Thursday, June 28, 2012

Too bad all the vicissitudes of life are not comedy sitcom material

For a change of pace, here is a little story about something I observed about ten or so hours ago, a bit exasperating, but also admittedly a bit amusing. I boarded a bus in Kent with the intention to go to Seattle. As the bus continued to admit passengers there seemed to be a minor crisis brewing up front. I observed that a man who was carrying an unwieldy stack of 10-gallon plastic buckets was engaged in a discussion with the bus driver. He also had some skinny little mutt on a leash; the man looked a bit scruffy himself in dirty T-shirt and jeans. Anyways, he was trying to explain to the driver that he was a police officer, and the dog was a part of the police K-9 unit. He asked the driver if he wanted to see his “badge,” and he proceeded to produce what appeared to be (by its shortness) an expired bus transfer pass.

During this entire episode, I was under the distinct impression that what we were witnessing was the kind of bluster typically employed by small-time hustlers, to make as much commotion as possible in the hope that the driver would eventually overlook any improprieties in order to avoid a prolonged confrontation. Not all bus drivers will cooperate, of course; some will stand their ground and refuse to budge on “principle,” regardless of how much it inconveniences other passengers who may need to be somewhere at a certain time. There are also bus drivers who if they take a dislike to you on sight, will create the circumstances in which a confrontation can escalate, especially if the would-be passenger believes that the driver is singling him out for rude behavior merely out of some prejudice, or just having a bad day.

I wasn’t sure what exactly inspired the driver’s decision to create this situation; perhaps he thought that this passenger with all this “baggage” was up to no good. In any case, the excuse he gave was that the would-be passenger needed to pay fare for the dog; I had to agree with the man that this was a requirement I had never heard of. Perhaps it was a regulation on the books, but I was certain that if so, it was rarely enforced—unless, of course, the driver took a visceral dislike to you, as this driver evidently did to this man. Nevertheless, this man did himself no favors to his cause by continuing to insist that he was a police officer, and that he didn’t need to pay for his pathetic-looking dog because it was “K-9.” Furthermore, he kept referring to his police badge, which he never produced, and which was obviously failing to make an impression on the bus driver (or anyone else) anyways. If this was how police officers behaved off-duty, the citizenry certainly does have a reason to be concerned.

Despite the fact there seemed to be no satisfactory resolution to either party, the man made his way to the rear of the bus and sat down. I thought this little episode was over and we’d be on our way. But after five minutes and the bus made no tracks, I realized that we were not going anywhere. The driver left both the front and back doors open, and everyone now knew that the he was “serious” and was waiting for the man to remove himself, which he refused to do. We were still waiting by the time the next scheduled bus was supposed to arrive, and since by now more people had boarded the bus and there would soon be standing room only (and this was the first stop on the route), I decided to vacate this bus and wait outside for another bus.

The bus remained put, and presently I observed a Kent police car arrive at the scene, apparently summoned by the bus driver. The man who would be the object of police attention also observed the arrival, and thinking the better of remaining on the bus, vacated as well. The bus driver pointed out the offender to the police officer, upon which a “discussion” took place. The man actually had the balls to repeat the same story he told the bus driver; after all, he could be arrested for “impersonating” a police officer. The officer tried to play it cool, avoiding possible escalation with someone who if not short a full deck, needed to work on his hustling program. The officer played along with the claim that the dog was part of a K-9 unit; the “amusing” part entered the picture when the officer tested out the dog to see if it was “trained”—ordering it to “sit.” The dog didn’t seem to comprehend, and its owner, seeing that his story was suffering with credibility issues, also ordered the dog to sit, with the same result. In fact, the closest the dog came to “sitting” was when it shortly thereafter proceeded to do a number on the sidewalk as its owner insisted on pressing his “case” to rapidly diminishing effect (I could tell, because the officer by then could not refrain from a chuckle or two).

By this time the officer had indicated to the bus driver that the situation was under control and that he could continue on his route. The whole scene reminded me of something out of a “Barney Miller” or “Reno 911” script. I couldn’t help but think that it was unfortunate that all of society’s miscues could not similarly be sitcom material.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

More on the Martin case

Nothing to update on the Daniel Adkins case, and justice seems less and less likely to occur in Arizona—no big “surprise” considering the position of Latinos in the state. Meanwhile, there have been several more aspects of the Trayvon Martin case that disturb me. First was the firing of Sanford, Florida police chief Bill Lee, who was on paid administrative leave. Lee became chief after his predecessor was embroiled in his own race controversy, when the black community complained about several instances of police brutality. Lee was “tasked” to calm relations between the black community and the police; the problem was that crime subsequently went up. Part of this was blamed on the economy, but another element was the “easing off” by police in crime-ridden neighborhoods. In George Zimmerman’s formerly “family-friendly,” community, unemployed and new “transient” arrivals—according to long-time residents mostly young black males—were responsible for home invasions and robberies that were a weekly occurrence. And Zimmerman’s wasn’t the only one that felt it needed a neighborhood “watch captain,” either; in fact it was part of a city-wide initiative.

Last September, the local newspaper, The Sanford Herald, reported on the “rising tide” of crime in the city. “At the last City Commission meeting, about 50 citizens turned out to voice their protest against the increased number of criminal incidents occurring every day, victimizing people and property. ‘I live in the historic district and I have never seen it so bad,’ said Linda Surdin, who is a leader in her Neighborhood Watch group. She said residents have been harassed and attacked by the homeless and citizens are afraid, in their homes and in the community. Meanwhile, Sanford resident Gloria Baskerville said crime is not limited to the historic district or perpetrated just by the homeless. She said drug dealing and prostitution is done in the open in her neighborhood.”

Between April and June 2011 alone, 300 burglaries and 400 thefts were reported. “A homeowner who has lived on Elm Street for 26 years said crime is rampant. On Christmas Day last year, he left his home for only an hour, but he returned to find his entire set of lawn furniture gone. ‘The crime in my area has been real bad,’ he said. ‘The alleys are the hotspots.’ Another resident in the historic district also recently had their patio furniture stolen—along with a grill, lawn chairs, five trashcans and a jade plant that had special sentimental value because it came from her mother’s funeral.” Police Chief Lee was quoted as saying “The police officers can’t do it all by themselves. We need your eyes and ears to let us know when things are going on. It truly is a partnership.”

The reason why I continue to point this out is because the mainstream media continues to ignore this “backstory” in the Martin case; the failure of the media to do an “updated” character profile of Trayvon Martin that would “explain” his delinquency and his easy resort to violent behavior should also be in order. He was just as much responsible for his fate as Zimmerman.

Speaking of violence, another “incident” that fell below the mainstream media radar was that which occurred shortly after the Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson public rally in Sanford—which also just happened to be coincide with the Adkins killing. Now, I have nothing against Sharpton or Jackson (I voted for the latter in the 1988 presidential primaries), but to me it was reprehensible for them to stir-up violent emotions without learning all the facts first. Anyways, shortly after the rally, two black teens—Julius Bender and Yahaziel Israelin—decided to find themselves a white man and mete-out their own “justice.” According to the Sanford Herald,

“Investigators believe Bender and Israel beat a 50-year-old man with a hammer inside his vehicle and then took him into the woods in the area of Beardall Avenue and Lincoln Street where they continued to attack him. A witness that heard the victim’s cries for help and saw the beating called 911, but Bender and Israel fled the area before deputies arrived. The two men left in the victim’s vehicle, abandoning it a short distance away. Deputies found the victim in the woods, barely conscious and with severe head injuries.”

Note that there was no indication of the race of either the victim or perpetrators in the story; this was also the case initially in the Orlando Sentinel’s report. The Sentinel admitted that it had omitted the race and mug shots of the perpetrators deliberately. Note also that the perpetrators were “teens” like Martin, and may have intended to kill the man before they were spotted; I’m not sure either one was described as a “young child” by their defenders. Also unsaid was why we should regard such crimes as motivated by "simple justice" and not as hate crimes.

Another issue I find disturbing is the reaction of Latino “leaders,” who have fallen flat-faced not just concerning the Adkins case, but the Martin case as well. Instead of questioning why it seemed so easy for the media to demonize George Zimmerman without heed to the facts, last April you would be more likely to hear ill-informed comments like “George Zimmerman is half Latino, but his mentality appears to be completely white supremacist.” Again, this is simply repeating the given propaganda without relation to facts—especially given the fact that blacks are just as likely as whites to have negative opinions of Latinos, and the Martin case is a perfect example of those two communities finding “common ground” when the target is the “common enemy,” the Latino. As Ryan W. McMaken for the libertarian LRC Blog said at the time, “The way the press uses these terms (Latino and ‘white’ Hispanic) betrays just how completely ignorant most reporters and talking heads are about even the basics of ethnicity and race in this country.” Zimmerman was initially labeled white “because that's what the media has determined will produce the most fertile ground for ‘racial’ conflict.”

The last item on my plate was the release to the media six of the 151 jailhouse phone calls made between George Zimmerman and his wife, Shellie. Unlike the callous, thug-like attitude about life that we heard from Cordell Jude, the impression one gets from listening to the conversations—which the Huffington Post had the audacity to post both the audio and written transcripts of—are of a loving couple concerned about their situation both legally and financially, trying to figure out how she will make ends meet while fearing for the lives of everyone who has the “misfortune” of being too closely tied to Zimmerman. It is despicable how their private affairs are being made public, but it goes hand-in-fist with the media’s scurrilous behavior overall in the Martin case. To partially combat the media’s “interpretation” of a Macbethian couple, the following sums-up what kind of people they really are:

ZIMMERMAN: Man I can’t remember what the dream was but it was really nice. It was like, I bought you something that you always wanted. I don’t remember what it was.

SHELLIE: Oh honey, you don’t need to worry about that cutie.

ZIMMERMAN: I wish I could remember, it was like a, a nice scarf or something.

SHELLIE: Oh, you’re so cute. I love you so much.

ZIMMERMAN: I love you so much.


SHELLIE: Not with him man. Like he is doing, what’s best for you. O’Mara


SHELLIE: Yep, what’s best for justice.

ZIMMERMAN: Good, that’s all I ask.

Hasn’t the media gone too far in “examining” Zimmerman and his life and finding so very little to justify their “evil” narrative? Martin was engaged in a brutal beating; as I mentioned before, what is it that we don’t know about him that the media seems so reticent about investigating?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Immigration decision still leaves room for mischief by states

So, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down the first of the two major decisions of the year (actually three, after it refused to revisit its horrendous Citizen’s United decision, which essentially took democratic governance out of the hands of the citizenry and into the hands of a few billionaires and their puppets). While we wait for the high court’s decision on the public mandate portion of the Obama health care law, it has ruled on the “show me your papers” provision of Arizona’s anti-immigrant SB-1070 law. To my incomprehension, the court unanimously upheld the notion that local law enforcement can demand to see not merely ID like a driver’s license, but “proof” that a person is a legal resident. However, while law enforcement officers can “ask,” they supposedly cannot detain anyone who doesn’t happen to be carrying their “papers,” or anyone they “suspect” of being an illegal alien for any length of time. A majority also struck down provisions that makes it a crime for an illegal alien to seek work (and pay taxes), to not register his or her status with the federal agencies, or for police to conduct warrantless arrests if they merely “suspect” that a person who is a legal resident may be guilty of a crime that would make them susceptible to deportation. Technically, it would seem at first blush, the actual enforcement of immigration laws remains in the hands of the federal government.

But as I intimated, the ruling still troubles me. Although the court decision stated it might revisit the “show me your papers” provision” if it still leads to widespread racial profiling and civil rights abuses—making it a violation of the 4th and 14th Amendments—by upholding it, all kinds of mischief is sure to follow. For example, Maricopa County’s racist sheriff, Joe Arpaio, insists that the ruling will not change how he and his deputies operate, even in the face of a Justice Department lawsuit and its charges of endemic racial profiling, terrorism and various abuses in the Latino community, regardless of the legal status of those effected.

A 2008 Pulitzer Prize-winning series in the East Valley Journal reported on the “devastating impact of overzealous law enforcement” when it is tasked to immigration “duties” at the expense of its normal functions. While Arpaio and his minions worked out their racist fantasies, crime outside Latino communities spiked due to inattention, while a review of response times for life-threatening emergencies were far below acceptable standards. Complaints that Arpaio’s regime was bleeding the county dry was reinforced by the discovery of “rampant overtime spending" in order to reach immigration-related targets. So many deputies were on immigration “duty” that many areas of the county were denuded of on-site deputies. Thus the justices could have stopped such abuses in their tracks had they invalidated the “show me your papers” provision. Instead, the likes of Joe Arpaio will continue to act as if nothing has changed.

It doesn’t get much better outside of Arpaio’s jurisdiction. For example, Tucson Police Chief Roberto Villasenor acts as if he doesn’t understand what the Supreme Court’s ruling actually said. He claims that 36,000 “suspects” are arrested a year in his jurisdiction for offenses like “disorderly conduct, misdemeanor assault, shoplifting, vandalism and driving more than 25 mph over the speed limit.” While if they were white (or black) they would merely receive a citation, it appears that Latinos who can’t immediately prove their legal status are detained, until immigration authorities “answer the phone.” First of all, the decision makes it unlawful for local police to detain anyone who they suspect is an illegal immigrant for any length of time. While they can certainly call immigration authorities concerning their suspicions, they cannot detain a “suspect” longer than they would anyone for similar offenses. Federal immigration authorities have already informed local law enforcement that their “priority” are those who commit violent crimes; why would Villasenor then waste time and money filling his jails with people guilty of traffic violations? Again, this is something that the Supreme Court could have stopped if its decision had been more clear in its delineation between federal and local responsibilities. And it isn’t just Arizona where “confusion” will be “rampant.” States across the South have passed similar laws, and given the racist history of that region, it isn’t difficult to imagine what being “unclear” will mean.

But if the Supreme Court kept the water muddied, the Department of Homeland Security has made it clear to Arizona that it will not be taking phone calls from state jurisdictions in regard to their “suspects.” DHS has announced its decision to cancel all of its contracts in Arizona for its infamous “Secure Communities” program, which has been used as an excuse to perpetrate massive violations of the civil rights of Latinos all over the country, regardless of legal status. The program “deputizes” local law enforcement, giving them the power of federal immigration agents. The problem is that these untrained police officers have used their new authority with impunity, as if they are immune from any ethical standards that a “normal” police officer would be expected to uphold. The result is that thuggish police officers pretending to be “feds” terrorize whole communities, making it next to impossible for the regular police forces to conduct business-as-usual in those communities, because of the absence of trust.

A public meeting in Phoenix after the court decision, according to a story in the New Times weekly, seemed to raise more questions than answers about how local police would respond. The police chief admitted that he had no “guidance” on what constituted “suspicious” behavior when deciding to “ask for papers.” "Reasonable suspicion includes several facts and circumstances that would make a reasonable person believe someone is committing or has committed an immigration violation. It is based on the totality of all the facts and circumstances known to the officer." Huh? Of course, all it might take is for a cop who thinks being a “Mexican” is a crime. Although there was an insistence that police would obey state law and continue to call immigration authorities for “pick-ups,” the mayor, when asked if he would “support” the police chief if he made the decision to stop detaining people merely on the suspicion of being illegal aliens if it was deemed a waste of time calling immigration authorities (which DHS has already suggested would be the case), stated that if that decision was made, he would do so.

I suppose it would be useful to address a few rationales that xenophobes and bigots use to justify law enforcement abuses against Latinos, as well as myths perpetrated by the media. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, these rationales and myths include such far-out there claims that “Undocumented immigrants kill 25 Americans a day.” This claim was made by Iowa Republican Rep. Steve King: "The lives of 12 U.S. citizens would be saved who otherwise die a violent death at the hands of murderous illegal aliens each day. Another 13 Americans would survive who are otherwise killed each day by uninsured drunk driving illegals." Using that number, Denver's right-wing radio host Peter Boyles in 2006 came-up with 45,000 American citizens “murdered” by illegal immigrants since 9-11. What is the truth? King deliberately misinterpreted GAO statistics that stated that 28 percent of prisoners in state, local and federal prisons were immigrants; the report did not in fact distinguish between legal and illegal immigrants—of which half of the latter were incarcerated only on immigration status violations, not for any other actual “crime.” King’s attempt to conjure-up a number concerning murder rates was simple racist fantasy; between 9-11 and 2006, there were 85,000 murders in the U.S.; this “would mean undocumented immigrants, who make up under 4% of the U.S. population, were responsible for 53% of all murders,” according to the Center. I should also like to point out that none of those 21 murdered individuals in Seattle through last month were victims of an illegal immigrant.

Another myth is that “Undocumented immigrants are more criminal than natives.” The anti-immigrant FAIR—which is on the Center’s list of hate groups, and was largely responsible for the philosophy behind SB-1070—claimed that "Illegal aliens are more prone to criminal activity than the rest of the population.” Jim Gilchrist of the Minuteman Project, another proud member of the hate group fraternity, claimed that it was "okay to say 'rapist,' 'robber' and 'murderer'" in the same breath as illegal immigrants. The reality? Many legitimate studies on the subject have found that even in areas where poverty is great and where there would be expected to be a correlation with high crime rates, Latino immigrant communities were far less susceptible to crime than other communities, which makes Arpaio and his gang’s activities even more suspicious. A 2005 report in The American Journal of Health, written by Harvard’s Robert J. Sampson, found “the rate of violence among Mexican Americans was significantly lower than among non-Latino white and black Americans.” Other studies found that “second- and third-generation immigrants are significantly more criminal than their parents, suggesting that U.S. culture somehow eventually produces more, not less, criminality among its citizens.” Obviously there is some disconnect between these last two statements; murder rates in the Latino community isn’t anywhere close to that of the black community, in fact in the same ballpark as whites. It would. However, it does make sense to say that there is much less crime among illegal immigrants because of their tendency to wish to remain under the radar; remember that half of all illegal immigrants who are in jail are so only for immigration status violations.

We should also address the reasons why illegal immigration is so prevalent. If it was just a simple matter crossing and re-crossing the border, as had occurred without much controversy for most of century following the end of the Mexican-American War until the economic disruptions caused by the Great Depression (in fact Latin American immigrants were not mentioned in the 1924 immigration law)—or if work visa laws were reformed to make such cross-traffic less onerous—there would likely be far fewer illegal immigrants in this country. But because work visa laws are so stringent for the vast majority of Latin Americans—even those who wish only to work seasonally—many illegal immigrants, once across the border, simply stay out of lack of choice. The absurd—and discriminatory—work visa policy has caused significant labor shortages among local growers and farmers, with only the apparent prejudice against “Mexicans” to explain it. According to immigration statistics, out of 1 million work visas given out last year, only 10,000 were for those seeking those “low-skill” jobs that “real” Americans seem unmotivated to do.

According to the SPL Center, the obstacles to average Latin Americans from entering the U.S. legally are so great that various myths surrounding the subject have become rampant, and yet have very little relation to fact. For example, contrary to popular belief, parents of “anchor babies” cannot petition for permanent residency until their children are 21. Even for spouses of U.S. citizens, it can take as long as 20 years to gain permanent residency. “Some of these family relationship categories are so backlogged with immigrants seeking legal permanent resident status,” according to the Center, “that federal officials have declared those categories unavailable. Immigrants who don't have these relationships will find that their path to citizenship is non-existent.” In regard to the aforementioned employer-based work visa program, “There are so many individuals waiting for these visas, the category has been designated as unavailable by immigration officials.”

While Asian immigrants, especially those who have entered the country illegally to begin with, have regularly been granted refugee/asylee status, it is almost impossible for anyone from Latin America to be granted such status—shocking considering the right-wing murder regimes that the U.S. has supported in the past that targeted mostly the indigenous or mixed-race groups that Americans apparently hate the most. Even Mexican journalists and activists and their families who are targeted for death by drug cartels in the U.S.-funded “war” on drugs find it nearly impossible to obtain asylee status.

Today, recent changes in immigration laws make it almost impossible for Latinos who are already in the country and are eligible to receive permanent residency, but must leave the country first to reapply for admittance, to actually re-enter the country. What motivation do they have to leave the country—especially since current immigration laws seem to be solely aimed at discomfiting them, while nearly 2 million illegal aliens of Asian extraction remain unmolested? As I've said many times, nothing burns me up like hypocrisy.

Numbers never lie

Numbers might not “lie,” but people certainly do, as we’ve seen in the examination of sex-trafficking statistics. I happened to catch a discussion on ESPN concerning Title IX and all the wonderful things it has done for women, if not necessarily for sports. There was a little animation segment which ended with the statement “Numbers Never Lie,” apparently in consideration of the proportion of women in attendance of colleges and universities, and their representation in school sports; I can’t imagine what else it could be referring to, given that anyone who claims that women overall have the same level interest in sports as men is just playing the justification game. Probably the closest we can come to a making a fair comparison in interest between men’s and women’s collegiate sports is in basketball, so let’s look at the numbers for television ratings and viewership of the two NCAA Final Fours in 2011; on the men’s side, the average rating was 10.28 with a viewership of 15.38 million; for the women, the television rating was 2.14, with an average viewership of 2.87 million.

How do we read these numbers? Since the average viewership per household is no more than 1.5, it suggests that college basketball is not “family” fare, and serious college basketball fans (such as those who are in office betting pools) are more likely to watch it. We can also rightly suspect that it is men and/or their sons or friends who are principally watching the men’s games. The next question is who is watching the women’s games? If we just say that women are the sole audience (for the sake of comparison), it means that 84.3 percent of fans are male. I also suspect that many of the “fans” who watched the women’s Final Four do so for political reasons, not necessarily because they are sports fans. Doubters of this “theory” merely have to observe how many females you see playing “pick-up” basketball games, which is a greater indicator of broad interest. As an aside, I admit that I have a passing interest in seeing if Britney Griner will be the Wilt Chamberlain of women’s professional basketball next season, but beyond that my interest in the WNBA tends to be on the sardonic side.

One irony about Title IX is that athletics was only part of its agenda; it aimed to rectify what was at the time perceived to be inequality of opportunity for females in the overall college experience. A second irony is that at most co-ed schools today, females out-number male students, sometimes by a considerable percentage. A third irony is the perception that admissions departments have gone too far in showing favoritism toward female applicants. How can this be true? Consider this factoid: The 2011 SAT report states the males scored higher on the SAT than females in both the traditional categories—verbal and math—for a total score of 1031, compared to 995 for females. Of course, now they call the “verbal” test “critical reading,” and the SAT board has added a new test, “writing,” which females naturally score higher—probably because this is the test where the bullshit quotient is highest. Still, even with that test, males scored higher overall, and yet it appears that this latter test, when used as an admissions criteria, has more “weight” than the other tests.

But back to the athletics side. There is no shortage of female commentators who will tell you, in response to complaints that women’s athletic programs are a drain on budgets with little or no revenue streams, that the reputation of football programs as significant revenue streams is overblown, and don’t pay for themselves, let alone other programs. I do not know if this is true of schools below Division 1, but in Division 1, the vast majority of football programs are not only “profitable,” but the revenues generated from them are in fact used to pay for athletic programs that are little more than country clubbish vanity affairs. The website “The Business of College Sports” reviewed Department of Education figures and came-up with this profit/loss analysis of the 2010-2011 year in regard to major football (and men’s basketball) programs:

Rank School Revenue Expenses Profit

1 University of Texas (Football) $93,942,815 $25,112,331 $68,830,484

2 Univ. of Georgia (Football) $70,838,539 $18,308,654 $52,529,885

3 Penn State Univ. (Football) $70,208,584 $19,780,939 $50,427,645

4 Univ. of Michigan (Football) $63,189,417 $18,328,233 $44,861,184

5 Univ. of Florida (Football) $68,715,750 $24,457,557 $44,258,193

6 LSU (Football) $68,819,806 $25,566,520 $43,253,286

7 Univ. of Alabama (Football) $71,884,525 $31,118,134 $40,766,391

8 Univ. of Tenn. (Football) $56,593,946 $17,357,345 $39,236,601

9 Auburn Univ. (Football) $66,162,720 $27,911,713 $38,251,007

10 Univ. of Oklahoma (Football) $58,295,888 $20,150,769 $38,145,119

11 Univ. of SC (Football) $58,266,159 $22,794,211 $35,471,948

12 Notre Dame (Football) $64,163,063 $29,490,788 $34,672,275

13 Univ. of Nebraska (Football) $49,928,228 $17,843,849 $32,084,379

14 Ohio State Univ. (Football) $63,750,000 $31,763,036 $31,986,964

15 Univ. of Iowa (Football) $45,854,764 $18,468,732 $27,386,032

16 Michigan S. (Football) $44,462,659 $17,468,458 $26,994,201

17 Univ. of Arkansas (Football) $48,524,244 $22,005,104 $26,519,140

18 Texas A&M (Football) $41,915,428 $16,599,798 $25,315,630

19 Univ. of Kentucky (Football) $31,890,572 $13,905,724 $17,984,848

20 Oklahoma State (Football) $32,787,498 $15,479,410 $17,308,088

21 Louisville (Basketball) $25,890,003 $9,089,769 $16,800,234

22 Univ. of Wisconsin (Football) $38,662,971 $22,041,491 $16,621,480

23 Univ. of Mississippi (Football) $28,409,774 $11,920,510 $16,489,264

24 West Virg. Univ. (Football) $29,467,612 $14,330,236 $15,137,376

25 Univ. of Minnesota (Football) $32,322,688 $17,433,699 $14,888,989

26 Virginia Tech (Football) $31,155,870 $16,302,767 $14,853,103

27 Univ of Wash. (Football) $33,919,639 $19,207,560 $14,712,079

28 Clemson Univ. (Football) $30,994,503 $16,305,528 $14,688,975

29 Duke (Basketball) $26,667,056 $12,286,475 $14,380,581

30 Univ. of Illinois (Football) $25,301,783 $11,092,122 $14,209,661

31 North Carolina (Basketball) $20,551,168 $6,647,459 $13,903,709

32 Univ.of Colorado (Football) $26,233,929 $12,558,503 $13,675,426

33 Univ. of Arizona (Basketball) $19,285,038 $5,806,535 $13,478,503

34 Ohio St. (Basketball) $16,190,723 $4,554,908 $11,635,815

35 Univ. of Missouri (Football) $25,378,066 $13,759,649 $11,618,417

36 North Carolina St. (Football) $22,018,738 $10,408,938 $11,609,800

37 Arizona State (Football) $29,587,236 $17,977,987 $11,609,249

38 Texas Tech (Football) $26,201,009 $14,688,382 $11,512,627

39 Univ of Oregon (Football) $29,505,906 $18,071,012 $11,434,894

40 Univ of Arizona (Football) $24,398,253 $13,685,931 $10,712,322

41 Syracuse Univ. (Basketball) $18,309,470 $8,086,376 $10,223,094

42 Wisconsin (Basketball) $17,666,311 $7,539,418 $10,126,893

43 Illinois (Basketball) $14,413,222 $4,980,589 $9,432,633

44 Georgia Tech (Football) $24,870,064 $15,519,206 $9,350,858

45 Indiana Univ. (Football) $21,783,185 $12,822,779 $8,960,406

46 Indiana (Basketball) $16,570,158 $7,653,945 $8,916,213

47 Univ. of Arkansas (Basketball) $15,515,830 $6,839,213 $8,676,617

48 USC (Football) $29,080,117 $20,820,468 $8,259,649

49 Minnesota (Basketball) $13,733,316 $5,692,149 $8,041,167

50 Michigan St. (Basketball) $16,138,167 $8,250,450 $7,887,717

What do these numbers mean? Comparing this to a USA Today chart of self-sustaining athletic departments—meaning schools that receive all (or nearly all) of their funding for athletic programs from sports revenue or gifts from boosters—65 percent of the University of Texas’s athletic department revenue comes directly from the football program. Even more “astonishingly,” take away the “profit” that the football program generates, the athletic department would have losses of $55 million. The Texas model is admittedly the most extreme example, but overall the story has a similar feel. Although the University of Washington athletic department generates less than half of its revenue from the football program, without its “profit” margin the department would be $12 million in the red; dump football altogether, in order to be “self-sustaining” the UW athletic department would have to find ways to cut 25 percent of the funding for its remaining programs. This would be more problematic than at first blush, because the men’s moderately successful basketball program has its own healthy revenue stream, but nothing like football and it would be patently unfair to force the basketball program to “pay” for other sports. The only other alternative is to force the school to make far more significant subsidies to support the athletic department than it is now—especially since booster “gifts” would dry-up.

And college football programs have significant economic impact on local communities. The University of Wisconsin published a report entitled “The Economic Impact of The University of Wisconsin Athletic Department” earlier this year. It claimed that the athletic department generated $970 million in total economic impact over the year, including $843 million in fan spending, creating or supporting 8,853 jobs and generating $52.8 million in tax revenue, mostly from fan spending. Although there was no breakdown by sport, there can be no doubt that the Badgers’ resurgence as one of the top football programs in the country accounted for the greater portion of this impact.

So numbers don’t lie. Only people do.