The Day After (Updated 9:40am)

Huge day yesterday. statusquOblinger’s resignation became SFN’s fourth most viewed story of the entire month in a single day. The worst thing about the yesterday’s traffic to the site is that WV Wolf’s fantastic “State of Football” piece got a little overshadowed.

As usual, our community shared some fantastic comments that are much appreciated.

Charlotte Obs headline Oblinger

Link to lead story in Raleigh & Charlotte Observers.

Correct me if I am interpreting this incorrectly – but am I analyzing this correctly that Oblinger gets a six month PAID vacation at his current high salary rate and then gets to return to the University at a lower rate – but still one that most people would love to have – for the responsibility of teaching one class per semester?

He gets to return to the University where he can then play roles on the Faculty Senate and influence decisions with a faculty which STILL has not publicly censured him after they censured and ran off the likes of Chancellor Fox, Jim Valvano, and others for what far less transgressions? (Could you imagine if Valvano had ever been caught lying and had NOT been cleared of any wrong doing after six diffferent agencies and organizations investigated his program?)

I am obviously not the only person who thinks this way. The following is gleaned from a comment yesterday by ‘sweet jumper’:

I find it ironic that V was forced to resign by the “holier than thou” administration over rumors and heresay, and the NCAA found no evidence of activity to warrant probation. Now the corruptness of the administration is coming to light and the trail leads all the way to the governor’s office. The dominoes are falling and it sounds like the FBI is going to find a lot more wrongdoing in academia than the NCAA discovered in hoops 20 years ago.

I cannot help but support the thoughts of a poster named ‘weejuns’ on Pack Pride’s message boards when he says:

The Alumni Association ought to take a firm stand against this mess and call for the firing of Nielson and Oblinger with no tenure benefits. The likelihood that tenure will be stripped is remote, but the public stand ought to be taken that it is not OK with NC State Alumni that such actions are ok. Being silent in this case is the equivalence of condoning it.

Let me tell you what is REALLY going on here – GREED and GAMING the system.

You see, retirement benefits of state government jobs are set differently than the benefits that those of us in the real world have. For example, an employee’s annual pension is set on a formula based on a certain number of years of that employee’s highest pay.

For example, when a state employee retires they get an annual payment of some percentage of their four highest years of compensation. It is NOT the last four years of service or some kind of average of the entirety of service. So, it is in the self interest of these cronies to be able to bring in as much compensation as they can for a certain amount of years at any point in their career. This is one of the reasons that the world of academia is one of the only industries where former leaders can/will remain employed in lesser roles with lesser compensation. They can ride off and build more ‘years of service’ for other various retirement benefits while sitting idly by with tenure and in a world of no demands.

So, when all of these folks – Oblinger, Nielsen, Easley – are angling for more and more money, even for short amounts of time, the impact of that compensation is not only felt by the taxpayers today but also translates into higher retirement benefits for every year of their life after retirement. Courtesy of the North Carolina tax payer.

Link to “NC State feels leadership vacuum”. Obviously I don’t argue the premise – except for the Marye Ann Fox years, NC State has felt a leadership vaccuum since the 1980s.

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79 Responses to The Day After (Updated 9:40am)

  1. Sw0rdf1sh 06/09/2009 at 8:48 AM #

    Ah, press. Love that Charlotte rag.

    Personally, I found the football piece so much a more pleasant read.

  2. DRW 06/09/2009 at 9:24 AM #

    North Carolina state government retirement benefits are based on the highest 4 years of compensation.

  3. StateFans 06/09/2009 at 9:31 AM #

    ^ Thank you for that information

  4. Scooter 06/09/2009 at 9:36 AM #

    It would appear, based on the BoT’s actions, that the University is taking a stance of “Go ahead and sue us and wait until the story shows up in the paper.” Predictably, the Board of Trustees are in a purely reactive mode and don’t seem willing to take action until the papers get hold of another piece of this story. One would think that steps taken in the private sector regarding independent directors and their responsiblities to the entities they are paid to serve, that they would have been aware of this from the get-go. It would seem, at this point, that they should fully understand the width and breadth of their duties and take proactive steps to mitigate the damage. However, this is NC State we’re talking about.

    Also, given the current turmoil, I think we can lay to rest any thoughts of Lee Fowler leaving any time soon. The last thing on anyone’s mind right now is going to be athletics. I’ll even grant that athletics was the last thing on their minds to begin with, but this time they can say that they have bigger fish to fry.

  5. PackMan97 06/09/2009 at 9:42 AM #

    [politics] It’s very easy to see why our state is in a $4 billion budget deficit. It’s more important now to hold the line on tax increases so dirty rotten scoundrels are exposed. Just wait to see how much system rot will be exposed as budgets are cut further and those good state employees start ratting out those in power for the excesses and abuses. The only way we’ll be able to get to a sane financial situation is by ending these practices. [/politics]

    That said, I love a good train wreck.

  6. WV Wolf 06/09/2009 at 9:55 AM #

    It’s a shame and it’s frustrating because there are some truly brilliant people on State’s campus but the leadership hasn’t been anywhere close to their level.

    This reminds me some of the women’s b-ball coaching search. You can hire a new chancellor from within, maintain the status quo and play it safe or you can bring in some badly needed fresh blood. But then again you saw how well that went with Marye Ann Fox.

    And if I’m a student in the food science department and you’re taking that one course Oblinger is teaching, I could see where there could be some trust issues involved.

  7. TOBtime 06/09/2009 at 9:58 AM #

    Awesome stuff GAWolf. Most of us technical types have no idea (and would prefer not to) of the flesh-pressing and behind the scenes manuevering that takes place in the legal system. We approve or cancel projects based on collected data analysis without feelings. Then the money gets involved, and with it people, and anything can happen.
    I’m at Topsail right now and haven’t been checking in. Wow! Hopefully, as some have pointed out previously, this will lead to a REAL house cleaning that will indeed have a MAF-type back on campus. God luck to Mr. Woodward. The faculty he will be dealing wth is not known for being “change-friendly”.

  8. Alpha Wolf 06/09/2009 at 10:09 AM #

    If Easley sues, there will be discovery and that could get extremely ugly.

    For her.

  9. bradleyb123 06/09/2009 at 10:11 AM #

    ^ “Also, given the current turmoil, I think we can lay to rest any thoughts of Lee Fowler leaving any time soon. The last thing on anyone’s mind right now is going to be athletics. I’ll even grant that athletics was the last thing on their minds to begin with, but this time they can say that they have bigger fish to fry.”

    I’ll be happy if we just get the pieces in place to dump Fowler at some point in the future. SidLow is good for at least another year, maybe two. And more if things go well with his new recruits. TOB is good for probably as long as he wants to coach here. As long as we get rid of Fowler before the next coaching change happens (whenever that is), I’ll be happy. I mean, I still wish Fowlup was gone TODAY. But I understand why he wouldn’t be the top priority given the storm going on now. So I can live with him still being here a little while. As long as he’s gone EVENTUALLY!

    I just hope the new people we bring in actually care about athletics to some degree.

    And while this is a black eye for NC State, this needed to happen. It’s always good when corruption is exposed, even if it’s in your back yard. Maybe some legislation will come from this that will make it harder for stuff like this to happen again in the future.

  10. old13 06/09/2009 at 10:21 AM #

    Re: Foulup – It seems to me that his situation is now potentially worse in that he has no buffers in high places. (Assuming) when a competent, visionary Chancellor from the outside is brought in, he/she will have the attitude that athletics is as important to campus life and university image as any other highly-visible aspect of the university. Then, following a PERFORMANCE review of Foulup’s department, the new Chancellor will fire Foulup on the spot and deem that a national search for a top AD begin immediately. OR the interim Chancellor and new BOT assume full performance of duties until the new Chancellor is selected, the AD review takes place with Dr. Woodward doing the job and Foulup is fired on the spot. Yeah, I know. I’m dreaming. But at least there is that potential now IMO.

    (bradleyb123, guess we were typing in parallel!)

  11. Scooter 06/09/2009 at 10:34 AM #

    While I wish it would happen, I just don’t see the interim Chancellor firing the Athletic Director. This is taking into account that his first two meetings will be with the FBI and Justice Departments. If the Board of Trustees actually does their homework, they will perform a search for a new Chancellor, which could take 6 to 9 months or longer. Then, the wait will begin for the new Chancellor to get to know the ways and means of the University. Then, at long last, we may collect Fowler’s scalp.

    Taking a conservative estimate (counting on the worst since we are State fans), this might take a year-and-a-half to two years before Jed’s job is even called into question. The bright side is that within the next two or three years, he may at least be provided with performance expectations (beyond sitting on Gaston Lake).

  12. bradleyb123 06/09/2009 at 10:39 AM #

    ^ “(bradleyb123, guess we were typing in parallel!)”

    Sounds like we share the same dream and vision for what it will take to finally be rid of Fowler! 🙂

  13. old13 06/09/2009 at 10:43 AM #

    ^^ It could also depend on if those who were pushing for Foulup’s scalp earlier keep pressing for it during this interim period. There is no reason why the interim leaders and BOT can’t multitask. But I think that your scenerio is also valid, Scooter. This will be “interesting” to watch.

    ^ You betcha, bradleyb123!

  14. Alpha Wolf 06/09/2009 at 10:46 AM #

    ^ It’s really wishful thinking to posit that the BOT will undertake Lee Fowler right now. They probably want things as quiet as possible as far as that goes, at least for the time being.

  15. ncsu96 06/09/2009 at 10:52 AM #

    For those of you ‘celebrating’, yesterday was a dark dark day for NCSU.
    Who are we going to get to replace Oblinger? Mickey Mouse?

    Let’s see the Faculty, Board of Governors, and good ole boy network ran off MAF for being to pushy, direct, and not playing their game. Oblinger ultimately has to resign b/c he had no backbone to stand up to good ole boy network. (btw, Oblinger made some mistakes but the real villian in this story is Mike Fucking Sleazy).

    The Chancellor of NCSU is a no win position. At this point, the future of NCSU is in the hands of Erskine Bowles. Like it or not, he’s our only hope, and I want to cry.

  16. GAWolf 06/09/2009 at 10:52 AM #

    I really hate that Lake Gaston is getting a bad wrap in all of this. It’s a fine, fine place.

    It would be nice to have a shift in the overall attitude of the administration towards acceptance of the simple truth that quality athletics increases the number of applications which in turn allows the University to be more choosy with acceptance letters and thus improves the quality of the student body.

  17. GAWolf 06/09/2009 at 10:55 AM #

    Alpha: *Perhaps* the flip to that could also be true. They might try anything to take the attention away from the elephant in the room, and momentarily appease the masses (of alumni).

  18. 61Packer 06/09/2009 at 10:57 AM #

    “North Carolina state government retirement benefits are based on the highest 4 years of compensation.”

    It’s actually the 48 highest consecutive months (highest 4 years in a row) that determine the retirement benefit. Of course, that rule applied to me and most all other rank-and-file emmployees, but I doubt it’ll be applied to these bozos who are appointed by the King and still are receiving their full salaries while not having (or even being allowed) to work.

    The golden rule of state government is alive and well in the UNC system: he who has the gold, rules. It’ll simply be a different cast of characters when the smoke clears.

  19. Girlfriend in a Coma 06/09/2009 at 11:00 AM #

    I don’t do employemnt law, but sometime last week the General Assembly de-funded ME’s position at NCSU. So I don’t know what kind of cause of action she would have against NCSU. I would think not much of one given the position was basically erased by the Assembly. I would love to watch her sue the Legislature.

  20. Oldwolf 06/09/2009 at 11:05 AM #

    We are in the headlines and not in a good way.

    In all of this, one of my tarhole friends pointed out that there has never been a single ncaa school to go to a bowl, win the men’s ncaa bball, and go to the CWS in bbaseball during a single season – other than this 08/09 for unc-ch. Also pointed out, that no matter what happens in the CWS, unc-ch has clinched 2nd place in the SEARS/DIRECTORS cup standings (ahead of USC, but can’t catch Stanford).

    Salt in the wounds 🙁

  21. GAWolf 06/09/2009 at 11:08 AM #

    Girlfriend in a Coma: I agree with that. But who knows what’s in a contract…

  22. highstick 06/09/2009 at 11:22 AM #

    Wow, and THEY called us “lunatics”!

    I’m still concerned that the BOT who approved all of the bad moves and apparently didn’t do enough due diligence on all of this will sit back and do nothing so that no one else is offended.

    Oldwolf, no other team went to a bowl, win the ncaa, and CWS wearing “gay blue” either. I still think that, in time, their world will fall apart too.

  23. packof81 06/09/2009 at 11:26 AM #

    Sleazely can sue all she wants to. The corrupt administration can vote themselves all the raises and retirement benefits they like. Collecting them may be another matter.

    The state of North Carolina already has a budget crisis. Take a long look at what is happening in California. That’s us in a couple of years. Drastic cuts will be forced.

  24. packalum44 06/09/2009 at 11:26 AM #

    I hope most of us realize that this type of behavior is not limited to NC State. I despise our athletics department and think there is room for dramatic improvement in the general administration at all levels. But keep in mind this can be said of all academic institutions and government for that matter. We hail from a fine school and institution that has the stigma as the Red Headed Step Child in the Triangle. This label is the hardest thing we have to shake and this day-time soap opera certainly doesn’t help.

    Don’t hate the player, hate the game…

    Oblinger’s, Nielson’s, and McQueen’s actions are symptoms of a much more serious disease. I suppose that is why I don’t feel as much outrage over their actions as some here. But I caution those who rally for drastic action to step back for a moment and assess the situation from a larger perspective. Just as we have blasted the NCSU administration for having knee-jerk reactions for firing Valvano and curtailing student traditions such as tailgating and camping out for b-ball tickets, we now are calling for heads to roll. This is not prudent. I would urge those who want to take action to focus on the crux of the problem: that is the way academia is structured. It is not a performance based organization, but rather a tenured based organization. Incentives in academia guide professors in directions that are not best aligned with what the alumni hope for.

    With that said, the academic organizations are firmly entrenched into society and this is not going to change, nor is it a battle I’m willing to fight (Mary Easley should pick and choose her battles more judiciously too).

    Basically what happened here was that the First Lady was awarded a job because of who she was. The NC State administration was not very suave, to say the least, and the Federal investigation turned out to be a wild card that not many people have dealt with or knew what to expect.

    My attention and energy will be focused on defining the problem and a solution. What is the problem? How can we fix it? IMO, the more solvable problem here is internal controls. Ironically the Sarbanes Oxley Act forced this on public companies in reaction to Enron, WorldCom, and Tyco. Guess what, it actually works. Now it’s high time we force it on them. The professional guidance can be found here,

    The UNC system should hire outside consultants (Big 4 Accountants) to help them fix the gaps in their internal controls. From my very basic understanding of the situation, this would have NEVER happened if the hiring process was designed and operating effectively. There should ALWAYS be an opportunity for multiple candidates to apply to any job position that opens in a public institution and it should be posted on the internet for the public to know about. Mary then could have interviewed with all other candidates and been hired IF she was the most qualified. Moreover the UNC Board would still have to approve it. The system needs more transparency.

  25. Girlfriend in a Coma 06/09/2009 at 11:37 AM #

    I just can’t wait for Kennel to weigh in with his wisdom on this whole thing.

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