Publishing vs. Touchdowns at Mizzou

On the impending closure of the University of Missouri Press:

University presses are nonprofit enterprises. Though these presses may reach a level of financial self-sufficiency in their operation, they are by and large underwritten by their host universities. This is part of the investment of higher education.

Most of the monographs produced by scholars have a limited audience — and very few make their publishers any money. However, their publication is still an important aspect of scholarly activity and knowledge dissemination.

The University of Missouri system afforded its press a $400,000 annual subsidy.

To gain a perspective on this figure and the value of the press to the university, one only has to consider that the head basketball coach at Mizzou makes $1.35 million per year — and the head football coach makes $2.5 million per year. The interim director of the press makes just under $75,000 — less than an assistant baseball coach. The acquisitions editor makes just under $35,000 — less than an athletic trainer.

Meanwhile, Mizzou announced new uniforms for five sports:

Through a decade-long partnership with Nike, the Mizzou athletic department was able to work with Nike designers on a special project to help bring the university’s brand values to the surface and create a color, font and logo palate that help reflect those values. This new identity system sets a foundation for all athletic communication including products, uniforms, fan gear and facilities for this generation and future generations. In addition to providing teams with a consistent appearance, Mizzou student-athletes will benefit from the continued innovation and unique performance advantages that the partnership with Nike will deliver. Throughout the project, equal attention was devoted to maintaining an appreciation for the traditions of the past, while positioning the athletics program for the future.

To be clear, the University of Missouri will be shuttering their press and giving athletes new uniforms. This is on top of the press’ staff already being half of what it was before the recession, while many coaches have gotten raises. Oh, and the Athletic Department spent about $58 million last year. Priorities in higher education.

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