So, why did I write this series? Here’s the simple answer:
At the University of Illinois, we have a system where our students are literally drowning in debt, but have to pay money to an athletic department that is literally swimming in money.
Not only do I find that shameful, I feel it’s immoral as well. We have multimillion-dollar salaried coaches getting ridiculously rich on the backs of debt-ridden students as well as taxpayers.
Many people believe that coaches deserve those salaries because they “bring in so much money for the university.” At Illinois, that is absolutely not true. Athletics doesn’t make money for the university; it takes money from the university.
That’s a system that is backwards and broken.
There is pretty much unanimous agreement nationwide that the salaries for college coaches are ridiculous. No one, except I suppose the coaches and their families, feel that a college coach should be making 8 … 9 … 10 million dollars a year.
But most people are willing to shrug their shoulders and say “oh well,” because of one thin thread of acceptability that holds it all together. And that thread is: as long as no taxpayer money goes to athletics and athletics doesn’t raise the cost of college for students.
As you will see in my series, at the University of Illinois, that thread has snapped. You’ll also learn why and how.
Let me add that I don’t think the U of I created this system maliciously or even intentionally. I think most of the members of the Board of Trustees, as well as most UI administrators, probably aren’t even aware of many of the things that are uncovered in this series.
I have written four stories and assembled them into a series because, well, just because. Think of them as chapters in a (very short) book. They grew out of the work I’ve been doing on a documentary film on a similar subject.
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It is my hope that what you read will make you angry, and that you’ll turn that anger into motivation to push for change in this backwards and broken system.
How? Contact your State House Member and/or State Senator. Tell them about this series. Tell them you want this to change. They can apply the necessary pressure on the University of Illinois Board of Trustees, President Killeen, and Chancellor Jones.
Of course, that can’t happen until the public really knows what is going on.
And that’s where I come in.
Feel free to contact me with comments or questions at email@example.com. Also if you want to reprint any of these articles.