Vermando challenges me.

You can have Bolin or you can have crew. You can’t have both. Choose.

Premise rejected. He hates one, loves the other, and is trying to make us choose. That’s good rhetoric but crap logic.

I will bet David $50 that in the 2011-2012 school year that Williams will have both. Don’t think we can have both? I call BS.

Bet accepted! Details below.

1) To make it clear, I think that we should use a specific date, say September 1, 2011. We also need to specify just want it means to have both Bolin and crew. For example, it is almost impossible to believe that crew would be ended, the boats and equipment sold. Instead, it might be turned into a club sport like WUFO or rugby. So, instead of a complete ending of either program, I am just predicting the announcement before September 1, 2011 of a major decrease in status/funding.

For example, the the College might announce by that date that it has put the Bolin on hold and it is no longer accepting applications. But there might still be a Bolin fellow on campus. After all, the offers made in the spring of 2010 will be for two years.

2) It is much more likely that Bolin will go before crew. My sense (contrary opinions welcome) is that crew would not be among the first sports to be cut. First, it is wildly successful, especially the female teams. Second, it is cheap, at least on a per participant basis. Third, it tends to attract (?) rich students. (The College is not poor enough that it needs to move away from need-blind but it sure would like to increase the yield among rich students.)

3) This is an easy bet for me to make because I find it very hard to imagine that the College won’t cut the Bolin. We have to cut $8.5 million from endowment spending for 2010-2011. Where is this money going to come from if not from things like the Bolin? The fat has already been sliced. The faculty does not want to maintain a salary freeze. Something has to give.

Check out the Ephs on the Ad Hoc Advisory Committee on Budget Priorities. They are serious folks who spent all spring coming up with ways to save millions of dollars. You can be sure that the Bolin made their list. Where is it on the list? Right at the tippity-top. If you disagree, what items do you think are at the top? Can you really name $8.5 million of savings that these Ephs would consider less important than the Bolin? I can’t.

Again, the point of this post is not so much the bet itself as my continuing attempts to convince readers that the financial crisis is incredibly serious, that millions of dollars of cuts to “essential” programs are coming and that we need to start having a hard, and public, conversation about what spending matters and what does not. For good or for ill, EphBlog is the only place where that conversation is happening.

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