Tuesday, November 10, 2015

#ResourcesMatter: What Mizzou's Stand Against Racism Reveals About Winning

Politics is everywhere - from the White House, to your office, to college game day. This has been made abundantly clear by the resignation of the University of Missouri's President (and soon Chancellor) after protests by the college football team over the handling of race issues on campus.

This major success of student activism, however, has been touted widely as the triumph of people power. As we've been writing about on this blog in relation to American politics, though, that's not quite the case. Like success in other forms of politics, it is a success of economic pressure as well as people. This is particularly clear when you realize a much less publicized hunger strike preceded the football strike. Ignoring the resource argument is not only misleading, it's damaging to future movements. If we want people power to work anywhere, we need to be honest about the true mechanisms for change here.

My friend on Facebook put it succinctly, but The Washington Post put it best

"...[T]he team's protest threatened immediate economic damage to the university. This is perhaps the biggest issue at play. A contract between Missouri and BYU obtained by the Kansas City Star reveals that cancellation on the part of the Tigers would result in a $1 million fine to be paid to BYU within 30 days of the cancellation."
Beyond this, the value of College Football cannot be overstated. Afterall, Gary Pinkel, Mizzou's coach, is the highest paid public employee in the State making a whopping $4.02 Million per year. This far exceeds even Missouri's Governor who makes a relatively paltry $133 Thousand annually.

Furthermore, as the Post also points out:

"Missouri's athletic program generated $83.7 million in revenue last year, on $80.2 million in cost — a net of $3.5 million in profit. That's a lot of money — but it's actually fairly low for a public university."
If you look at Missouri's revenue and expenses, you realize that the $3.5M from sports is actually 3.5% of their overall profit. That's a LOT.

And this is before you factor in the future potential earnings of winning a college bowl which can result in payoffs ranging from a LOW of $325K to a high of $22M. And don't forget sponsorships and deals. Missouri, for example, also gets another $2.2M from Nike, plus a bonus if they make a bowl.

This isn't to say people don't matter. Of course they do. But, as in American politics, putting resources at risk is a necessary and powerful component in any activist toolbox. That's why we created ShiftSpark, so that alumni, donors, anyone, can turn their resources into power with just a click.

No comments:

Post a Comment