back to article University of Florida drops plans to axe CompSci for sports

A plan by the University of Florida (UF) to axe most of its computer science department while increasing sports funding is being reconsidered after the news went viral. In the last six years the Florida state government has cut funding to the university by nearly 25 per cent, and in an effort to save $1.4m UF decided to …


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  1. Jeebus

    I have an awesome idea.

    "We're suffering a brain drain and a widening skill gap in technology, specifically in IT, so we must cut CompSci funding and put it into boneheads playing a shitty version of proper rugby"

    Watch out China, the Florida Quarterbacks with Ha><><0R your Gibsons.

  2. Neil Barnes Silver badge


    $90M on football, $30M deficit... we've all done harder sums than that one.

    But then, given that US education appears to be dominated by those who can run faster or carry a ball further rather than those whose skills will be *needed*, I suppose I shouldn't be surprised.

    1. Captain Save-a-ho

      Re: Deficit?

      Not $90M spent on football. They reported expenses for the 2010-2011 season of only $26,263,539, but pulled in revenues of $72,807,236. THAT's why they want to spend more money on football.

      Validated from here:

  3. Chad H.

    I have a solution

    Defict of 30 mil, yet spending 90 mil on vanity programmes like sports...

    1. Tom 13

      Re: I have a solution

      In the US, rugby would be the vanity program, football (proper football, not that piker game with the round thing) is the cash cow, and it supports all the vanity sports programs at the university.

      I smell a rat on the alleged leak. This reads to me like a shakedown of the state to get more money into their programs. Threaten to cut the computer science program unless they get more money, leak it, and voila! The predictable outcry restore state funding so they don't have to cut the truly wasteful expenditures like Wymin's Studies and Queer Power.

      1. ItsNotMe

        @ Tom 13

        "...(proper football, not that piker game with the round thing)..."

        You mean that game where those big bruisers have to be all protected with massive padding and helmets, so as not to hurt their delicate little bodies? That kind of football?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    College sports is big money in the US, the sports program is most probably funding academic work rather than the other way around

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Solutions

      College sports *is* big money in the US, but the funding does *not* go back to academic work. I worked at the University of Florida Foundation while going to school there and got to see where all the money went - right into sports (and Bernie Machen's bonus for doing a crappy job). It was really disheartening. One of the years we won the national championship they built another wing in the stadium while the Math department had a ban on printing handouts because their funding was so low. It makes a lot of sense because college is a business out to make money, but it still sucks.

    2. James Micallef Silver badge

      Re: Solutions

      College sports in the US is a racket. The athletes, who do all the work and provide all the show, are not allowed to be paid anything at all, not allowed to do any sponsorship contracts, not allowed to accept ANYTHING at all (athletes get busted for accepting a free meal that costs $50).

      All the money goes to the ICAA and the colleges, who might actually spend a part of it on education but really a lot of it goes on sporting infrastructure for minor sports (it's only american football and basketball that really make money, the dozens of other sports are subsidised by the big two), and of course to pay for the big 2 sports themselves - while players get nothing, coaches have multi-million salaries and facilities are state of the art, (60,000 or 70,000 seater stadiums for american football).

      There's also no real academic value in player scholarships. The original idea was that college athletes are still studying, and can have a 'civilian' career if they don't make the cut to sports pros, but in reality there is huge pressure from the colleges for teaching departments to overlook poor grades, and none of the athletes in the big 2 sports are learning anything at all, so the ones that don't make it are doubly screwed

      1. Tom 13

        Re: College sports in the US is a racket.

        Only if the college/university runs it that way.

        First up, I'm a geek, not a jock. Complete with ALL the nerd implications, including lack of girlfriend/wife. And I never went to a football game while in college. But one of the reasons we PSU grads are PISSED at that the uni did to Joe Paterno, is that he DIDN'T run things that way. His football players studied REAL majors. I know, because through a fluke I wound up rooming in one of the dorms where a bunch of them lived. And one of the freshman players was right there with the rest of us puzzling over some of the Intro to Calculus questions. Yeah, one of them did major in physical education, but he worked at that too. And anybody who didn't legitimately maintain their grades sat on the bench until they did. Sure there were tutor programs for the jocks. Joe made them use them.

        And Joe put a wing on the Pattee (uni library) that was almost as big as the original building. Plus bought the books for it. My roommate/landlord still remembers that all of the books in the Engineering Library (separate building from Pattee) were stamped as donated by Joe and Sue Paterno.

        Since I've graduated from college I've started going to games with friends and learned a respect for the sport itself. But even as geek snob at the university, I respected Joe and the football team precisely BECAUSE they emphasized the academics to the football team.

        1. ItsNotMe
          Thumb Up

          Re: College sports in the US is a racket.

          You are correct about Joe Paterno...he did indeed care more for the athlete as a student, than as an athlete...but the football program at Penn State has been the RARE exception in US college sports...NOT the rule.

          The vast majority of major college/university sports programs in the US DO NOT benefit the institution as a whole, but the program that is drawing in the money. And the "student athletes" are used as pawns for the betterment of the program...not the betterment of the student.

      2. Andrew Norton

        Re: Solutions

        " and facilities are state of the art, (60,000 or 70,000 seater stadiums for american football)."

        Think bigger.

        University of Georgia has a 92,746 seater stadium (that's bigger than Wembley or any in the UK) in a town the size of Exeter (about 100,000 residents, 1/3 of them students). UF (the university here) is only slightly smaller than Wembley (90,000) with a capacity of 55,548.

        Also having stadiums bigger than Wembley are Louisianna State (92,542), UCLA (92,542), University of Southern California (93,607), then there's Soccer City in johannasburg, Camp Nou in Barcelona, and the Iranian national stadium, and the Melbourne Cricket ground (which takes us over the 100k seats line). Ready for more US Universities? University of Texas at Austin (100,119), University of Alabama (101,821), Ohio State University (102,329), University of Tennesee (102,455), [Mexico national stadium, 105k], Penn State University (106,572) and finally University of Michigan (109,901)

        There's only two bigger in the world, one in India (Salt Lake Stadium) and the North Korean national stadium. Both of those countries have reputations for less than stellar infrastructure.

        Want to know why US education is so bad? There's a starting point...

  5. Gene Cash Silver badge


    You'll notice they're still getting rid of the department, just not firing anyone right now. That'll happen after the media goes away.

    UF's basically a party school, and their CS department sucks anyways.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Meh.

      I get that your trolling, but here's UF's CS department ranking:

      According to that list the CS department is ranked 39th in the nation (a list where the higher ranks are domniated by prestigious private schools). You'll also notice it's the top-ranked in Florida. Unless your standards are incredible, I'd say it's pretty damn good.

  6. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    Really who needs CompSci?

    It's all boring. People looking at screens and stuff. Anyway, computers are made in China these days and Apple sells them all over the world. And if things go really downhill, we can just print money anyways.

    Better have more jumping colored people.

    And the fifth fleet patrolling the Persian Gulf. Yeah. That's the ticket.

  7. Wibble

    What's a degree in sports for?

    I cannot think of any subject more pointless than "sport" at a degree level. A "sports degree" is a complete oxymoron.

    OK, sport science, studying to become a medical type person maybe. But sports for the sake of it is utterly pointless.

    What's the world coming to?

    Can I do a degree in drinking beer?

  8. Anonymous Coward

    Sounds like my high school. Back in the mid '90s, my high school - a fairly poor rural one to begin with - was in the midst of the usual taxpayer revolt over paying anything for education. ("We haven't got an education", the residents presumably reasoned, "so why should they get one?")

    At the time - again, this is 1995, 1996 - we had 20 computers. In the high school. Apple IIs. There were three Apple IIgses and even a mac classic if you really were lucky. A chat with a teacher resulted in my seeing that they were paying (via a convenient retailer specializing in academics, natch) $500+ for a RGB composite monitor for the Apple IIs. In 1995.

    The most advanced thing about the computer courses - 'computer science' would be vastly too far a leap - was Oregon Trail. And even with that you had to suffer through a whole cattle ride full of happenstance gravesites with labels like:



    DIED OCT 3 1859 OF


    ...Shithead, eh? Wow. Real genius there, dearly departed former player of floppy disk #21. Probably a member of the swimming team. Why the swimming team? Because while the academic department was using enough 20-year-old computers to supply 5% of its students, the swimming team was building a *second* indoor Olympic-sized swimming pool.

    Numero deux.

    My school had 10% as many swimming pools as computers.

    At the same time, the after-school math and science programs were axed, and, well, the Apple IIs stayed Apple IIs.

    I understand that now they give all the students netbooks, so presumably things have changed.

    Or, maybe it's just that now they have 40 swimming pools.

  9. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    League tables

    It's a little more complex than spending the money on football.

    They have a number of competing depts all teaching Computer Science/Software engineering/Programming etc

    Their CS dept has a lot of ex-industry people with years of real world experience but few PhDs - which means that in the US equivalent of the Good university Guide they get a very low score. But by moving them to engineering they can cancel this out.

  10. Mark Pawelek

    Where's the money going?

    - What size pay rise will Gerhard Ritter get now that he's chairing a much larger department? Call yourself journalists? - you need to remember the basic question - where's the money going?

  11. Gordo Rex

    It's the Priotities

    On the one hand, I can see where it looks like UF has its priorities all wrong.

    On the other hand, in my two-plus decades as a programmer, I never had 90,000 people cheering me on as I tried to find a bug.

    Plus, knowing that some of my best work was on a project that finally got optimized for the 8086 a mere 6 months after the 80386 was introduced......

    I should have done more weightlifting.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: It's the Priotities

      But do you have half-naked blonde teenage cheerleaders?

      Since we introduced them here appreciation for a good SVN checkin has really improved

  12. asdf

    Was concerned until

    A degree from Football/Party U (basically all the Florida public schools) ranks right up there with a degree from ITT to most employers. Sadly you would get a better education from an online scam school anyway. These schools are nothing more than football factories anyway.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Was concerned until

      You can't really believe that. One of the statistics UF likes to tell everyone is it has the highest rate of incoming National Merit Scholars of any public university in the nation. So the people there generally aren't stupid. And companies know that. Speaking as a graduate from UF and that I had my pick of tech companies and now work for Microsoft, I'd say the degree is respected (though it may lose respect if UF loses the department). UCF grads have very similar options. Anyway, nice trolling. Now if you're talking just about Florida State... :)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Was concerned until

        " I had my pick of tech companies and now work for Microsoft..."

        You know, around here, you run the risk of someone arguing that the above sentence alone justifies categorizing UF grads as mental lightweights.

        I don't agree, I'm just saying... maybe leave that bit out next time. :P

  13. Denarius Silver badge

    dont tell OZ

    idiots here will do the same to please media remnants who think sport is something you watch.

    we can always rob 3rd world countries of their hard earned expensive degree level people.

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