par-
ties of being fringe groups of delu-
sional radicals, but the picture
at the convention was very dif-
ferent. Though the party would
never admit it isn't -fully com-
mitted to taking the Oval Office,
it has also set the slightly more
attainable goal for itself of getting
5 percent of the vote in the gen-
eral election. That amount could
critically change how the party is
If you already have your can-
didate, that's fine. But if you feel
like Obama and McCain don't
represent you, don't just not vote.
All that apathy breeds is stagna-
tion. Voting for the underdog is
better than throwing away'your
Even if you don't agree with
the party's platform, still con-
sider voting Green. They have
a plan - not to usurp power but
to upend the pattern that has left
you wihoutmore choices.
* Readers are encouraged
to submit letters to the
editor. Please include the
writer's name, college
and class standing or
other University affili-
ation. Send letters to:



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