Follow The Money: Mizzou Football’s Real Leverage

mizzou-protest-sign

Photo from ESPN

Full disclosure: a member of the Limits household lives and breathes Mizzou football.  I mean, just steer clear of the den while the Tigers playing.

In the past week, the campus of the University of Missouri-Columbia, affectionately known as Mizzou, exploded into the national headlines with charges of institutional racism.  Specifically, a student named Jonathan Butler outlined three instances of purported racism and went on a very public and social media friendly hunger strike to bring attention to what he considered to be an untenable situation:

  • Planned Parenthood was not allowed on campus, which is actually a state law.  (Actually, a PP physician lost privileges at University Hospital in Columbia as well.)
  • Supposedly, a Swastika was drawn in human feces on campus.
  • And racist comments were shouted from an unidentified truck someplace.

According to The Maneater, Mizzou’s on campus rag, the incident that originally prompted Concerned Student 1950, Butler’s group that was threatening all sorts on on campus food and bookstore boycotts, to make a stink was the system president’s vehicle bumping somebody at the homecoming parade and the group objecting to his response to the incident.  (It wasn’t enough.)

“I already feel like campus is an unlivable space,” the student proclaimed. “So it’s worth sacrificing something of this grave amount, because I’m already not wanted here. I’m already not treated like I’m a human.”

Mr. Butler, if you think that’s bad, try having light sensitive eyes and being surrounded by nothing but LEDs and fluorescents.  Or being barely five feet tall and living in a world built for people 5’7″.  Adaptation is a pain in the a$$.  I’m not allowed to complain though.  My ancestors were from Celtic Europe.

At any rate, this student’s crusade, curiously enough, didn’t get all that much attention off the campus until last week when he went on the hunger strike and a number of people joined him including Deputy Chancellor Emeritus Mike Middleton.  These people were camped out in front of Jesse Hall by the columns a la the Occupy movement that died as soon as the weather turned cold.  (Um, note to people who’ve never been on that campus, there weren’t that many people or tents.  That quadrangle is enormous.  Most of it was empty from the pictures.)

Curious, though.  This all happened after University of Missouri SYSTEM President Tim Wolfe, the man who unceremoniously resigned at the Board of Curators meeting this morning, brought down the ax not just at Mizzou (Columbia), but at the University of Missouri St. Louis, which just HAPPENS to be two miles from Ferguson, and where peace has been the order of the day for the duration of the Michael Brown ordeal to the point where no statements were made from the University.  $8 million is to be cut from their budget.  And what is being cut?  A whole lot of little centers and one entire school – Public Policy and Administration – that are liberal and political cash cows.  (A source says life at UMSL is not happy right now.)  Wolfe also presided over graduate student assistants losing health insurance waivers and some tuition assistance right after the semester started which is a big bugaboo on the Mizzou campus.

That just seems like an awfully big coincidence.  Tim Wolfe was brought into the SYSTEM – not just Columbia – four years ago to get the budgets down as the declining birth rate has lead to declining enrollment and declining revenue across the system, not just in St. Louis.  The system itself is four campuses, UM-Columbia (Mizzou), UMSL, UM Science and Technology (Rolla, which is the engineering and mining school even if Mizzou’s engineering program is ranked higher) and UM Kansas City.  The state government (the Republican controlled legislature anyway) wants the budgets brought back in line.  The governor, on the other hand, wants to exploit the racism angle.

Follow the money

That being the case, after a banner headline above the fold in the St. Louis Post-Disgrace proclaiming the cuts at UMSL on Novemeber 3, all of a sudden we started hearing about this Jonathan Butler character complete with his hunger strike and social media hashtags, and then the football team – okay 32 members, and no one has said how many of them are on scholarship – decided to not play until Tim Wolfe, who is the SYSTEM president, not the Chancellor at Mizzou where all the supposed racism issues are, resigned.

Well, sports fans, here’s a problem.  The University of Missouri is currently a Southeastern Conference (SEC) member.  As such, there is a television contract, which was the whole reason Mizzou left the Big 12 in the first place (the University of Texas was not negotiating in good faith from Mizzou’s perspective).  Given the report that at the Board of Curators meeting this morning they took roll and Wolfe promptly resigned, it would be a decent guess that after others in the football program (damn Title IX) went on strike, and the idiot coach went on record as concurring, somebody got out the SEC contract to see just what it was going to cost the state and, well, it was going to be a lot. (And since Mizzou’s best quarterback is suspended for the season due to a bar fight, they ain’t going to a bowl this year, so that extra cash is not in the offing.)

That’s just this writer’s guess, but given the way the cuts have been going, and that the football program supposedly has a list of alumni willing to pay for new goalposts when the students rip them down after a big win, the leverage used by the football team wasn’t bad publicity due to phantom racism that has no specific incidents listed other than a minor accident at a parade where the person bumped was in the way.  It was the cash the university was going to lose if the team didn’t play.

So, people out there from sea to shining sea, don’t believe everything you read about Missouri.  Without going into deep detail, a source has related a number of steps the system has taken to avoid wrongful charges of racism going back years.  If the only truly specific charge involving racism at Mizzou is not allowing Planned Parenthood on campus, an organization that was founded based on institutional racism at its core, then this is all much ado about getting rid of Tim Wolfe more than anything else.  After all, the fraternities and sororities still self segregate.

By the way, don’t think this is over.  This writer is waiting for the money to be followed the rest of the way.  Just wondering who’s money is behind the effort since Jonathan Butler supposedly is a Claire McCaskill staffer (blondie is one of our senators).  After the trees shook enough in Ferguson, we found George Soros.  That’s just the way stirring the racism pot seems to work these days.

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About the Author

Cultural Limits
A resident of Flyover Country, Cultural Limits is a rare creature in American Conservatism - committed to not just small government, Christianity and traditional social roles, but non-profits and high arts and culture. Watching politics, observing human behavior and writing are all long-time interests. In her other life, CL writes romance novels under her nom de plume, Patricia Holden (@PatriciaHoldenAuthor on Facebook), and crochets like a mad woman (designs can be found on Facebook @BohemianFlairCrochet and on Pinterest on the Bohemian Flair Crochet board). In religion, CL is Catholic; in work, the jill of all trades when it comes to fundraising software manipulation and event planning; in play, a classically trained soprano and proud citizen of Cardinal Nation, although, during hockey season, Bleeds Blue. She lives in the Mid-Mississippi River Valley with family and two cute and charming tyrants...make that toy dogs.

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