Athletics Practice Doesn't Comport With Policy

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Vice Chancellor Frank Yeary's Letter to the Editor (May 3) unfairly criticizes the accuracy of the Daily Cal editorial "Play by the Rules."

The University of California Accounting Manual states unambiguously that Intercollegiate Athletics (IA) at Berkeley and UCLA are auxiliary enterprises [Ch. A-783-1, II.C.5].

Mr. Yeary confirms that "long-standing practice" has deviated substantially from this policy, as if to argue that not complying with existing policy somehow changes it without any process of discussion and review. On the contrary, this statement merely admits that campus accounting practice has violated university policy with impunity.

He states that UCOP Policy BUS-72 contains "instances in which the Chancellor may provide non-state funding" to auxiliary enterprises, but neglects to specify that BUS-72 provides for only two such exceptions, neither of which is applicable to IA: "student/ASUC-operated enterprises and/or child-care centers" [V.B].

The Berkeley faculty passed a Resolution by a large margin at the Fall 2009 Academic Senate meeting calling for the Chancellor to enforce the "self-supporting" requirement of auxiliary enterprises for IA at Berkeley, to cease the annual bailouts that enable it to spend beyond its means, and to make the academic program the campus's first priority.

Where will we go from here? Since practice must comply with policy, there are two options: change either the practice or the policy.

Changing the practice would both respect the will of the faculty as articulated in the Resolution and comply with long-standing policy that identifies IA at Berkeley as a unit not permitted to use campus funds.

However, any attempt to change policy would in fact substantiate the editorial's accusations of UC creating policy based on "whim." It would also send a clear signal of sheer disregard of faculty participation in university governance. One could hardly imagine a more inappropriate moment to even contemplate such a change to policy than in the academic year that was greeted by President Yudof's formal declaration of a "fiscal emergency."

Brian Barsky

Professor, UC Berkeley

Tags: INTERCOLLEGIATE ATHLETICS






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