The cost of non-conference opponents keeps rising exponentially, and the Des Moines Register hosts a pity party for the poor old athletic directors at the big schools that are being stuck with the tab.
… The big schools are helpless under current rules that include 12-game seasons.
“It’s like coaches’ salaries,” Smith said. “There’s not a whole lot you can do about what we’re paying for nonconference games; there’s anti-trust laws.
“We’ve talked about it among athletic directors. It’s not a good direction, but there’s nothing that we can do about it. It’s the cost of doing business these days.”
Helpless? Puh-leeze. And those pesky anti-trust laws – foiled again!
This is nothing but the consequences of simple supply and demand. The schools added a twelfth game and without conference schedule expansion there’s a limited crop of schools to solicit opponents from. The result is that Northeastern Cupcake State can charge more for its “services”. In some cases, lots more:
“We won’t talk to anybody in the future unless it’s for $1 million or over to go out of the state,” Florida International athletic director Pete Garcia said.
But here’s the best part. The big boys are adding schools to the schedule whose main purpose in life for the most part is to provide a good shot at a win (Appy State aside), not to generate fanbase enthusiasm. But if the payouts are going to cost more, then what? You guessed it.
“The higher guarantees are simply part of running an athletics department, no different than higher travel costs, tuition increases and facilities improvement,” Pollard said. “Considering over 50 percent of most athletics department’s revenues are ticket sales and donations, it would be reasonable to assume (higher payouts) would contribute to higher ticket prices.”
Reasonable. Talk about adding insult to injury. And it’s not like the big schools aren’t making good money even after paying out these sums.
… Iowa nets around $1.3 million, after nonconference payouts, for nonconference home games in a stadium school officials hope is sold out for the 31st consecutive time Saturday against Maine.
Iowa State anticipates $1 million profit for each of its two nonconference home games, the first on Thursday.”The big payouts, they’re not worth it, but unless I’m going to secede from the NCAA, which I’m not going to do, I have to operate in the marketplace,” Iowa’s Barta said.
Ohio State’s average profit per home game is between $4 million and $4.5 million in 102,000-seat Ohio Stadium.
Nebraska sees an average profit of $3 million each time the Cornhuskers play in 82,000-seat Memorial Stadium.
In other words, even if the dates aren’t as cheap, they can still afford ‘em. They just don’t want to.
I still think at some point in time this plays out with expanded conference scheduling as a cost control device.
The Register also compiled a payout database comprised of 82 percent of the schools playing D-1 ball, if you’re interested.