UMass football losing more than games
A new report says the cost of the UMass Amherst football program keeps growing, and so does the support required from students and taxpayers.
The Boston Globe reports that students and taxpayers have spent $1 million more than projected to fund the first two seasons of the team’s upgrade to elite collegiate competition. That financial commitment is expected to grow in coming years, reaching $5.1 million next year with another $2.6 million coming from ticket sales and payments the university receives for playing upper echelon teams.
Max Page, an art and history professor who co-chairs the faculty committee that tracks spending on football, expressed strong doubts that the program would start generating a surplus for the university by 2018. “Attendance is far below what was promised,” Page, a football critic, told MassLive. “The revenues are much lower than expected. The team has not performed well, and the coach, some have argued, has behaved even worse (a reference to a brutal winter training video). And the move to Gillette Stadium, the ace in the hole of this effort, has been a resounding disappointment, to say the least.”
The Minutemen, under coach Charley Molnar (read a CommonWealth interview with him here), have posted 1-11 records the last two seasons. Ticket sales at Gillette rose from an average of 10,901 in 2012 to 15,830 in 2013. The team plans to move three games back to Amherst next year at a refurbished McGuirk Stadium.
Nelson Lacey, a professor of finance who co-chairs the faculty football committee with Page, said he thought the program was off to a weak start but added that it was too early to say whether the program will eventually be a success or not. “Spending more to build the program is a good idea if the extra spending creates benefits,” he told the Globe.
The state moved part of its surplus into a community preservation fund, bringing to $55 million the amount being split with participating cities and towns on open space, historic preservation, and recreation, the Eagle-Tribune reports.
The state awards $5 million for a proposed interchange project in Salem that would pave the way for a $20 million shopping plaza, the Salem News reports.
Mayor-elect Marty Walsh tells business honchos he won’t exactly be dismantling the Boston Redevelopment Authority as he vowed during the campaign. CommonWealth claims naming rights to a new term in asking whether he gets Wued by progressives over this first major flip-flop.
Wued, as in City Councilor-elect Michelle Wu, the liberal light who continues to face harsh criticism for throwing in with Southie’s Bill Linehan for council president. In a pattern we’ve seen many times, social media are not a pol’s friend in times of aroused passion, as Wu’s husband takes to the Twitterverse and makes things worse, prompting him to deactivate his account.
The Menino administration says the city will award a $7.8 million tax break to developers of a massive mixed-use project near the TD Garden.
The House passes a two-year budget deal and the Senate is expected to go along next week, the Daily Beast reports. The Senate’s Democratic leadership sticks it to Republicans by making everybody work nights.
Katherine Clark is sworn in as the newest member of Congress, the Associated Press reports.
Caesars Entertainment, which got bumped out of a casino partnership at Suffolk Downs, is suing Stephen Crosby, alleging the state’s top gambling regulator failed to disclose a conflict of interest with a competitor and treated the casino firm unfairly during a background check, the Associated Press reports. A copy of the lawsuit is here. Crosby tells NECN the lawsuit’s claims are “completely false.” The Pioneer Institute’s Greg Sullivan, a former state inspector general, says Crosby violated the tougher ethics rules cover gaming commissioners.
Shirley Leung tells Mayor Tom Menino and Boston leaders to chillax over Partners HealthCare’s big move to Somerville and get with the regionalism program.
The Boston Licensing Board approves a plan to let more hard liquor flow at Fenway Park, a move the Red Sox say is an effort at “accommodating an interest that our fans have expressed.” No mention in the Globe story that Red Sox owner John Henry also owns the newspaper.
Speaking of the Red Sox-Globe conglomerate, this morning brings this curious wrinkle to consider: Not only did the team balk at offering Jacoby Ellsbury the kind of rich, long-term deal he wanted, the former fan fave has, in a nice gesture, actually forked some money over to John Henry on his way out of town, taking out a full-page ad in today’s Globe to thank Red Sox Nation for seven great years here.
The Christmas season is not only the biggest time of year for retailers, it’s also the most costly with holiday shoplifting at its peak.
The Groton-Dunstable Regional School District lays off 12 workers to cope with a sudden shortfall of at least $400,000, the Lowell Sun reports.
State lawmakers are once again trying to push through a bill to require seat belts on school buses but they think they may have some momentum this time after a federal regulation requiring seat belts on motor coaches and large buses.
You can dance if you want to: Eastern Nazarene College in Quincy has changed its policy to now allow students to dance on campus.
Westfield State University issues new credit card rules in the wake of the Dobelle controversy.
The state’s health insurance exchange website, designed by the same vendor that built the problem-plagued federal health connector website, is experiencing all sorts of glitches, State House News reports.
A study has identified undetected inflammation from Lyme disease as the cause of three abrupt deaths of young people over the last 13 months in the Northeast, suggesting fatalities due to the disease may be more common than previously believed.
The nation’s airports make the case to Congress that they need to charge higher passenger fees to fund infrastructure upgrades, Governing reports. Meanwhile, everybody gets riled up over the prospect of cell phone calls on planes.
The operator of the New England power grid warns that the North Shore could face “controlled blackouts” if a proposed natural gas-fired power plant in Salem is not built on time. The warning disputes claims made by the Conservation Law Foundation that the fossil fuel plant is not needed, the Salem News reports.
The Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound, the group leading the charge against Cape Wind, receives half of its money in 2012 from one donor, CommonWealth reports.
The state gives Beverly $45,000 and the city contributes another $150,000 to buy five electric vehicles and charging stations, the Salem News reports.
The chief of staff for U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, who was abruptly fired by the Tennessee senator, had “hundreds” of child pornography videos and pictures on his home computer when he was arrested after police used a battering ram to enter the house.
Time Warner Cable, unhappy with the cost and content of New England Cable News, is planning to pull the channel off its system at the end of the year, the Berkshire Eagle reports.
Aaron Kushner, the owner of the Orange County Register, tells his staff he plans to use them to launch a new newspaper called the Los Angeles Register serving all of Los Angeles county.
Fall River Fire Capt. Jeffrey Bacon was suspended for filing a false report against a fellow firefighter claiming he accepted a 2-pound bag of scallops from an area businesswoman. But the best part of the story is the Herald News headline: “Bacon wrapped in scallop scandal.”James Bennet, writing in The Atlantic, takes issue with long-form journalism.