UO pres on athletics vs. academics: 'There's a little bit of envy here'

UO pres on athletics vs. academics: 'There's a little bit of envy here' »Play Video

EUGENE, Ore. -- Call it the "Rose Bowl bump."

"Our freshman applications for next year are up 15 percent," University of Oregon president Richard Lariviere said.

Lariviere said growing interest in Oregon is partly due to the football team's success -- and the exposure that comes with it.

Think and Drink

Lariviere will be discussing the role sports in american culture at an event Friday in eugene. The "think and drink" discussion begins at 5:30 p.m. at Cozmic Pizza.

University of Oregon athletic director Mike Bellotti will also be on the panel.

"The University of Oregon, for example, had its logo in 15 and a half million homes for four hours during the Rose Bowl," he said. "That's great for the university."

But the focus on winning has also alienated students and faculty who say the academic side is getting sidelined.

They point to the Jaqua Center, a new multi-million dollar study facility reserved almost exclusively for student-athletes.

Lariviere said such concerns are misplaced.

"I think there's a little bit of envy here," he said, "because someone's got something that someone else doesn't have."

He said big-time sports bring in big-time bucks -- and as state support declines, the University needs all the help it can get.

So while Lariviere -- who is also a professor of Sanskrit -- wishes academics got more attention, it's sports that put schools like Oregon on the map.

"People know about the U of O, they know about the university of Michigan, North Carolina, Texas, Berkeley because of the athletics program," he said, "not necessarily because of the quality of their Sanskrit programs."

Extended interview excerpt