University should decline invitation to bowl game

Ray Schuck and Ray Schuck

To whom it may concern:

The BG football team defeated Northern Illinois in the MAC championship game Friday.

While I happily acknowledge players and coaches for their accomplishment, I also would like to suggest, respectfully, that the University decline its forthcoming bowl invitation and stay home this season.

Friday provided an interesting juxtaposition at the University.

In the afternoon, University constituents protested faculty cuts at the Board of Trustees meeting. University administrators argue that these cuts are necessary for budgetary reasons.

Then, that night, the University won a football game that will cost the University money. BG’s win means that NIU will not make the BCS, and MAC schools will thus not receive money from NIU’s BCS appearance. Meanwhile, the University will need to spend money to go to its bowl game.

Given all of that, I think the University should sit this one out.

If the budget is in such bad shape that we need to let faculty go, then we don’t need to dispense more money to the football program. We’re not contractually obligated to go.

We’d go because we don’t want to let down people’s expectations. Meeting expectations and not letting people down may be good reasons, but in our contemporary budget situation, we’ve been told that’s not enough.

Non-tenure track faculty may have expected continued employment, and non-renewal may let them down, but, we’re told, contractually that doesn’t matter. The same ought to apply to football.

Friday thus ought to ask us to take a hard look at our priorities.

On the one hand, we were asked to accept faculty cuts because the University needs the money.

Then, we were asked to celebrate a football victory that will cost the University money.

For years, I enjoyed following college football, but I gave it up in 2012 exactly because of situations, such as this, that show misplaced priorities.

I didn’t want to have to choose to give up football, but when forced, I’m not going to choose football over faculty or the education that faculty provide.

Please join me in choosing education by asking the University to decline its bowl invitation.

Ray Schuck

Assistant Professor of Communication, Firelands