Tonight, Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning will speak for an hour at Gallagher-Iba Arena for a hefty fee of $105,000.
The event is sponsored by the Student Government Association Speaker’s Board.
Following what was certainly their best decision since I have been at OSU, bringing Bill Nye to campus, the SGA Speaker’s Board has made a big mistake.
The first thing that came to mind when I heard about Peyton Manning coming to campus was when the Speaker’s Board brought NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal to speak in 2012. After an hour of dancing and erection jokes, most students left disappointed. I am an avid sports fan, and I know Manning is a class act and a solid role model, but I don’t think it’s appropriate to be bring athletes to campus who have no history or special connection with the university. There are legions of worthwhile academics and leaders SGA could bring to speak. It seems ironic that last Thursday, Stanford biology professor William Durham spoke in a room in Classroom Building, while we fill a sports arena to hear a professional athlete to whom we feel no connection speak about his time with teams we have no affiliation with.
But what truly irks me about this event is the outrageous sum SGA was willing to shell out for an hourlong event. The OSU student body seems to agree. In a poll on ocolly.com, 81 percent said the event is not worth the price tag (as of April 15). In my conversations with people around campus, it seems many are quite taken aback to hear that such a large amount of money is being spent on such a fleeting investment. If the event is indeed an hour long, as reported by newsok.com, we will be paying Manning $1,750 per minute for his time. In March 2012, Manning signed a 5 year, 96 million dollar contract with the Broncos. What blows my mind is that when you do the math, based on a 40-hour work week, $105,000 is actually more per hour than Manning is paid to be the quarterback of the Denver Broncos (in fact, more than 11 times more).
The total cost of an Oklahoma resident to attend OSU is $17,280 a year according to okstate.edu. That means a student could attend OSU full time for over 6 years for the amount of money we are paying Manning for one hour. Imagine what good that money could do if it was instead put into scholarship funds or into refurbishing buildings or into attracting world class professors.
I really like Peyton Manning. What he has been able to accomplish following both major surgery and a team change has been nothing short of awe-inspiring. And I hope Manning will continue to be a role model by donating the entirety of his payment minus travel expenses to a charity of his choice. And in the future, I hope SGA won’t be so willing to spend immorally large amounts of money on highly controversial investments.
Calvin Warner is a philosophy and Spanish senior.