The University of Florida may, like many major universities, be grappling with serious cuts to its academic and other budgets. But the university has in all likelihood just set off another round of eye-popping pay increases for the country's biggest-time college football coaches with its decision Monday to give Coach Urban Meyer a six-year contract worth $4 million a year (up from his current $3.25 million). Meyer's Gators have won the (mythical) national championship in two of the last three years, and Florida's president, Bernie Machen, said this spring that Meyer should and would be compensated like one of the best coaches in the country. The raise makes him the best paid coach in the Southeastern Conference, but he may not have that status for long, Sports Illustrated surmises: Auburn and Louisiana State Universities are reportedly negotiating contracts for their coaches, both of which could easily surpass Meyer. So much for the recession.
Higher Education Quick Takes
Corinthian Colleges, Inc., one of the country's largest providers of for-profit higher education, announced Monday that it had settled a lawsuit in which stockholders accused the company of having backdated the price of options. The company agreed to a set of changes in its governance and other practices and to pay $2.5 million in legal fees to the plaintiffs in the case, but did not acknowledge any wrongdoing.
A national journalism organization has given its top First Amendment award to two Columbus Dispatch reporters for their investigative work on apparent misuse of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. The Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi Foundation gave its $10,000 Eugene S. Pulliam First Amendment Award to Jill Riepenhoff and Todd Jones for articles in which they requested documents about college athletics programs as a way to show how unevenly -- and in some cases inappropriately -- institutions applied the federal law designed to protect students' academic records. “[T]hey have taken an arcane, little-understood federal secrecy law and made its harm real and salient to the average citizen,” Frank D. LoMonte, executive director of the Student Press Law Center, wrote in a nomination letter to Society of Professional Journalists.
The chairman of the University of Illinois Board of Trustees resigned Monday, the Chicago Tribune reported. Niranjan Shah was the latest person to be done in by the admissions controversy that has embroiled the university; Shah was among the university officials who had been accused of pushing to admit applicants based more on their political connections than their academic credentials. A state panel investigating the admissions controversy called last week for all politically chosen trustees to resign, and Shah is the second to do so.
The Education Department's inspector general said Monday that Sallie Mae had overbilled the U.S. Treasury by $22.3 million in payments made to its Nellie Mae subsidiary from 2003 to 2006. The company inappropriately sought reimbursement from the government for loans financed with tax-exempt bonds, even though the bonds had matured, the inspector general found; Sallie Mae disputed the finding. The lender is the latest in a string of loan providers that the inspector general has found to have abused the tax-exempt bond program, although the Bush administration's Education Department required only one of the lenders, Nelnet, to return the disputed funds.
A federal judge ordered the University of Louisville Monday to reinstate a nursing student who was expelled in February after she wrote on a blog about her dealings with patients, the Courier-Journal reported. The judge said that Nina Yoder's postings were "crass" but did not violate the institution's confidentiality rules or honor code, according to the newspaper.
A federal jury on Friday ordered Joel Tenenbaum, a Boston University graduate student, to pay $675,000 to four music labels for downloading and sharing music online, The Boston Globe reported. Tenenbaum never denied sharing the music online and the judge ruled that his admission of doing so required a verdict in favor of the music companies, leaving the main question to be the size of damages (which could have been much greater). While record companies have threatened legal action many times over the downloading issue, many times focusing on colleges and their students, this is only the second case against an individual to have gone to trial.
Last month, Marshall Drummond somewhat mysteriously left the chancellorship of the Los Angeles Community College District, announcing that he and the board had mutually agreed on the move. Drummond was in his second tenure in the job, having left in 2004 to lead the statewide community college system, but returning in 2007 to what he called the job he was really drawn to. It's still not clear why he left, but the Los Angeles Times reported on his settlement: $428,750 (over 19 months) and lifetime health insurance.
The New Jersey Institute of Technology and its alumni association will be in court this month in a dispute over the use of the institution's name, the Associated Press reported. The two entities have been fighting since 2001, when the university tore down an alumni center to build a new student center. In 2008, NJIT told the association that it was being replaced with a new group, and that led the alumni to sue.
Old Dominion University officials are denying any conflict of interest in hiring a state legislator -- whose amendment created the Center for Teacher Quality and Educational Leadership at the university -- to run it, The Virginian-Pilot reported. The newspaper, which reported on the situation, prompting criticism of the hire, said that university leaders said the lawmaker was hired on the basis of his qualifications, not his connections.