Category Archives: Athletics

It’s not just a HBU thing

Aaron Taylor has an article in Inside Higher Ed calling for historically black colleges to move to Division II. He makes some very good arguments. However, it’s worth noting that some of us think this argument goes beyond HBU programs and the the NCAA and the media have some obligation to creating meaningful competition and fan interest in schools beyond the big programs that make them the most money.

What UT Regents think students can afford

After bravely standing up against tuition increases UT Regents approved an athletic fee increase at UTSA to ensure that student can see their athletic program wade into Conference USA. UTSA students will now pay $20 per semester hour (up from $17) to ensure that their teams can afford to go to Marshall, East Carolina, and Central Florida.

Map of Conference USA Schools

How Much Is Your Alma Mater’s College Football Team Worth?

The Wall Street Journal is reporting (“How Much Is Your Alma Mater’s College Football Team Worth?“) that  the University of Texas football program is worth $805 million.  This makes UT football #1 and well ahead of Florida who finished $175 million behind UT. In fact, UT’s value more that doubles that of #14 Arkansas (a mere $345 million). You have to be worth more than $105 to rate in the top 50.

How can college football be competitive in this environment? Most can not. And, they’re probably not supposed to be. The television networks are making too much money off the battles of the big names to worry about whether or not little programs can actually compete.

When you hear about student-athletes being “exploited” by schools that make millions, remember that not all schools make millions and that paying players will only increase the gap between wealthy programs and the rest of the field.  It seems odd to me that the NCAA’s response to players being “exploited” for millions is to allow schools toss a few thousand dollars at select athletes. That seems to embrace the assumption that college sports have become a business and that paying off a few noisy players is more important than protecting real competition.

A program in need of assessment

According to ESPN (“Texas Longhorns approve Mack Brown’s contract extension“) UT regents extended head football coach Mack Brown’s contract through the end of the 2020 season with Brown keeping his current $5.2 million salary with annual $100,000 raises.

This comes after an 8-5 season (4-5 in conference).

If the state is committed to success-based funding I’d suggest they start with the state’s premier football program.

Students Gone Wild

The New York Times has a story (“How Big-Time Sports Ate College Life“) about how much student time can be consumed by college athletics at some campuses.   I spent ten years at a school where some of this happened during basketball season (the University of Kansas) and I know this happens. However, I also saw students hurt their grades by spending too much time doing lots of other things sponsored by the university. SFA doesn’t have anything that approaches the kind of sports-related fanaticism described in the article but that does not keep our students from finding other major distractions.

There are too many real issues (like the spending mentioned only briefly in the article) to spend time blaming athletics for its ability to distract students. Every generation and every campus has its own sets of diversions. I never camped out for sports tickets. I did camp out for Bruce Springsteen (and other concert) tickets. College life often involves doing too much of something and athletics is only one of the distractions the campus provides.

Title Win Would Give LSU Coach $5.9-Million Salary Bump – Players – The Chronicle of Higher Education

A LSU win on Monday night would raise Head Coach Les Miles’ salary $980,000 a year for the next six years (“Title Win Would Give LSU Coach $5.9-Million Salary Bump – Players“).

Meanwhile, Louisiana schools are losing faculty and programs.

Also, NCAA now allows paying player $2,000 a year in the name of fairness to athletes who are “exploited” while coaches and others get rich. Maybe we need to pay some coaches less, go back to not paying college athletes, and relieve the financial burden on the students who are stuck with the fees that pay for most of this.

The NCAA raises the bar

Stories in Inside Higher Ed (“Bar Raised for Athletic Eligibility“) and The Chronicle of Higher Education (“NCAA Adopts Academic Requirement for Tournament-Bound Teams, Promises Quick Action on Other Key Changes“) report how the NCAA has decided to raise the standard for teams participating in post-season play.

The change is significant. The standard the NCAA uses (the APR) has its problems. However, it is as good as we are likely to get. The new standards are not a problem for SFA. We’re already meeting the new standard.

Unfortunately, the NCAA has yet to address the rising costs of athletics and the inequalities between programs.