Letter to the Editor

Sports, budgets

Friday, November 13, 2015

The newspaper for the morning of the day I am writing this letter contains reports that the president and chancellor of the University of Missouri-Columbia have lost their jobs. While these stories indicate that racism is an ongoing problem in the Missouri system, it seems to me this event points to other situations that need to be addressed.

First, a few facts.

Fifty-five percent of the students at the University of Missouri have an average student debt of about $25,000. At Southeast Missouri State University, 65 percent of the students have an average student debt of $26,000. The University of Missouri spends $80 million on athletics, of which $9.1 million is spent on athletic scholarships. Southeast spends $11.1 million on athletics, of which $6.9 million comes from school funds such as tuition and state appropriations. Of the referenced $11.1 million, $3.3 million is spent on athletic scholarships.

I find it nothing less than astounding that Missouri football coach Gary Pinkel is paid $4 million a year while former university President Tim Wolfe was paid $459,000 a year. In other words, the university president was paid less than 12 percent of what the football coach is being paid.

It seems to me that the Division III rule prohibiting financial aid based on athletics should become applicable for all colleges and universities. The money now spent on athletic scholarships could be used to reduce the costs students have to pay for their post secondary education and to address the systemic racism.

JOHN PIEPHO, Jackson