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Bloomington Herald-Times articles

Week of 07/09/05 - 07/15/05

(Articles appear in reverse chronological order.)

Commitment to excellence in what areas?; Some faculty, students upset that IU is using excellence funds on athletic scholarships
by Steve Hinnefeld
July 14, 2005

Indiana University will spend more than a half million dollars in "commitment to excellence" funds during the next year on athletic scholarships, with the money coming from a $1,000 tuition increase that took effect two years ago.

University officials say the scholarships are in line with the original plans for the tuition increase, which included using the money to leverage private donations for student financial aid.

But some faculty and students say the increase would never have been approved if people had known the money would be used to support athletics.

"I'm really astonished," said Bob Eno, who was Bloomington Faculty Council president when trustees passed the initiative. "I think I can say that, at the time, none of us envisioned this sort of intention."

The IU student body president called the decision to fund athletic scholarships "irresponsible." And critics said it seems to be part of a trend of shifting support from academics to athletics.

The cost of advising and career services for student-athletes is being moved from the athletic department to the campus budget over a three-year period. And in May, the IU trustees extended a $30-per-year student athletic fee in spite of objections from student and faculty groups.

Most of the tuition going to athletic scholarships results from a decision for IU to match the earnings from a $10 million gift last month from Larry and Lucie Glaubinger. The gift, the largest ever to IU athletics, was designed for financial aid for student-athletes.

IU trustees approved the $1,000 tuition increase in June 2002, and new students began paying it the next year. The funds have been used to establish academic programs that IU considers strategically important, including human biology, interdisciplinary science and cognitive science.

When the initiative was established, officials said significant revenue would go to financial aid to ensure the $1,000 increase didn't price students out of IU.

The university has increased financial-aid spending, and $3 million of this year's $22.1 million commitment-to-excellence budget is earmarked for undergraduate scholarships. But the figure includes matching funds for scholarship gifts, which go to programs the donors designate.

So far, the campus has raised more than $19 million in scholarship donations, including the $10 million Glaubinger gift, said Neil Theobald, vice chancellor for budget and administration. It will spend $965,500 in commitment-to-excellence funds to match the interest from the gifts, with $514,500 going to athletic scholarships.

Ken Gros Louis, the IU Bloomington chancellor, said matching scholarship gifts will double the effectiveness of financial aid provided by the increased tuition.

He said student-athletes face rising tuition costs the same as other students. He said Larry Glaubinger, a retired business executive who also has funded IU academic scholarships, has long been concerned about the escalating expense of athletic scholarships.

"I don't think of it as athletic scholarships. It's student scholarships," Gros Louis said. "Student scholarships' getting matched is a good thing, and if it happens to athletes, so be it."

Kumble Subbaswamy, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, said IU deans talked about the issue and decided to match donations for a variety of scholarships.

"At that point, where do you draw the line?" he said. "These are student-athletes. We're not talking about professional athletes."

But Eno, a professor of East Asian languages and cultures, said IU officials should have consulted with faculty and students about using the tuition increase for athletic scholarships. He said the decision limits the aid available for needy students who aren't athletes.

"The promise we would ensure access was the reason we were able to persuade the trustees to adopt the initiative," he said.

Sociology professor David Zaret said the scholarship funding - coupled with the shift of $750,000 in athletics advising costs to the campus at the direction of IU President Adam Herbert - amounts to a $1.3 million annual subsidy for athletics. And the student athletic fee provides another $1.1 million for the athletic department.

Zaret, a former executive associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, said the shift suggests athletics are a top priority for upper-level IU administration.

"All this recalls the legend of Emperor Nero, fiddling while fire destroyed the city of Rome," he said. "At IU, central administrators watch football while financial pressures erode the integrity and reputation of IU academic programs."

Alex Shortle, president of the IU Student Association, said he likes the idea of using tuition funds to leverage financial aid donations. But he said students "would be very, very angry" to learn their tuition increase is paying for athletic scholarships.

"I think it's very irresponsible for it to come out of students' pockets," Shortle said. "It should come out of alumni's pockets or out of ticket sales."

Budgeting for excellence

Indiana University's Bloomington campus 2005-06 budget for commitment to excellence includes:

  • Comprehensive Program in Human Biology: $5.39 million.
  • 21st Century Interdisciplinary Science: $4.7 million.
  • Undergraduate scholarships: $3 million.
  • Cognitive Science: New Frontiers in the Study of Mind, Learning and Intelligence: $2.01 million.
  • Understanding the "Two-Thirds World": $1.49 million.
  • Second Era in the School of Music: $1.45 million.
  • Renewing Leadership in Arts & Humanities: $935,000.
  • Graduate student fellowships: $900,000.
  • Research in Ocular & Systemic Eye Disease: $519,600.
  • Interdisciplinary Environmental Science: $473,750.
  • Graduate recruitment/lower division instruction: $420,933.
  • Excellence in Cybersecurity: $350,584.
  • American studies: $70,000.
  • Statistics department: $66,000.
  • Enrollment shortfall: $310,638.
  • Total: $22.09 million.

1997 - 2005 Hoosiertimes Inc. No commercial reproduction without prior written consent.

IU cutting faculty; Lower state funding, other factors prompt elimination of some faculty, support staff
by Steve Hinnefeld
July 13, 2005

Indiana University employees are getting at least minimal raises, and high-profile programs aren't yet on the chopping block.

But appearances aside, there's serious cutting going on as campus officials struggle to balance their 2005-06 budgets.

"The pain is palpable. It's felt all around," said Kumble Subbaswamy, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. "And the question is, when can we see some relief and some turnaround?"

Responding to reduced state funding and other factors, the Bloomington campus is eliminating more than 35 faculty positions, most of them in the College of Arts and Sciences and the School of Education. Several schools and departments have imposed hiring freezes for faculty or staff. Travel and support services are being reduced.

"This is without question the most difficult budget year that we've had," said Gerardo Gonzalez, dean of the IU School of Education since 2000.

At the same time, IU is spending millions of dollars to build up targeted programs, using "commitment to excellence" funds from a $1,000 student tuition increase that took effect in 2003. But under a pledge made when the increase was approved, the tuition increment isn't being used to "backfill" the budget for cuts made elsewhere.

Neil Theobald, IU vice chancellor for budget and administration, said there are two primary reasons for the budget difficulties.

First, a shortfall in freshman enrollment last fall cost the campus more than $5 million in lost tuition, and the loss carries over to the 2005-06 budget. Second, the budget that the Indiana General Assembly approved this spring cut operating funds for the campus by more than $3 million.

"You can't take that much out of the budget without affecting faculty lines, travel and all those things," Theobald said.

IU deans also point to political pressure to hold the line on tuition. Tuition and fees for most students increased 4 percent last year and will rise 4.9 percent each of the next two years.

Among the cuts included in the 2005-06 budget:

  • The College of Arts and Sciences eliminated 23 full-time faculty positions and 35 graduate teaching assistants.
  • The School of Education eliminated 10 1/2 faculty positions.
  • The Kelley School of Business froze staff hiring, and the Law School and School of Public and Environmental Affairs froze faculty hiring.

Raises for faculty and staff were generally held to 1-3 percent.

The reductions in faculty amount to nearly 3 percent of IU Bloomington's tenure-track faculty. But they're higher in some areas: The School of Education is losing about 10 percent of its tenure-track positions.

Professors aren't being laid off, but many are being lost to retirement and "raiding" by other schools. And when they go, many aren't being replaced. The results, officials say, will include larger class sizes, fewer course offerings and greater reliance on graduate students and part-time adjunct instructors.

Losing faculty can also harm IU's reputation and hurt its standing in national rankings.

"How do you cover classes? Well, you do that in less than optimal ways," Subbaswamy said.

In the Kelley School of Business, faculty who leave are still being replaced, but faculty positions generally haven't been added for five years or so, said Dan Smith, the interim dean.

But the school's freeze on replacing staff - including academic and career advisers and a director of alumni affairs -- is having an impact on students, he said.

"Their life revolves largely around the classroom and around trying to find a job," Smith said. "Not replacing career advisers and counselors, we think, has compromised our service level."

Gonzalez, the education dean, said the cuts his school is making aren't sustainable.

"Unless the state makes good on its commitment to higher education -- or the trustees are able to raise tuition to the levels that our peer institutions are doing -- we, I think, are going to be in for a very difficult time in the foreseeable future."

Subbaswamy said state officials have high expectations for Indiana's research universities to educate large numbers of students and serve as engines for economic growth. Those are laudable goals, he said, but they can't be reached without resources - if not from state appropriations, then from private fundraising and market-based decisions about how much tuition students will pay.

Cutting faculty, he said, "is obviously not sustainable in the long run. If each year you lose 20 faculty, you don't have to go too far to do the math."

Smith said it may be a fact of life that government will expect universities to do more with less. He said the business school has turned not only to raising private funds but to increasing productivity -- for example, by having faculty teach more online courses.

He said spending cuts and hiring freezes may be necessary, but they can't be a long-term strategy.

"I've never seen a school cut its way to the top," he said.

Faculty reductions

Indiana University departments are cutting back on full-time faculty positions. Among the faculty jobs eliminated for the 2005-06 budget year:

  • College of Arts and Sciences 23.0
  • School of Education 10.5
  • School of Law 1.0
  • School of Optometry 0.6
  • Health, Physical Ed and Recreation 1.0

In addition, the law school and SPEA have frozen faculty hiring.

'Excellence' programs still getting millions of dollars
By Steve Hinnefeld
July 13, 2005

For cash-strapped IU schools and departments, the budget giveth and the budget taketh away.

The Bloomington campus is spending millions of dollars on high- priority "commitment to excellence" programs at the same time deans are struggling to make ends meet, cutting faculty positions and imposing hiring freezes.

The commitment-to-excellence initiative, funded with a $1,000 student tuition increase that took effect in 2003, includes adding faculty in areas identified as being of strategic importance.

University trustees were clear when they approved it that the money should be used to boost the university's quality and reputation, not to offset reductions in state funding.

"It's a reallocation of resources," said Neil Theobald, IU vice chancellor for budget and administration. "In a way, it's like you're cutting off your left arm and pumping up your right arm."

The Bloomington campus will spend $22.1 million this year on commitment-to-excellence projects. They include new programs in human biology, interdisciplinary science, cognitive science and international studies, as well as efforts to replace retiring faculty in music and the humanities.

"In many ways, it's been a life saver," Gerardo Gonzalez, dean of the School of Education, said of the initiative.

But some IU officials are starting to question whether it's feasible to keep building up targeted programs when some core departments are eroded by a loss of funding.

Kumble Subbaswamy, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, said the budget challenges IU has been facing weren't foreseen when trustees approved the tuition initiative in 2002.

"Circumstances change drastically," he said. "You do have to at least acknowledge that."

Sharpening focus of IU critical for the future
July 10, 2005

A report recommending what the varying missions of the different Indiana University campuses should be presents a solid blueprint for the future of IU.

The report, released last week, was the product of one of President Adam Herbert's priorities for the university: to determine the best and most logical role for IU's eight campuses.

The report has been almost two years in the making. The next phase should take on even more urgency: adopting and implementing key recommendations.

The report spells out why this is important.

"As the competition for limited state resources intensifies, it is essential that every publicly supported higher education institution define the distinctive contributions it is making in return for the level of state investment, therefore, mission clarity is essential for public sector institutions," it says.

The quicker IU implements the recommendations, the better positioned it will be to compete for these funds -- and to serve the people of the state of Indiana.

The report acknowledges the importance of research at universities in fueling the state's economy, and that not all of IU's campuses can be expected to participate in research at a high level. That's all the more reason to spell out the differences in campuses.

Still, it is important to maintain IU's position in providing access to higher education, educating the populace and serving diverse constituencies. IU-Bloomington can continue to do that, while focusing even more sharply on its research role.

The recommendations correctly spell out that Bloomington should remain the flagship campus of the university. This is important because IU needs an identity -- not to be a university with no recognized hub. Bloomington provides that identity, in physical beauty, academic excellence and cultural opportunities.

The additional recommendation that the Bloomington campus discontinue virtually all associate degrees makes sense because those degrees duplicate what Ivy Tech Community College and the regional campuses will be able to do.

Recommendations for the other campuses are on target, too, from continuing to develop the Indianapolis campus as the urban research campus of IU and the state, to the addition of a School of Health and Human Services to the Gary campus to make it a "destination," to the addition of a small number of specialist and doctoral programs at Fort Wayne to meet regional needs near the state's second largest city.

Clarity about the role of the different campuses was long overdue. It can only improve IU to more clearly identify the strengths and opportunities of each individual campus and build the future around them.

The next step is implementing the recommendations. It's time for that hard work to begin.

Local mosque hit by firebomb; Molotov cocktail thrown through window ignites small fire in Bloomington Islamic Center's kitchen
by James Boyd
July 10, 2005

BLOOMINGTON -- The bomb came through the window sometime before 2 a.m., leaving fractured glass and the tattered remains of a Quran in its wake.

Federal investigators are looking into what they called a hate crime Saturday, after vandals threw a Molotov cocktail into a kitchen window at the Bloomington Islamic Center, 1925 E. Atwater Ave.

Nathan Ainslie and Dennis Childers sat in the kitchen Saturday morning, surrounded by police tape, burning with questions.

Childers, who chairs the outreach program with the Islamic society, could only wonder why such a thing would happen to anyone.

"It's just surreal," he said, the smell of charred wood still rising to nose-level.

"You're horrified by it. It's surreal to see something like this happen to a symbol of your faith and culture."

FBI spokeswoman Wendy Osborne said officers with their Joint Terrorism Task Force are investigating the incident in conjunction with Bloomington police, who are handling the crime scene investigation.

Citing the ongoing nature of the investigation, Osborne said she couldn't release specific details about evidence that had been recovered from the scene.

Childers, a member of the society's executive board, said a man who had been traveling through the area had stopped in to pray.

"We're blessed that at about 2 a.m., he went to get some water and saw (the fire). He happened to have a gallon of water in his hand and was able to put it right out."

One window was shattered, a screen was bent, and there was still burnt wood scattered on the kitchen floor Saturday afternoon.

"Had it been in a carpeted area, this would've been much more serious," Ainslie said.

Saturday's act of hate came just two days after a series of bombs ripped through downtown London, killing upward of 50 people.

"I would find it hard not to connect them," Childers said. "It's the only thing I can think of that would spark this."

Both Childers and Ainslie said they hadn't received any threats, and had no leads as to who may have committed the act.

"Nobody, as far as I know, saw or heard anything," Childers said.

A similar incident occurred at the Planned Parenthood office at the end of March when an arsonist threw an incendiary device into the office foyer. Police wouldn't speculate on any possible connection.

"We don't understand why people would do this, to hurt people," Ainslie said. "We've got to rise above being animals and be the humans we are."

Indian student wins Won-Joon Yoon memorial scholarship
by Steve Hinnefeld
July 10, 2005

BLOOMINGTON -- Indiana University graduate student Tanvi Lal said she's grateful for the financial assistance she will have as the 2005 recipient of IU's Won-Joon Yoon Memorial Scholarship.

But she is especially pleased to receive an award that recognizes students for showing tolerance and understanding through service, personal commitment and academic achievement.

"I feel very honored, actually," she said. "It was a great honor to receive that scholarship as opposed to any other."

The $2,500 scholarship honors the memory of Won-Joon Yoon, an IU graduate student from Korea who was shot to death by a white supremacist on July 4, 1999, near Bloomington's Korean United Methodist Church.

Lal, who is from Mumbai, India, enrolled at IU in 2002. She read about Yoon's death before moving to Bloomington.

"I was quite appalled," she said. "Just the fact that it happened in the small town (where)I was going to school -- I wouldn't have expected it."

But she's found Bloomington and IU to be tolerant of racial, ethnic and cultural diversity and supportive of international students like herself.

"My experiences in Bloomington have been largely quite pleasant," she said.

Lal, 24, spoke by phone from Washington, D.C., where she has a summer job with the Congressional Youth Leadership Council's Global Young Leaders Conference. She is studying for a master's degree in IU's School of Public and Environmental Affairs and expects to finish at the end of this year or, more likely, next spring.

At SPEA, Lal and several other graduate students organized the Rutledge Project Diversity Committee, which facilitates discussions of such issues as racial discrimination in the U.S., caste differences in India and the situation of international students.

She has been an associate instructor and teaching assistant for undergraduate SPEA courses, positions that involved interacting with students from a variety of countries and cultures.

Also, she has worked as a research associate at several labs and a counselor at IU's Kelley School of Business.

Lal said she has enjoyed her jobs, but she's glad the scholarship will let her ease up on her work hours.

"It was a very, very, very pleasant surprise," she said.

Previous scholarship winners

  • 2000 - Dietrich Wilke.
  • 2001 - Nikolas Heynen.
  • 2002 - Sheila Lalwani, Shaila Danielle Mulholland.
  • 2003 - Edward Brantmeier, Ana Correia, Christine Lim.
  • 2004 - Ali Korkmaz, Jennifer Green.

Allegations of fake research at new high; Scientists pressured to publish studies may resort to making up data
Associated Press
July 10, 2005

On the night of his 12th wedding anniversary, Dr. Andrew Friedman was terrified.

This brilliant surgeon and researcher at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School feared he was about to lose everything -- his career, his family, the life he'd built -- because his boss was coming closer and closer to the truth:

For the past three years, Friedman had been faking -- actually making up -- data in some of the respected, peer-reviewed studies he had published in top medical journals.

"It is difficult for me to describe the degree of panic and irrational thought that I was going through," he would later tell an inquiry panel at Harvard.

On this night, March 13, 1995, he had been ordered in writing by his department chair to clear up what appeared to be suspicious data.

But Friedman didn't clear things up.

"I did something which was the worst possible thing I could have done," he testified.

He went to the medical record room, and for the next three or four hours he pulled out permanent medical files of a handful of patients. Then, covered up his lies, scribbling in the information he needed to support his study. "I created data. I made it up. I also made up patients that were fictitious," he testified.

Friedman's wife met him at the door when he came home that night. He wept uncontrollably. The next morning he had an emergency appointment with his psychiatrist.

But he didn't tell the therapist the truth, and his lies continued for 10 more days, during which time he delivered a letter, and copies of the doctored files, to his boss. Eventually he broke down, admitting first to his wife and his psychiatrist, and later to his colleagues and managers, what he had been doing.

Friedman formally confessed, retracted his articles, apologized to colleagues and was punished. Today he has resurrected his career, as senior director of clinical research at Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceutical Inc., a Johnson & Johnson company.

He refused to speak with the Associated Press. But his case, recorded in a seven-foot-high stack of documents at the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine, tells a story of one man's struggle with power, lies and the crushing pressure of academia.

The story itself is more common than most people might realize.

Allegations of research misconduct reached record highs last year -- the Department of Health and Human Services received 274 complaints, which was 50 percent higher than 2003 and the most since 1989 when the federal government established a program to deal with scientific misconduct.

Chris Pascal, director of the federal Office of Research Integrity, said its 28 staffers and $7 million annual budget haven't kept pace with the allegations. The result: Only 23 cases were closed last year. Of those, eight individuals were found guilty of research misconduct. In the past 15 years, the office has confirmed about 185 cases of scientific misconduct.

Research suggests this is but a small fraction of all the incidents of fabrication, falsification and plagiarism. In a survey published June 9 in the journal Nature, about 1.5 percent of 3,247 researchers who responded admitted to falsification or plagiarism. (One in three admitted to some type of professional misbehavior.)

Some cases have made headlines:

-- On July 18, Eric Poehlman, once a prominent nutrition researcher, will be sentenced in federal court in Vermont for fabricating research data to obtain a $542,000 federal grant while working as a professor at the University of Vermont College of Medicine. He faces up to five years in prison. Poehlman, 49, made up research between 1992 and 2000 on issues such as menopause, aging and hormone supplements to win millions of dollars in grant money from the federal government. He is the first researcher to be permanently barred from ever receiving federal research grants again.

In 2001, while he was being investigated, Poehlman left the medical school and was awarded a $1 million chair in nutrition and metabolism at the University of Montreal, where officials say they were unaware of his problems. He resigned in January when his contract expired.

-- In March, Dr. Gary Kammer, a Wake Forest University rheumatology professor and leading lupus expert, was found to have made up two families and their medical conditions in grant applications to the National Institutes of Health. He has resigned from the university and has been suspended from receiving federal grants for three years.In November, 2004, federal officials found that Dr. Ali Sultan, an award-winning malaria researcher at the Harvard School of Public Health, had plagiarized text and figures, and falsified his data -- substituting results from one type of malaria for another -- on a grant application for federal funds to study malaria drugs. When brought before an inquiry committee, Sultan tried to pin the blame on a postdoctoral student. Sultan resigned and is now a faculty member at Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar, according to a spokeswoman there.

While the cases are high- profile, some scientists have been cheating for decades. In 1974, Dr. William Summerlin, a top- ranking Sloan-Kettering Cancer Institute researcher, used a marker to make black patches of fur on white mice in an attempt to prove his new skin graft technique was working.

His case prompted Al Gore, then a young Democratic congressman from Tennessee, to hold the first congressional hearings on the issue. "At the base of our involvement in research lies the trust of American people and the integrity of the scientific exercise," said Gore at the time. As a result of their hearings, Congress passed a law in 1985 requiring institutions that receive federal money for scientific research to have some system to report rulebreakers.

David Wright, a Michigan State University professor who has researched why scientists cheat, said there are four basic reasons: some sort of mental disorder; foreign nationals who learned somewhat different scientific standards; inadequate mentoring; and, most commonly, tremendous and increasing professional pressure to publish studies. His inability to handle that pressure, Friedman testified, was his downfall. "And it was almost as though you're on a treadmill that starts out slowly and gradually increases in speed. And it happens so gradually you don't realize that eventually you're just hoping you don't fall off," he told a magistrate during a state hearing in 1995. "You're sprinting near the end and taking it all you can not to fall off."

At the time he started cheating, Friedman was in his late 30s, married and a father of two young children. Following the path of his father, grandfather and uncle, who were all doctors and medical researchers, he was an associate professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive biology at Harvard Medical School and chief of the department of reproductive endocrinology at Brigham and Women's Hospital. His reputation was tremendous and his work groundbreaking. In the end, investigators found -- and Friedman confessed -- to making up information for three separate journal articles (one of them never published) involving hormonal treatment of gynecological conditions. He testified that he was working 80 to 90 hours a week, seeing patients two days a week, doing surgery one day a week, supervising medical residents, serving on as many as 10 different committees at the hospital and the medical school and putting on national medical conferences.

He did seek help, both from a psychiatrist, who counseled him to cut back, and from his boss, who demanded Friedman increase his research and refused to reduce Friedman's patient load.

As good as Friedman was as a doctor, surgeon and researcher, he was actually a lousy cheater. One thing that brought about his demise, in fact, was that the initials he used for fictitious patients were the same as those of residents and faculty members in his program.

Unlike many scientists who file immediate lawsuits when they're caught, Friedman was repentant, resigning from his positions at both Brigham and Women's, and Harvard.

In 1996, Friedman agreed to be excluded for three years from working on federally funded research. During the next three years he consulted with drug companies, he paid a $10,000 fine to the state of Massachusetts and surrendered his medical license for a year, became very active with the American Red Cross, donating more than 500 hours, and attended several lectures on ethics and record-keeping.

"Andy can never undo the damage that his actions have caused. However, he has paid the price - his academic career is ruined, his reputation sullied, and his personal shame unremitting," wrote Dr. Charles Lockwood, then chair of obstetrics and gynecology at New York University School of Medicine, in a letter on Friedman's behalf.

In 1999, after successfully petitioning to get his license reinstated, he went to work as director of women's health care at Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceuticals. The job, which he still has, involves designing and reviewing clinical trials for hormonal birth control, writing package insert labels and lecturing to doctors. Lately he's appeared on television and in newspaper articles responding to concerns about the safety of the birth control patch.

Mary Anne Wyatt, a retired biochemist in Natick, Mass., is one of several former patients.

"I think it's not at all surprising that a drug company would hire somebody who is very comfortable with hiding the effects of very dangerous drugs," said Wyatt, who unsuccessfully sued him.

Ortho-McNeil spokeswoman Bonnie Jacobs said the company was well aware of Friedman's history when it hired him. "He is an excellent doctor, an asset to our company," she said.

IU athletic giving rises; Varsity Club fundraising up 8.3 percent past year, but still short of scholarship costs
by Steve Hinnefeld
July 9, 2005

The IU Varsity Club continued a steady increase in athletics fundraising last year. But the cost of athletic scholarships -- which the organization funds -- also continued to rise.

"We're gaining on it," Varsity Club director Scott Dolson said Friday. "We're not quite there yet, but we're gaining on it."

Annual giving to the Varsity Club, the fundraising arm of the IU athletic department, increased 8.3 percent in the fiscal year that ended July 1, Dolson said. During the past three years, annual giving has increased by 44.8 percent.

Also, the Varsity Club raised $11.5 million in gifts and pledges for the campus athletic endowment. The record total was buoyed by a $10 million gift last month from Larry and Lucie Glaubinger, the largest gift ever made to IU athletics.

"We would like to sincerely thank all of our donors for their substantially loyal support," IU athletic director Rick Greenspan said in a statement.

Officials say IU has the largest athletic endowment in the Big Ten -- it stands at $65 million, counting cash, pledges and deferred gifts.

Donors contributed $5.58 million last year to the annual giving campaign. All that goes to funding scholarships for student-athletes, and it's supplemented by $1.6 million in earnings from the endowment.

But the total still comes a half-million dollars short of the $7.75 million cost of athletic scholarships. Money to fill the gap comes from the athletic department budget.

"Obviously, the athletics department has been running a deficit, and that doesn't help the deficit situation," Dolson said.

IU waived tuition for student-athletes until the mid-1980s. But since then, the rising cost of tuition has strained the ability of the Varsity Club to pay for scholarships, gradually eating away its budget surplus.

Many scholarship athletes are assessed out-of-state tuition and fees, which will be $19,508 in next school year. The cost of athletic scholarships is projected at $7.9 million in 2005-06.

Dolson said the Varsity Club focuses on producing a mix of large and small gifts and maintaining consistent support from alumni and friends of IU athletic programs.

It's also selling the 300 club seats that were installed at Memorial Stadium in 2002; they cost $1,250 for the football season. IU has six home football games this fall, against Nicholls State, Kentucky, Illinois, Ohio State, Minnesota and Purdue.

Dolson said 220 club seats have been sold, a 23.5 percent increase over sales at this time last year.

"We're shooting for a sell-out," he said.