If Only People Cared As Much About Higher Education Policy As They Do About College Football

I’m not much of a football fan, but hats off to the North Dakota State University Bison for their victory today becoming the FCS champions. North Dakotans are, and should be, proud.

Far be it for me to rain on the parade, but I can’t help but wonder why so many citizens seem to care more for NDSU’s football team than they do for the students who are sent to NDSU to be educated.

Over this past year NDSU nailed students with an 8.8% tuition increase, claiming that the legislature has been under funding the school, but since 2003 total state appropriations for NDSU have gone up 98%.

Keep in mind, too, that the NDSU’s president’s mansion is the most lavish home in the city of Fargo, and the university’s administration fly around the region in a private airplane the use of which they tried to hide from legislative oversight.

Also, even as students get hit with this big tuition hike, NDSU gives millions upon millions of dollars in tuition away in “diversity waivers” used to lure out-of-state students to the campuses.

The folks at NDSU like to tout that they’re a “top-tier research institution,” but those rankings are based on one thing: The amount of federal research dollars a university consumes. When the NDSU officials brag about that, essentially what they’re saying is that the university is really, really good at gobbling up federal tax dollars.

According to rankings based on how students are actually treated and perform, NDSU ranks near the bottom nationally.

And coming next week SAB will have a series of post detailing some major abuse of taxpayer funds involving state Senator Tony Grindberg, who just happens to work for NDSU and sit on the legislature’s higher education committee (no conflict of interest there I’m sure), and has been double-dipping on his NDSU and state salaries to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars.

My point is that things are clearly going right in NDSU’s athletics department. They’ve fielded an elite team of champions. Hats off to them. But there are major problems in NDSU’s administration – indeed throughout North Dakota’s higher education system – and I wish that those problems got as much attention as today’s football game did.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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  • Matthew

    Why do you support the keeping of the Sioux mascot, which the legal costs to  the citizens of ND are costing hundreds of thousands of dollars?

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      Actually, keeping the nickname costs North Dakotans almost nothing.

      Being rid of it will cost the university, and thus the taxpayers, millions in lost merchandise sales.

      • Matthew

        You assume nobody will accept any new mascot they choose.

        But I am living in reality.  The NCAA won’t budge.  They already won when UND couldn’t meet the terms of the settlement agreement that UND signed. 

        If you get the mascot reinstated than you can live with the sanctions of the NCAA, but you are just cutting your nose off to spite your face.

        If you are a real fan of the students who play the sports you follow than just choose a new mascot everybody can support.  Otherwise, you are just fighting them.

        There is one other legal option.  Buy off the Standing Rock tribe.  Pay them so much money that the will approve the name.  Of course that will just piss off the Spirit Lake tribe which gave the name for nothing.  But that is just politics.

        • headward

          I don’t think you know what the sanctions are.

          You should also read Rob’s response.  Keeping the name will cost UND nothing.  Changing will cost more than a million.

        • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

          A) The university cannot have a new logo or nickname for three years

          B) If they ever do pick a new one, it will be replacing what was one of the most popular logos/nicknames in all of collegiate sports.

          They’re going to lose money.

          You have no idea what you’re talking about.

          • bottineau bay

            The Sioux nickname is the most popular in sports? Are delusions a new part of your life now?

    • headward

      I suppose you also believe that UND isn’t part of the Big Sky Conference either.

  • ec99

    It’s all pretty simple, really.  Universities have prostituted themselves to athletics, as if a winning means anything.  Look at the huge support for Joe Paterno after he protected a pedophile.  No support for the victims there.  Or Bobby Knight.  Or all the other coaches who are the highest paid employees of their state.  NDSU won the championship.  Big deal.  It’s still a fourth rate academic college which will never be confused with a real university…so much so it has to bribe students to get them to come; students who couldn’t get into schools of their home state.

    But before you wail too much about ND universities and the taxpayer, don’t forget, the state pays about a quarter of their budgets…22% for UND.  So taxpayers are hardly a majority shareholder.

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      The taxpayers pay for about a quarter of the “flagship” university budgets, true, but that also doesn’t take into account tuition North Dakotans pay too.

      Oh, and the federal money.  Are we not all federal taxpayers as well?

      That’s a red herring the higher ed folks like to throw around when they want to escape accountability.  Of course, when you talk about reducing that 22% at all, they go crazy.

      • ec99

        The tuition is paid by choice.  The Federal money was a long series of pork dating back to Andrews and Burdick which built all the Aviation buildings.  If the 22% were reduced, tuition would be upped to replace it.

        • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

          If they had to up tuition to replace the taxpayer’s portion of the university budget enrollment would drop like a stone.

          You can spin it any way you want, but the institutions belong to the taxpayers.  Of course, i’m all for privatizing them.

          • ec99

            The 22% stake of the taxpayers makes them a minority shareholder.

          • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

            Wrong.  The universities are created by the state constitution, and are under the purview of the state (and thus the taxpayers) whatever money they may get from sources other than the taxpayers.

          • ec99

            De jure, yes.  De facto the taxpayers lost sole control of UND when it went from being a state funded school to a state affiliated school.

      • Matthew

        If you include federal money than North Dakotans get a bargain because you are an insignificant state. 

        • ec99

          Correct.  An insignificant state with a Congressional delegation with a lot of seniority…ergo, lots of pork.  That’s all done now.

        • headward

          Insignificant state?  Take ND away and you’ll have black outs and hunger strikes.

        • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

          Insignificant?  Why, because not a lot of people choose to live here?

          You really are a childish little troll, aren’t you? 

  • Jimmypop

    “If Only People Cared As Much About Higher Education Policy As They Do About College Football”this can be said of politics in general

    • sbark

      Think in terms of the use of the Roman Gladiator games to keep the publics attention off of the general decline……..

      …..and yet by the demise of the Roman Empire 75% of the population had left Rome..

      • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

        Bread and circuses.

  • Dakotacyr

    what a hypocrite, you have spent how much time decrying the Sioux nickname in sports?  You are just too funny.

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      I don’t think you know what the word “decrying” means.

  • http://nofreelunch.areavoices.com/ Kevin Flanagan

    Big education is, for the most part, nothing but a scam to funnel money from the private sector to those who plan on spending the rest of their lives latched onto the government teat!

    • borborygmi

      Sneaky bastards sending out all those graduates into the private sector to work. 

      • sbark

        …or worse yet…..sending 85% of them back home to live with their parents…..

      • http://nofreelunch.areavoices.com/ Kevin Flanagan

        What are the people with degrees in “Social Justice” going to work at?

        • borborygmi

          Same place the art historians are going to work at .  Some Coffee shop.   I have had one schooled in technology, and another in the health care field. Both find upstanding taxpayers..  Thank you very much.  They don’t live in ND so they probably pay more in Fed tax then State taxes.  Still don’t understand why you don’t move.

          • http://nofreelunch.areavoices.com/ Kevin Flanagan

            Moving isn’t free. Why don’t the slackers latched onto the state payroll stop being so greedy?

          • Chuck Thomas M.

            You look’n for a hand out to move? Typical for a Jesuit private school mommy and daddy’s boy; always blaming others and looking for a hand out. Get out of the house and get a real job like the rest of us. The Internet is a hobby, for Christ sakes, not a livelihood. LOL! Go back to Cheeseland and see what high taxes really feels like; everyone’s sick of your incessant whining, pretty boy. Go do somethin with that elitist private edjumacation and leave N.D. to us rubes who don’t know no better.

          • http://nofreelunch.areavoices.com/ Kevin Flanagan

            What is the total compensation for a stalker on the state payroll these days; the typical six figures and full retirement after 30 years of slacking, 
            Chuck Thomas M.?

  • borborygmi

    Where is the rule written that you can’t enjoy sports and politics at the same time?  
        Congratulations Bison and the Republican Debates (notice they aren’t called the Conservative Debates}  were a bit contentious.   There isn’t a lot of love between Ron Paul , and Rick Santorum and Newt.   The circus was on TV last night in two forms,  football and the debates keeping the masses amused.  Both no doubt were sponsored by the federal gov’t  to enthrall the masses and keep their attention diverted.  
             

  • Cherz1967

    Love the BLOG Rob, you sure know how to call out the jackasses.  As a NDSU alum and a current graduate student I’d like to say congradulations to the football team for the championship.  I feel sorry for the Sioux because there athletic department sucks so bad no one cares about fighting sioux football. 

    I get tired of listening to all the idiots on here spout off about the Sioux nickname.  They just don’t get that it’s not about he name anymore, but about the elites shoving their ideology down our throuts.  There are only two groups that want rid of the name.  The elites in the State Board of Higher Educaiton, UND, and the NCAAA and actual Sioux indians from the Standing Rock reservation that believe “white men took all their land” and “anyone who is not Sioux has no say in the matter”.  They cannot accept the realities of the 21st century.

    The whole affair has been a case of he said, she said, they said ad nausium.

    But THIS post isn’t about the dog eaters it’s about the NDSU Bison’s National Championship and the ability of everyone in the state getting behind the Bison, but not reining in the abusses of the university system.

    For bringing that up I applaud you Mr. Port.  The rest of you idiots need to go back to reading the HuffPo and shut the hell up.

    • ec99

      Universities are supposed to be institutes of higher education, not semi-pro sports centers.  NDSU’s victory doesn’t change the fact it’s a fourth-tier prairie college.  Any more than UND’s hockey championships make it 7 times better than Harvard.

      • Cherz1967

        Where did you go to school?

    • Hannitized, Proofs obsession

      Well, that certainly explains your inability to spell and write properly.

      • Cherz1967

        My inability to spel and right properly has nothing to do with my college edumacation loser.  It has to do with missing school during the time my father died when I was a child, but go ahead and judge it’s what liberals do best.

        • Hannitized, Proofs obsession

          Weren’t you the guy bragging about your economics degree and demanding others explain where they got theirs in order to state their opinion on graphs and our country’s economic situation?

          How did you mange to get that while failing your English courses?

          Sorry to hear about your father. BTW, did you know other people lose their parents while going through college, but still learn to spell and write properly?

          • Cherz1967

            Yes I know that.  I also know some mothers choose to abort their children.  Like your mother did.

            I truley don’t see the coorilation between being able to spell and intelligence.  Take yourself for an example.  You seem to be a crack speller and your grammer is ok, not that I’d know the difference, yet you area  complete bafoon.  Makes one wonder doesn’t it.

          • Hannitized, Proofs obsession

            According to Poofy, your inability to spell and write properly reflects your intelligence level.  I think your ideas are every bit as stupid as your writing.

    • Ratbite

      Says a lot for NDSU when it’s grad students can not even spell congratulations.

  • Jamermorrow

    I did my first two years of college at NDSU. What a waste of time. Most of the students skipped class or were hungover at class. Getting lectured by powerpoint with two hundred other students and never talking to the professors. I transferred to Concordia after two years and what a world of difference.

    • ec99

      You get what you pay for.  Concordia has academic standards, NDSU is a jock school.

      • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

        Concordia is also a private university, and thus must exercise a greater degree of accountability to its students than universities in North Dakota’s system, which are accountable to almost nobody.

        • Jamermorrow

          Everybody also graduates in fours years unlike the state universities.

          • ec99

            That’s because as NDSU and UND spiraled up enrollment, they didn’t hire any new faculty positions.

          • Jamermorrow

            you nailed it.

        • ec99

          Concordia can afford to be selective.  NDSU and UND would accept forms of roadkill if they could sign a tuition check.

          • borborygmi

            Which is why the easiest way to take care of any future educational loan bubble is to raise admission standards. Perhaps a 28 , at least a 25 on the ACT.

        • Game

          Concordia also accepts federally subsidised student loans. Loans from a Concordia grad would be more than NDSU. Though many Concordia students have mommy and daddy to pay for it. As an employer, I would hire a NDSU grad before a Concordia grad any day. Most Concordia grads are spoiled rich kids who have never worked a day in their life.

          • Jamermorrow

            Besides for actually having homework and papers to write in college. Most of the little rich kids have parents and friends who hire them after school. That is one advantage to being rich.

      • Cherz1967

        It’s not so much that you get what you pay for, but it most surely is you get what you put into it. 

        • borborygmi

          Finally someone putting the blame were it should be ,  the individual.

        • ec99

          It seems what NDSU and UND students are most adept at is putting copious amounts of beer in their gut.

      • Jamermorrow

        The difference in the students and faculty was amazing. The teachers actually care to get to know the students. I was also outnumbered by women 3 to 1. At NDSU we had more men than women. That alone puts Concordia about NDSU.

        • borborygmi

          I don’t know about more men then women but when I was at SU about half the women had the Copenhagen ring on their back pockets.

          • ec99

            Instead of the Trojans ring?

          • borborygmi

            circle was two  big

    • Cherz1967

      What do you do know?  Put your money where your mouth is and tell the world how successful you are due to your Concordia education.

      • Jamermorrow

        I got into Law School which almost all Concordia grads do. Concordia had a 96% placement to Law School. I think NDSU is less than 50%. The top in my class at Law School is a Concordia Grad. None of my friends from NDSU got into Law School.

        • ec99

          It also has a huge admission rate the med schools.

        • Cherz1967

          I new there was something fishy about you.  The only thing worse than a cop is lawyer.  Do you lie to yourself too?

          • Jamermorrow

            When you get into trouble by that cop we will see how much you hate lawyers.

          • Cherz1967

            Buddy you have no idea.  Cops are not your friends, but you know that going in.  Attorneys pretend they are going to help you then send you to the dogs.

            I never met an attorney who didn’t think they were smarter then me, and I never met one who was, but I’m sure your much better than that.  Where did you go to law school?  UND? lmao

          • Jamermorrow

            Yep, I go to UND. Not sure why that would be funny? Did you go to Harvard, Yale, Duke?

          • Cherz1967

            No, but my point was that you didn’t.

  • Cherz1967

    It is funny how NDSU is such a shitty school now that they are nation champions.  Sounds like a bunch of haters to me.

    • Jamermorrow

      Great football team, agricultural, and engineering school. Besides that NDSU is a degree factory.

    • ec99

      It was that way before.  A football victory didn’t turn it from a frog into a prince.

  • borborygmi

     that the NDSU’s president’s mansion is the most lavish home in the city of Fargo,   flat out BS.     Perhaps the top 10  but definitely not the most.

  • Cherz1967

    Funny how a blog about people not being upset about ND’s BHE turns into a bash NDSU blog.  I guess we know where the problem is.

  • Dave

    It looks to me like they’re taking both UND and NDSU equally to the woodshed, but read it how you want.

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