Equal Justice Under Law
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LA Decision: (1)  (2)(3)(4)(5)

Scholarship Program
Public v. Private
Judicial Influence
Trips for Judges
Act 43 of 1884
Union, Justice, Confidence
Response to the "Louisiana Decision"
05/05/03 Louisiana Legislators are encouraged to support House Bill No. 651 to end Tulane's legislative scholarship program and the tax breaks asociated with it.  See letter.
05/29/03 Tulane's Board of Trustees decides to defer a decision on the fate of the popular Green Wave football program until June 10, 2003.  Board chariman John Koerner explains: "There's a lot of information to chew on."
  • Benjamin Hochman, "Tulane delays decision on athletics," The Times-Picayune, New Orleans, May 30, 2003, p. D-1.
06/01/03 In a front-page article, The Times-Picayune details Tulane's financial woes and the possibility of cancelling its Division I college football program if its financial picture does not improve.  Cited is a study by University of New Orleans economist Tim Ryan showing that "Tulane events add at least $42 million annually to the New Orleans economy."

Tulane's implied threat to cancel the sports program if faced with financial cutbacks comes at a time when state legislators will be voting on continuing the legislative scholarship program and the tax breaks to Tulane that benefit so few Louisiana residents.

  • Coleman Warner, "Tulane's fiscal woes not limited to sports," The Times-Picayune, New Orleans, June 1, 2003, p. A-1.
06/04/03 In another front-page article in The Times-Picayune, Tulane Athletic Director Rick Dickson, who is leading a fund-raising campaign, denies that Tulane is using the threat of dropping football to fuel more donations.
  • Josh Peter, "Eliminating football is one option at Tulane," The Times-Picayune, New Orleans, June 4, 2003, p. A-1.
06/05/03 Louisiana legislators are reminded that state subsidies to Tulane go to a private institution where 85% of the students are from out-of-state, and that these subsidies are at the expense of the state's own public educational system.  See letter.
06/10/03 Undisclosed "problems" with House Bill 651 resulted in its assignment to the House and Governmental Affairs Committee, and the bill was not yet schedued for the 2003 legislative session, which ends June 23, 2003.
  • Personal Communication from Representative Gary L. Smith's secretary, "Mary."
et seqq.
Decision Day for dropping Division I football for Tulane's Green Wave athletics program.  As predicted, Tulane's Board of Trustees did not cancel Tulane's Division I athletics program, while the threat of dropping it did succeed in fueling more donations.  House Bill 651 also continues to be delayed.
  • "Tulane Football To Remain Division 1-A," http://www.theneworleanschannel.com/sports/2260063/detail.html.
  • Benjamin Hochman, "The ballots are in: Football will stay," The Times-Picayune, New Orleans, June 11, 2003, p. A-1.
Football and the money it can bring has become such a high priority that Tulane has lobbied Congress to investigate sports regulations that have kept it from participating in the lucrative Bowl Championship Series (BCS) [1].  On September 4, 2003, Tulane president Scott Cowen addressed the House Judiciary Committee, claiming the current system "does not meet any test of fairness." [2]  At stake is a larger share of the annual $96 million proceeds from the college sports entertainment business [3].

Cowen, intent on becoming part of the political process that regulates college football, worked his way into being appointed the Conference USA representative to the NCAA Board of Directors [4] and then took his crusade for sports justice to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee [5].  As much of California was burning to the ground, the U.S. Senate elevated Tulane's issue of football fairness nearly to the status of a national emergency, meriting front-page coverage [6].  Two weeks later, Tulane hosted a National Symposium on Athletics Reform [7], to be followed by a top level conference of league presidents who will tackle the issue of which teams will get to kick the ball over the big-money goal posts [8].

While no concrete proposals came out of the high-level meeting, including how bowl revenues might be redistributed, the participants did consider proposals that could lead to change, particularly in 2005 – when present BCS contracts will expire [9].  It remains to be seen, however, whether Cowen's performance in the board room will be matched by Tulane's performance on the playing field.

When the dust finally settled, an additional (fifth) BCS bowl was created that will provide some opportunity for non-BCS teams like Tulane to participate and possibly benefit from a still undisclosed readjustment of the nearly $90 million in BCS revenue [10].  Unfortunately, the Sugar Bowl, which has been held in New Orleans every fourth year will now be held there every fifth year.  Hailing this as a victory, Cowen announced February 29, 2004 that the Coalition for Athletics Reform, which he organized to help reshape the college sports industry for the benefit of schools like Tulane, "is now out of business." [10]

Despite the positive spin, it is questionable whether any increase in revenue for Tulane that depends on the success of its sports program will ever make up for the 20% loss of Sugar Bowl traffic to New Orleans.

  1. Bruce Alpert, "Cowen's anti-BCS crusade to Congress; Potential antitrust violations focus of committee hearing," The Times-Picayune, New Orleans, August 19, 2003, p. E-1.
  2. John DeShazier, "Anti-BCS crusade a good cause," The Times-Picayune, New Orleans, September 6, 2003, p. D-1.
  3. Peter Finney, "BCS hunt about big cash," The Times-Picayune, New Orleans, September 10, 2003, p. D-1.
  4. Peter Barrouquere, "Tulane's Cowen joins NCAA board; Wave president to represent C-USA," The Times-Picayune, New Orleans, September 25, 2003, p. D-1.
  5. Bruce Alpert and Bill Walsh, "On the Hill; Cowen goes for extra point," The Times-Picayune, New Orleans, October 26, 2003, p. A-6.
  6. Bruce Alpert, "Bowl-game system gets penalty flag; Tulane president, some in Senate seek to revise college football policy," The Times-Picayune, New Orleans, October 30, 2003, p. A-1.
  7. "Higher Education Notes ... Tulane will host National Symposium on Athletics Reform," The Times-Picayune, New Orleans, November 8, 2003, p. B-1.
  8. Ted Lewis, "Monday Morning QB ... Cowen makes his pitch," The Times-Picayune, New Orleans, November 10, 2003, p. D-4.
  9. Benjamin Hochman and Ted Lewis, "Presidents agree BCS needs to be changed; Models to be tested before implemented," The Times-Picayune, New Orleans, November 17, 2003, p. D-1.
  10. Ted Lewis, "BCS plans to add fifth bowl in 2006; Title-game rotation would be extended a year," The Times-Picayune, New Orleans, March 1, 2004, p. D-1.
06/23/03 The 2003 legislative session ends, and House Bill 651 is withdrawn for lack of support.  The 2004 legislative session will convene on March 29, 2004.
07/10/03 A White Paper is sent to Louisiana legislators, media outlets, political organizations, concerned citizens and gubernatorial candidates urging a public debate of Tulane's legislative scholarship program and its status as a private institution.  Primary elections are scheduled for October 4, 2003.
09/25/03 A major gubernatorial debate, sponsored by Louisiana Public Broadcasting (LPB) and the Council for a Better Louisiana (CABL), was held on September 25, 2003 at Tulane University's Dixon Hall.  This venue precluded questions (the author submitted three) that could be embarassing to the university.  The 90-minute debate was rebroadcast September 26, 2003 on Channel 32, WLAE (PBS - New Orleans).

  • See: http://www.lpb.org/programs/governor2003/ (accessed August 28, 2003).
10/03/03 The Tulane legislative scholarship program emerged as an issue during the campaign when State Senator John J. Hainkel, Jr., in a Times-Picayune advertisement, refuted allegations made by an opponent in a previous campaign that his children had benefited from the legislative scholarship program [1].  In fact, Hainkel, a Tulane graduate, is on record as saying he would like to see the program abolished outright, thereby putting Tulane "on an equal footing" with other private institutions of higher learning, such as Loyola and Xavier universities [2].

Politicians consider legislative scholarships corrupting and a way to tarnish their opponents.  In the 2004 race for Judge, 4th Circuit Court of Appeal, candidate Barrie Beth Byrnes attacked her opponent, Roland Belsome, for having been awarded three years of Tulane scholarships by former mayor Dutch Morial [3].  Byrnes still lost the race to Judge Belsome, but by the slimmest of margins [4].

  1. "An open letter to the voters of Senate District 1 from Louisiana Senate President John Hainkel," The Times-Picayune, New Orleans, October 3, 2003, p. A-19.
  2. Joan Treadway, "Tulane plan isn't OK with all," The Times-Picayune, New Orleans, March 2, 1996, p. A-1.
  3. From a campaign brochure distributed March 8, 2004 (the day before the election) by the Committee to Elect Barrie Beth Byrnes.
  4. "Belsome wins seat in nail-biter; 4th Circuit judge race ends in photo finish," The Times-Picayune, New Orleans, March 10, 2004, p. A-8.
10/04/03 As a result of the primary election held today, Republican Bobby Jindal and Democrat Kathleen Blanco will face each other as gubernatorial candidates in the general election to be held November 15, 2003.
10/14/03 The first televised debate between the gubernatorial runoff candidates, Republican Bobby Jindal and Democrat Kathleen Blanco, focused on educational issues.  It was sponsored by Louisiana Public Broadcasting and was broadcast on WLAE-TV (Channel 32).  Much of the segment on higher education dealt with financial concerns and the lack of funds for desired improvements.

The issue of using public money for private purposes surfaced when Dan Turner of the Shreveport Times asked if the candidates supported the use of state funds to endow professorships in private schools such as Tulane University.  Both candidates nervously assured their audience that they favored the practice, while Blanco pointed out that the endowed professorship program attracts matching funds and "adds value" to Louisiana.

  • "The runoff: Round 1; Jindal, Blanco face off in the first debate," The Times-Picayune, New Orleans, October 15, 2003, p. A-1.
11/15/03 Voters elect Democrat Kathleen Babineaux Blanco Governor of Louisiana.  Although education was a prominent topic of the gubernatorial debates, the issue of Tulane's legislative scholarship program was not publicly discussed.  Blanco assumes the governor's office on January 12, 2004.
  • "It's Blanco; Come-from-behind victory gives La. its first female governor," The Times-Picayune, New Orleans, November 16, 2003, p. A-1.
12/30/03 Governor-elect Blanco and key advisors are reminded of the opportunity for reevaluating Tulane's legislative scholarship program and status as a private institution.
02/27/04 State legislators and Governor Blanco are advised of the merit of reassimilating Tulane's educational function into the state university system and reorganizing its commercial activities as a new corporate entity.
03/07/04 Suggestions are given to a state legislator who questioned where the state would find the financial resources to accomplish a takeover of Tulane University.
et seq.
During the first week in May, Scott Cowen led a delegation to Baton Rouge to point out to Governor Blanco and state legislators that the large percentage of out-of-state students at Tulane also meant a large influx of out-of-state money into Louisiana, thereby justifying further grants to Tulane from the otherwise cash-strapped state [1].  As with previous administrations, the lobbying was effective, and within three months Tulane received $4.3 million of public money for three endowed chairs and 13 professorships [2].
  1. Scott Cowen, "Tulane Talk," http://www2.tulane.edu/tulane_talk/tt_050704.cfm, accessed 07/21/04.
  2. "La. colleges get money for chairs, professorships; Public and private campuses benefit," The Times-Picayune, New Orleans, August 12, 2004, p. B-8.
09/30/04 Tulane reaffirmed its privatization of the University of Louisiana with a lecture fest commemorating the 170th anniversary of the founding of the Medical College of Louisiana, precursor to that public institution.
  • John Pope, "Wave of luminaries set to visit Tulane; Speakers celebrate school's anniversary," The Times-Picayune, New Orleans, September 27, 2004, p. A-1.
  • "170th Anniversary Website," Tulane University Health Sciences Center, http://alumni.hsc.tulane.edu/170th/symposium.html, accessed 09/27/04.
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