It would be great if we could raise academic achievement to a higher level than
athletic achievement because most people have a much better chance of financial
success in life through academics than sports.For example, roughly
one in 500 High School football players make it to the NFL and then the AVERAGE
NFL career is THREE years!
The claim that football and related activities "bring millions of dollars to
universities" is bogus. Almost all athletics programs lose a lot of
money."Community pride" and the supposed economic benefits
of games could do just as well if teams were professional or semi-pro teams
unaffiliated with universities.To admit the situation is crazy and
then say "nobody's going to unhook the IV" is to say "sure,
education and academics already get the short end of the stick and that's
just going to get worse and worse as time goes on, but nobody should try to rock
the boat to make any necessary changes, because SPORTS."Universities have good reason to have robust intramural sports. Extramural
sports have become too much of a distraction from the purpose of a university
and too exploitative of students (both athletes and non-athletes), and should be
We are spending too much on sports at out universiies. I love college sports but
it is totally out of hand and no longer justfiable.
Great commentary. Many argue that Universities should apply that money to
academics. Fact is, people don't chose between football season tickets and
donating to the chemistry department. If the money wasn't being spent on
football, it would not go to the university; so the university is not
"loosing money" from its general coffers because of athletics. The
opposite might be true though. Because of sports, some people are drawn to
donate money to the university. It would be interesting to see a
correlation between athletic expenditures and general academic fundraising--not
grants, just pure donations to academics.
Yes people do unhook the IV. I stopped watching sports a number of years ago
when I realized what a complete waste of time they were. Why spend three hours
on a Sat to watch a college game when I could spend the same three hours with my
kids? Or instead of spending four hours on Sunday watching an NFL game when I
could spend it catching a nap? Why waste three hours during the week on an NBA
game when I could use that same time to create something with my own hands,
something I could pass down to my grandkids? Sports, both pro and
college, is such a waste of time and money. Do something with your life. Get
off the couch and be productive.
@Mark from MontanaDavis County, UT."Sports, both pro and
college, is such a waste of time and money. Do something with your life. Get off
the couch and be productive."Umm, it's different strokes
for different folks dude! Whatever rocks your boat! I don't care for
professional sports but I'm crazy hooked on college sports, especially BYU
sports! Go Cougars! Good luck to Utes and Aggies too!
No need to isolate college football. We spend too much money and time on
entertainment period. But, it's our time and our money and our choice what
to do with it.There are also people who feel doctors get too much
money. I know this: the one that saved my son's life wasn't
over-paid. At the end of the day, how many of us our really worth what we get
paid? But taking it away from rock stars and middle line backers doesn't
mean it will somehow end up in the pay checks of our teachers.
Where you complete your undergraduate education makes a significant contribution
to your identity moving forward. If you went somewhere with a good football (or
basketball, or fill-in-the-blank) program you have the rest of your life to
cheer for "your" team. Having a team to root for can improve your life
satisfaction, help you forge a bond with others (who root for the same team),
etc. I am fine with athletic budgets being what they are, but what do I know,
I'm just an underpaid professor at a University that doesn't offer
@Y Grad/Dad: that doctors and rock stars receive high salaries is mostly a
matter of how people value their services and is basically fair, and that
funding could not imaginably be reallocated without coercion.But
this situation isn't comparable at all; nobody's saying "gee,
people who attend college football games should take their ticket money and
donate to academics instead." This is about misallocated university budgets,
and university budgets are utterly unlike the things you've tried to draw
analogies with. Almost every athletics program in the country loses a large
amount of money every year; ticket sales and booster donations have to be
substantially supplemented by taxpayer subsidies and by taking money away from
regular students' tuition. That money really could simply be better
allocated and "end up in the pay checks of our teachers" or be spent on
any of countless other things that actually help accomplish the purpose of a
Are we paying too much for college football?I think we have the
answer, Dick, when we find so many people getting paid to talk about it.
If academics were the emphasis many athletes wouldn't be able to attend the
university. They are treated to scholarships and all other kinds of benefits.
Many of them never bother to graduate with a degree because they can make unholy
amounts of money in professional sports. After a few years in the NFL Jim
McMahon said he'd never have to work another day in his life for money.
(But he was responsible with his resources, another separate issue for the pro
athlete.)I am concerned more about the double standard privileges
for athletes than the average student. Nothing said it better than the style of
Reilly Nelson's hair at BYU. I'm not arguing the standard, but the
average student would have been in trouble for such grooming. Thee football QB
could do whatever he wanted---all the athletes were treated differently.I agree it will never change. I enjoy watching the game as much as
anyone. The coaches sure have a sweet deal across the board. Win and
they're almost worshipped; lose and they get a huge buy-out and relocate
with more money than they know how to spend.
We do spend too much money on college sports; however, I wouldn't care as
much if the money started to flow to the players. I think it's ridiculous
that coaches' and ADs' and college presidents'salaries soar while
the players are still little more than indentured servants. I hear people say
that "college football is a business." If so, why don't colleges
pay property taxes on stadiums and weight rooms and indoor practice facilities?
What other for-profit business do you know that pays it employees with in-kind
goods. I love college football, but it's not a business.
I take my children to the football games. I'm taking my son to the PAC 12
Championship game at Sun Devil Stadium this Saturday (don't worry,
we'll be bundled up!). So, I enjoy college football AND spend time with my
children. Best of both worlds.
This is supply and demand issue, school spend the money because there is a
demand for it.I must have missed it, where is the proven formula
that says students will be smarter in the absence of college sports?
The comparison is wrong. College sports and college academia are different.
College sports is entertainment ... period. The reason major universities can
spend the money they do is that they have a strong base of supporters that are
willing to put their money towards watching these games. How much money do they
make off of TV revenue, apparrel sales and other items? Millions. Sure are
their programs that lose money? Yep. Do they need to be managed better? Yep.
Could someone with business sense help? Yep.
Is it worth paying a top coach to put a good product on the feild each week?
Absolutley. No different than a good CEO to run a company, this is the reality.
How we spend our money on ENTERTAINMENT should not be compared against money
towards those working towards degree's. Athletes bring money to the
universities ... Universities benifit, and the athletes get an education that
they would have to work a lot of hours to match. Also, a side note. I would
love to see Dick's math on the numbers he put in this article. Also, next
time show the money each university brings in as well. I am wondering does the
average athlete bring in 2x what they spend on them ?
@t702 that's laughable. For there to be sufficient demand in any kind of
economic sense, athletic spending would have to turn a profit in ticket prices
and booster donations large enough to be comparable to other investments. But
there are only about a dozen schools where ticket prices and booster donations
even cover the cost of the athletic program. All the other schools rob the
taxpayer or the regular student to pay for athletics. And yes, taking
students' tuition money and spending it on an indoor practice facility
rather than on teaching them does tend to keep students from "being
This brought to mind a news story I heard last evening that the University of
Colorado just approved another $175 million to be spent on upgrading athletic
facilities. I'm a huge college sports fan, but as the stakes rise, it is
becoming increasingly difficult to justify this kind of spending. The
"haves" who, as Dick pointed out, are often financed by billionaire
alumni benefactors are driving a standard which is putting a lot of pressure on
the "have nots" to keep up. So for example, Utah, who was just catching
up with their old rival, now has new facilities which are in danger of being
leap-frogged by a lot of money being being committed by their new rival --
what's Dr. Hill's next move to stay competitive in the new conference?
Obviously Oregon, Stanford, UW, WSU, UCLA, USC, OSU, ASU, UA and Cal are not
standing pat either. Where does it stop? The gap will continue to grow -- most
likely the "superconference" approach will end up weeding out those
schools who don't have the stomach for (or simply don't have the
resources or can't justify) this level of spending....
(I should clarify that TV packages, bowl bonuses, and all other athletics income
sources are included when I say that only about a dozen programs across the
country make money; it's not just counting tickets and boosters.)M Jaack, this isn't about "some" programs losing money. Roughly
90% of Division I athletics programs lose money, and I'm sure almost all
other programs do as well. It is a money pit, not a profit center.
I suspect a lot of universities see college sports as part of their student
recruitment expense. Successful sports teams are part of the college selection
process for many incoming students, and sporting events themselves provide
advertising for the university.
Prodicus, you have narrowly limited the scope of your argument, then criticize
others who discuss other dimensions of the debate, while at the same time
offering generalities that you expect to be accepted as fact.For
example, tax-payers footing the bill. Of course, BYU comes to mind as an
exception. You might make a case for tithe-payers as well, but you didn't.
Also, as often as the University of Utah has been criticized for the wasteful
expenditure of tax dollars, on athletics, just as frequently, U fans will detail
how actually, tax dollars are not used to fund athletic department
shortfalls.A big issue for educators is funding for "the
arts." When budgets are tight, the arts take the cuts over math and
science. This, too, is a choice, but is it the right choice?You
state that for rock stars, doctors and professional athletes, exorbitant pay is
fair because of the fair market. I agree. The church dropped athletics at
BYU-I, but promotes it at BYU. This also is a fair market choice, whether you
disagree with the choice or not.
No. Its fun and people want to spend that much money on it.
Ultimately if overall the taxpayers LIKE having a great football program and
they want it to be a high caliber program, then they support whatever it takes
to get the program there.I fully support my taxes going to help the
University of Utah excel on and off the field. Watching the team enjoy BCS
glory has been worth every cent I've ever contributed.Go utes!
A major issue for me is that Students at universities pay athletic fees. All
state ran schools in Utah do (BYU I don't know).So why student loans
become such a problem in the nation, universities charge students (many of whom
that care less about athletics) significant fees to subsidize athletics. I think
the U athletic fees are 150 a semester or something.For one we spend way
too much on athletics 2 million for a coach when professors that research and
save lives make half that maybe. And to make the matters worse we expound the
problem by making the struggling college student pay fees to support the
"non-revenue" sports.Let the people who want athletics pay for
them, buy tickets, make donations, and buy from schools advertisers, but
don't make students foot the bill.I like sports a lot, but if I
attend a university should I be required to fund their diving team?
When some teams lose in athletics, the alumni contributions sag. Some schools
continue to lower their academic standards for talented athletes in addition to
ignoring past criminal records. Football and basketball revenues fund the
non-revenue sports. Until athletics are considered in the same light as do Ivy
League schools and many other high quality universities, yes Cal Tech has
athletic teams for personal development and not public entertainment, things
will not change. With such large amounts of money involved, change is unlikely
and the high revenue BCS conferences are leading the race to the bottom. The
press and fans encourage such elitism and denigrate teams who share the wealth
by scheduling teams with lower conference prestige.
beSmart,You're free to choose a college that uses funds in a
way that you like.Unfotunately its impossible to have kids pick and
choose exactly what they want to fund. What if I want to fund the diving team
but not the lacrosse team, want to fund the student art club but not the student
advertising club, want to fund an expansion to the university museum but not the
drama building, should university be forced to calculate every possible
combination of things I only want to fund?Nonsense. If a
football coach adds more value to a university(and save us the tear-jerking
stories of professors saving lives) than a coummunications professor, then he
deserves to be well compensated.I have no problem paying Whittingham
millions if he'll continue to take us to top 5 national rankings and big
time bowl game glory. He's the only coach in the state who has proven he
can do that, so we should compensate him for it. Go Utes!
Support capitalism - pay the players. Don't try to sell me that garbage
that athletes get a free education. The athletes that produce the revenue -
football and mens' bball - are steered to majors where the athletes can
easily maintain eligibility. If an incoming freshman football says he wants to
major in Electrical Engineering, he'll be pressured to major in something
like General Studies, Communications, Physical Education ... you get the idea.
Chris BSalt Lake City, UTI have no problem paying Whittingham
millions if he'll continue to take us to top 5 national rankings and big
time bowl game glory.===So Chris, are we safe to assume that Whit
should be fired for missing Bowl games, and no top 5 rankings in the past two
years?I mean, that is your arguement. You want Whit fired?
Y Grad/Dad, the decisions of university boards of trustees are not anything
close to a classical competitive market, and they provide none of the guarantees
about equilibrium social welfare optimality that a competitive market does.Without any approximation of those guarantees, attempting to justify
decisions by saying they were "market choices" is nothing more than
saying "they chose it, therefore it's fair and right," which would
justify any decision whatsoever.That almost all programs lose money
is not just a generality, and I expect people to not take my word for it but to
find out for themselves. Any simple Google search is sufficient to come up with
dozens of references, like a USA Today article saying "Just 23 of 228
athletics departments at NCAA Division I public schools generated enough money
on their own to cover their expenses in 2012."ChrisB, if you and
other college sports fans really thought athletics spending was worth your
money, then donations, demand for tickets, TV deals, etc would suffice to make
athletics programs profitable. Rather, you think it's worth spending other
@ CBThe U has 33,000 students right? lets say even 15,000 go to athletic
events. The U just siphoned off 4 million dollars from students who don't
care.I worked hard enough in school and athletics that I earned lot of
money in school with scholarships, research grants and two jobs so money was not
an issue, butI had roommates that went months without eating meat so an
extra 150 a semester can buy a lot of meat.The U brags about money from
the Pac then give it back to the student. The U will never compete with Oregon,
USC, UCLA, Stanford in facilities they have too much money in the alumni.Stanford's Endowment is 18.7 Billion Utah's 636 Million
(BYU's endowment is significantly higher than Utah)Your 2 million
dollar coach has not done anything in 5 years.It is pathetic and the
proponent of such a practice should go and survey students and see what they eat
and how they live. Or talk to the recent grads who have 30,000 in debt they are
trying to pay back.Universities are about education, and betterment of
society. Athletics are fun but not at the expense of the student.
@ CB Lets break down Whittingham's salary per win (you pay a coach to
win)Whittingham 2,000,000/ 5 wins = 400,000 per winHelfrich (Oregon)
180,000 per winMike Riley (OSU) 236,000 per winNick Saban 504,090
per win ( he wins national titles)Mark Dantonio 178,000 per win (probably
going to the Rose Bowl)Dave Cutcliff 178,000 per winCoaches are
rewarded for winning everyone on this list except Riley and Whittingham would
have been fired for 2 losing seasons.He is a decent coach but way way over
"other people's money."I assume that you mean tax dollars.
College athletics bring many residual benefits to the states and local
BeSmart,Why are you concerned with Witt's salary? You
don't support the Utes...and you don't live in the state so it's
not your tax dollars. If you pay tithing it would behoove you to hold bronco and
I love the comments like those from Mark from Montana, which pop up now and then
attached to articles about sports, movies, TV . . entertainment in general.When did it become a point of personal pride to not watch sports, tv,
etc? The implication is that if you don't really care for sports and
allocate your time elsewhere, you're somehow more noble. Apparently
everyone who doesn't know their Bronco Mendenhall from their Nick Saban is
running around "creating things with their hands," teaching their
appreciative kids various virtues, helping little old ladies stuck in trees or
engaging in other such all-'Merican wholesomeness. Not a second is
wasted.Anyone can devote too much time to something like sports and
create an imbalance in life, but simply enjoying a game, during your leisure
time doesn't mean you're less this or that than the sports teetotaler.
Families and friends can easily bond over sports. Just because you might choose
to spend Saturday making macaroni necklaces with the kids/grandkids or learning
origami doesn't set you on a higher plane.
@ ekuteI actually do support the Utes and have attended several games
before moving. I recently moved to Wyoming for a great job so until a few months
ago I did pay Utah taxes.I think Bronco is a good coach and support him
for what he makes, and knowing people inside BYU I doubt BYU athletics gets
subsidized by anything except maybe student fees (I don't know and I
don't support it if it does).If Utah was in the black I could care
less if Whittingham made 20 million, but to take away from poor or indebted
students, and from other priorities for the Utah budget (education, medical,
lower taxes) is completely abhorrent.9 percent of Utahs below poverty line
people are college students. Why should they pay for athletics? In 2012 18
percent of the american population said they could not afford the FOOD they
need. I give significantly to charities and have fed people who couldn't
afford it so I will say feed people before you build a 36 million dollar
facility that won't compete with Oregon's 240 million dollar facility.
I know that as a private university, BYU isn't required to let us see their
books. But as a BYU alumnus and lifetime tithe payer, I would LOVE to know how
they spend their money!
@ProdicusThe question posed by the article is whether too much money
is being spent on college FOOTBALL.Thus your arguments about college
athletic departments losing money misses the mark. College football makes money
(over $1 Billion, in PROFITS, in 2010, no doubt more now). Athletic
departments lose money because college football is the only profit center at
most schools (BB at some) and in nearly all instances all the other sports lose
money, meaning they are subsidized by football.Because of Title IX,
schools can't drop non-revenue women's athletic teams, although many
men's teams have been eliminated.Schools look at football
spending as an investment (have to win to generate more money, have to spend to
win).You may choose to criticize college athletics on a financial
basis, but you can't say college football is spending other people's
money, it turns a profit.
It is ridiculous...a university judged by the quality of its athletic program!
Fortunately Cornell, Penn, Harvard, etc get along just fine on their superb
academics without getting trapped into becoming kings of entertainment. An
interesting concept, don't give athletic scholarships at all and draw your
teams from the studentbody at large, just as USAC (USU) did in the mid
1930's when they were nationally ranked in football.
Just to clarify I am assuming the BYU financial stuff because you can find
estimates that several publications make.But looking Utah's athletic
budget for 2012 was 36.8 million. Revenue from football tickets alone for the
Y's home games are probably around 20 milion in season ticket sales
(estimate by desnews) and who knows how much from Bball (many other BYU sports
sell a lot of tickets) not too mention other revenue streams and probably an
overall significantly lower athletic budget. I am guessing BYU athletics is in
United States Department of education in 2009 that BYU made a 5.61 million
dollar profit off of athletics.Probably much better now with increased
revenue.Maybe that is why BYU's tuition is able to remain so
Hmmmm...intersting timing. I guess the teams 'on the hill' getting
huge payouts from a major conference and a school further south being left out,
have nothing to do with it? Mr. Harmon I would posit that you are a hypocrite
in that you feed your family from the very sports frenzy that you rail against.
Show us that you are sincere and resign to pursue a more meaningful career. You
have the medium to broadcast your change.
@ KralonAccording to the NCAA of the 67,887 College players that
participated in college football in 2011 (all divisions), only 1.7% or 1154
players ever got a crack at playing professionally. Only 255 were drafted that
year. Of the 1,108,441 High school players that participated in football that
year only .08% or 886 players got a crack at playing professional football.
Most were delegated to practice squads. While I enjoy college football and
according to some waste my Saturdays watching it. Maybe it is time that we
separate college from athletics and instead go to the same format that exists in
baseball, namely the minor leagues. Because at the end of the day those
universities that have large donors will in the end have to pay the cost of
maintaining it all thru tax dollars or charity. It truly is sad that we have
fallen in the level and ability of college graduates when compared to the rest
of the developed world. But what the heck. We do have plenty of career
opportunities for want to be football players on the talk show circuit.
Harmon says:"Crazy! But it is a crazy arrangement that is
feeding on itself.Nobody is going to unhook the IV."I say,
it's also sad, very sad.It's analogous to saying something
like:"Sure, state lotteries cause a lot of social havoc, but it
supports the school system."It reminds me of:"For the love of money (college football receipts) is the root of [much
pride and] evil: which while some coveted after, they have ... pierced
themselves through with [little of true redeeming value]" (1 Timothy 6: 10).
As long as it's not my money being spent it isn't to much. As soon as
it is my money being spent it is too much.
Mark from MontanaUm... because I enjoy watching sports as it is one
of my very most favorite activities. I don't have kids yet, but some of my
favorite activities I did with my Dad growing up involved sports, whether it was
playing them, watching them or talking about them (often while doing chores or
some other activity such as hiking). I couldn't stop watching sports even
if I wanted to, but more power to you for being able to do so.
Profits are more common in football and mens BB, but for both sports it was
still only just over half of the FBS teams that made a profit. For football,
almost all of those were in the BCS, and FCS teams practically never make a
profit. (Football is no more likely to be profitable than basketball- yes,
revenues are a lot higher, but so are costs.)Even those numbers
involve cooking the books to make them seem impressive- athletic fees charged to
all students and several other questionable things get counted as football
revenue (even for several BCS teams student fees are over 10% of "football
revenues," and in smaller conferences it's often several times higher),
universities make interest free loans to their football programs for facility
construction, etc.It's only possible to see it as an investment
if your team is one of the elite. Even considered on its own, football is a bad
deal for most colleges. And it can't be considered on its own- the cost of
programs for Title IX compliance is ultimately part of the cost of running a
football program. Takes a lot of womens' scholarships to balance out
Prodicus, your specific statement is fair enough, and deserves further
discussion.While it is inappropriate to equate a college board of
trustees collective decision as "fair market," one has to recognize that
there are an extremely large number of college boards of trustees making a
decision about the same question: sports or no sports? Football or no
football?They may not have fair market values driving their
decision, and individual decisions may be deemed as downright goofy, but where
so many have collectively made the decision to ante up, you have to at least
ascknowledge that there is some underlying reason why, even if you disagree with
it.And I am willing to agree that as time passes, and the cost
rises, the decisions may, one by one, be reversed. Or as has recently been
discussed, maybe the big boy colleges will drive up the cost even further and
drive out the fringe players. You should like that!I am fascinated
with the decision by the church (board of trustees) to discontinue
intercolegiate athletics in Rexburg while upping the ante in Provo. No value
judgement, just fascination.Classic line about "other
people's money" though! Look forward to your response.
@ProdicusI take it then that you have no issue with the more than
half of FBS teams that are profitable?In the reports I saw, the
profit margin of the football programs averaged about 30%. That's good
money even in the private sector (take a look at the Forbes ranking of the value
of college football programs). Also about half of the schools had no student
fees or state monies in their football revenue. And my
understanding is that when student athletic fees were stated, 100% of those fees
were reported as revenue for the football program when fewer than half of the
scholarship athletes are football players. Cooking the books indeed. Agree with you that funding Title IX sports is part of the cost of a football
program--even though I don't believe college football has gotten much, if
any, credit for advancing women's sports.There's a valid
debate about the cost of college athletics overall, but in engaging in that
debate, no credible argument can be made that football is at the forefront of
the problem. Without football, the likelihood is that college athletics as a
whole would have been shuttered long ago.
BeSmart,You might be right. Maybe BYU is one of the few schools
that makes a profit in athletics. But wouldn't it be nice to see BYU
publish their numbers?Whatever percentage of BYU students'
tuition goes to athletics has little to do with "why BYU's tuition is
able to remain so inexpensive." BYU offers an incredibly inexpensive
education because the university is heavily subsidized by the LDS church. Each
BYU student's education is mostly funded by the LDS church, not by the
student's tuition check.
I've beat this drum before, and I'll continue to do so. There's
no bigger college sports fan out there than me, but in my opinion the only way
this arms race stops is to require the NBA and the NFL to fund their own
professional farm teams, just like MLB does. It solves multiple problems, by
allowing kids (and coaches) who have no desire to be at college for any reason
other than the chance to play professionally a place to go and actually earn
money while honing their craft.Major college sports is--or should
be--about the competition, and it still would be. In fact, it would be enhanced
by limiting the ability for the "dynasty" schools to monopolize the
talent and the money. College football was huge before the NFL was, and it
would thrive without its current farm team status. But it would take an act of
congress to change, because the NCAA will never voluntarily part with the river
of money that corrupts it today.
@WA_Alum&DadI'd be interested in more of your thoughts on
how NBA and NFL funded farm teams would change the status quo in NCAA BB and
FB.The NFL and NBA both have (or had) their own funded farm teams.
The developmental (D) league in the NBA has been around for awhile, subsidized
by the NBA. And NFL Europe was the latest iteration of the NFL's farm
system.Neither has had any material impact on the NCAA.
@81uteYou should try not to let that university of utah education
show as it is an embarrassment. Harmon was the guy supporting college football,
he did ask some questions about whether or not the cost is worth it but he was
overall in support of it. "Frantic and emotional" lashing out like you
did in your post is funny but ultimately embarrassing for your school and all of
its "fans".Also BYU turns a profit on its athletic
department as a whole, to the tune of 5+ mil per year. Whatever utah is getting
means nothing to BYU and has no affect on BYU. utah is an overall athletic
loser, and not just on the field. utah's athletic department loses money
and is heavily subsidized, millions of dollars in fact, by students and the
university itself. It is a poor example of an athletic department as it bungles
its way to loss after loss in sport after sport all the while bleeding dollars
in its ineptitude.
Athletes are exploited, used, abused and tossed out like yesterday's
garbage. College athletics has become shameful, especially the fiction of the
student-athlete. Just pay the players and stop the pretending.
College athletics isn't a waste of money, at least not in my opinion. I
think that universities spending millions of dollars to study bird flight
patterns or algae growth is a waste of money, but again, that's just my
@let's roll"The NFL and NBA both have (or had) their own funded
farm teams. . . Neither has had any material impact on the NCAA."===This is why it would require congressional action to
"incentivize" a different market approach (and only a market approach
will work), because the NCAA will never willingly relinquish its status as the
NBA/NFL farm system. The money is just too good. The reason MLB
farm system works is that baseball was an established and mature professional
sport with a minor league system in place before television made football or
basketball, college or professional, the national commodities they are today.
College football and hoops not only predate, they drove their professional
counterparts, so it was only natural that their feedstock was the college
system. If the government can decide that it's their business
to tell people what medical care they can receive, they can take this on.
It has to be the state legislatures that step in and stop the madness. There is
quite a simple solution. Government grants typically get 30-50% taken out of the
contract for "overhead." The same should be done with college athletics
TV contracts for teams in the top 5 conferences that are making the big money.
It can't control the Boone Pickens, but it is his money to do with it as he
may. However, the states are the effective "shareholders"
and "owners" of the university and the money they bring it. Since the
state legislatures have the responsibility to make sure the state higher
education system is running properly, they need to be the adults, step in, and
make sure the state is getting value out of the revenue coming in from sports.
If it just goes back to sports, it has not given maximum value to the state, and
needs to be redirected to higher priorities - such as education.
Still scratching my head over what government could do. rhappahannock's suggestion is never going to happen. Alabama
legislator's voting to put their teams at a disadvantage. Can't think
of a better example of a political death wish. And even if a few states did do
it, all it would do is make the playing field more uneven for teams in those
states.And despite WA_Dad&Grad's suggestion that the Fed
Gov could incentivize change somehow, I certainly can't fathom what those
incentives would look like nor can I see any political tailwind for meddling in
I won't try to answer the question posed in the first sentence of the
article, but I will say it is time to stop subsidizing sports with taxpayer
money. When Mack Brown and Nick Saban are the highest paid
government workers in the U.S. and my taxes keep going up to pay Mack
Brown's salary, there is something wrong.I love watching sports
as much as the next guy, but the athletic department should be self funded.
I don't think there is a single college out there that spends more than
about 20% on athletics compared to what it spends on academics. The University
of Utah spends three to four hundred million on academics and several hundred
million on research and 40 million on athletics. The University of Michigan may
spend 100 million on athletics, but spends multiple billions on academics.
Academics is not being left in the dust by athletic spending. What is different
is that athletics happens to be in the public eye and in fact is often what puts
and keeps schools in the public eye. But, all parts of the school benefit from
CougFaninTXYou can rest easy. You're not paying any part of
Mack Brown's salary, unless you go to UT games or are a UT donor. Texas
football generated $104 million in revenue last year and spend $26 million for a
tidy profit of $78 million. Texas athletics do not use university funds.Alabama football had revenue of $82 million with expenditures of $37
million resulting in a profit of $45 million. About 4% of Alabama's
overall athletic budget comes from University funds, but it's not clear how
much of that goes to football, although those funds include indirect funds (e.g.
facility maintenance, security).In most cases when college coaches
have large salaries, a significant amount of that salary is paid by booster
rather than the University. Fan donations can make up over 50% of a
school's athletic budget in some cases. For Texas and Alabama, it's
in the 25-30% range.
It's been a long time since I read Fahrenheit 451 but one of the things
that stood out to me is that, in the book, books being banned came because the
people stopped caring about books. No one really protested. The fire chief
told the whole story including this quote:"With school turning
out more runners, jumpers, racers, tinkerers, grabbers, snatchers, fliers, and
swimmers instead of examiners, critics, knowers, and imaginative creators, the
word 'intellectual,' of course, became the swear word it deserved to
be.” Maybe we are heading that way. Universities are becoming
more known for their runners, jumpers, racers, etc. In the meantime, one great
university after another gets dragged down by sports scandals (Ohio State,
Miami, Penn State, USC, Oregon, etc). But, we don't care as long as they
win.I say it is time to get inter-school sports out of high school
and college. Athletics will continue. they won't die; but schools will be
able to focus on what they are supposed to do.
The fact that very few athletic departments are profitable tells us that the
answer is yes we are spending too much on football in particular and sports in
general. The question is how much in alumni contributions is generated from
athletic programs. As much as I like college sports I doubt that for the vast
majority of schools the alumni contributions do not cover the losses of the
athletic departments. I have a feeling that includes all the institutions in