December 11, 2010

NCAA Athletic Departments

Read an interesting, and long, article related to NCAA Division I athletic departments on the site. The entire article is here, but a few highlights:

"Recently the NCAA reported that only 14 Division I-A programs clear a profit, while no college or university in the United States has an athletic department that is financially self-sustaining. Nobody in Division I -- not Alabama, not Auburn, not Oklahoma, nobody -- has an athletic department that pays its own way."

"The median big-university subsidy from general funds to sports is $10 million per school, the NCAA found. Many major college athletic programs claim to be self-sustaining, since this is what everyone wants to hear, but actually are not."

"Big-deal college sports programs need subsidies in part because Division I football and men's basketball coaches are overpaid. There are nearly 100 big-sports college coaches earning at least $2 million annually, most at public universities. More than 200 assistant football coaches in the college ranks earn at least $250,000 annually,...."

"In an era when budget stress is causing classes to be cut and core academic missions to be scaled back, many collegiate athletic departments are the most overstaffed organizations this side of a Monty Python sketch. Because sports is viewed as sacrosanct, the athletic department can get away with having far more people than needed -- then sending the bill to average students and to taxpayers."

"Ohio State lists 458 people in its athletic department."

"Does overstaffing happen only at enormous public universities? Columbia, an Ivy League school, has 71 people in its athletics department. That's not coaches, that's just the A.D. office -- which includes 16 people listed as "senior administration" and a "director of enrichment services," whatever that means."

"Big staffs certainly don't guarantee success. Columbia, with its top-heavy football staff, is 11-29 in its past four seasons. The University of Tennessee, with a 28-person football staff, just finished its season with a 6-6 record. Kansas needed a 23-person football staff to finish 3-9."

Please do read the entire article since I have just thrown out a few clips, as the author, Gregg Easterbrook, looks to have done a bit of research and makes some interesting arguments and illustrations. Even if you might be supportive of extreme spending in athletics and specifically on football and basketball, this article provides some food for thought.

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