The purpose of football at public institutions

On Wednesday (August 15), the Idaho Board of Education went into an executive session, as it is allowed to do to discuss certain specific things permitted under Idaho law. The default for public meetings is open doors.

The general subject was fairly well known, and of statewide interest, especially to football fans. The University of Idaho was planning to realign its athletics participation in intercollegiate organizations. The details get complex, but the Idaho Statesman summarized, “Idaho plans to play as a Football Bowl Subdivision independent and join the Big Sky Conference in other sports.” None of that has been especially secret; shift alternatives have been discussed for a while now.

So the question – why did the Board of Education feel the need, or justify, a closed executive session?

A correspondent (hat tip here) notes the language on the board’s agenda papers:

EXECUTIVE SESSION (Closed to the Public)

University of Idaho
“2. I move to go into Executive Session pursuant to Idaho Code §67-2345(1)(d) and (e) – “To consider records that are exempt from disclosure as provided in chapter 3, title 9, Idaho Code; … and to consider preliminary negotiations involving matters of trade or commerce in which the governing body is in competition with governing bodies in other states or nations” [emphases added]

So that’s what our public institutions are explicitly doing: Athletics are trade or commerce, in competition with other states.

Okay. Just wanted to be clear about that.

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