“Give Me $500 on Professor Jenkins, Straight Up….”

Last fall the Board of Trustees at Purdue University initiated a policy that prohibits its faculty, staff, and students from betting on sporting events in which a Purdue team participates.  No joke. 

Not surprisingly, Purdue’s ability to effectively enforce this policy has been questioned.  And now the gambling industry has taken its boldest step yet to separate college professors from their wages.  Beginning on March 1st, faculty across the country will be able to place bets on Tenure and Promotion applications at their school.  

According to Sonny “Sweetmeat” Credenza, Director of Gaming Operations at Bellagio Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, gamblers will be able to bet on the success or failure of a candidate’s application at multiple levels: department, academic division (e.g., Arts & Sciences), Dean, university-wide committee, Provost, and President.  “The beauty of the system,” says Credenza, “is that you’ll be able to bet in favor of a candidate at one level, and against that same candidate at a higher level.  Our professional oddsmakers are  thoroughly trained in using regression analysis to take into account scholarly productivity, teaching performance, service to the school, race, gender identity, national origin, post-modernist leanings, institutional culture, and other pertinent factors when establishing betting lines.  We’ll provide customers with briefing sheets on every candidate at their college or university.  A well-informed gambler is a happy gambler!

“One exciting side effect of T & P betting is that it promises to generate heightened interest across the campus in the overall Tenure and Promotion process.  Typically, Professor Jones in Political Science could care less if Professor Turdball in Mechanical Engineering gets tenure or not.  But, trust me, on March 1st he’ll start caring big-time if he has skin in the game!  Talk about March Madness!  And 20% of all casino T & P profits will go back to the schools to invest as they wish.  Do I hear the phrase ‘win-win’?”  

When a reporter commented that “things could get awkward if you bet against a colleague you know personally,” Credenza quickly responded, “that’s your problem, not our problem.  But a little common sense can go a long way.  For example, if you score a big hit, don’t be a d**k and go out and buy a Porsche 911 the day after it’s announced that your colleague has been turned down for tenure.  That colleague might suspect that the two events are related.

“Look, we’ve taken a tedious, time-consuming faculty-review process that only the candidates and their significant others used to care about, and transformed it into a data-driven Mardi Gras that will engage the whole campus.  What’s not to love?”

One can only hope that the Board of Trustees at Purdue will agree.