Re “What Price Victory? Colleges Learning It Can Be Steep,” Dec. 29: Research universities have better things to do than to shell out $600,000 a year for a football coach. State budget woes have caused the University of California to reexamine its priorities as it struggles to remain preeminent in its missions of research, teaching and community service. UCLA students ought to borrow a page from the playbook of UC Santa Barbara, which does not have a football program. Why sustain a sport so incongruous with the university mission and our coastal athletic culture? UCSB boasts a recent “threepeat” of Nobel Prize winners and a 75% involvement in intramural sports.
UCSB sports enthusiasts don’t park themselves in a massive stadium to observe a million-dollar coach and his team. Most students ride their bikes to the field to play football, ultimate Frisbee and volleyball. In many cases, their professors are on the fields and courts with them. Division I football is long yardage from California and UC culture. Active students and Nobel laureates more than replace any school pride generated by a football program.
Are our values out of balance? Thank heavens “you can’t take it with you,” or the position of university head football coach might be even more absurd. I suspect that professors are questioning their vocations.