Non-profits profit.

I’m scratching my head a little over this quote:

NCAA president Myles Brand says repeatedly that he’s concerned about the “arms race” in big-time college sports, what he calls a “quiet crisis,” especially in football and men’s basketball.

He said recently that only six athletics departments are profitable and that spending for most athletics programs is increasing two to three times the annual rate of general university budgets for academics.

“Tension between faculty needs, academic needs and the desire of athletics departments to be competitive is really a very serious and growing issue,” Brand said.

According to a recent study by UTA Today, the average salary of the 120 major college coaches reached $1 million this year for the first time. Brand said 4 to 5 percent “sounds like money on the margins, but putting it into a stadium instead of science labs makes a difference. When we’re talking 4-5 percent of billions of dollars, that money makes a huge difference wherever it goes.”

Brand is concerned that only six athletics departments are profitable? I didn’t think any of them were supposed to turn a profit. The tax deductibility of contributions to college athletics is based upon its non-profit status.

Either a poor choice of words or bad editing.


Filed under It's Just Bidness, The NCAA

8 responses to “Non-profits profit.

  1. I guess the intended takeaway is that most athletics programs don’t support themselves, they pull money away from other, more core programs.

    That seems to ignore the massive value of exposure and legitimacy and school-pride and donations that indirectly come from athletics programs.

    In general, athletics are a boost to school resources, not a drain.


  2. Why is it Libraries vs. Stadiums?

    At UGA, the athletic department doesn’t take any public or university funds to run its school. In fact, it’s the opposite. The Athletic Department contributes financially to the University to the tune of several million a year.

    Without athletics, the sense of community around the college would be much less. Therefore, the “emotional need” to give would be much less.

    If schools are uncomfortable with the budgets of their programs, they should show some internal self control. Instead of complaining about the environment they are in they should change that environment.


  3. Note: By “public funds” I mean “Tax Payer Funds.”

    Obviously, they take public funds in terms of Hartman Gifts as well as other donations / endowments.


  4. If schools are uncomfortable with the budgets of their programs, they should show some internal self control. Instead of complaining about the environment they are in they should change that environment.

    The only way these guys think to make something like that happen is through collusion, which unfortunately for them, is illegal.

    I bet if you polled Brand and his constituents about their wish list with regard to collegiate athletics, #1 on it would be for Congress to grant the NCAA an anti-trust exemption.


  5. NM

    Only six make money? That seems awfully low when UGA turns profits of, what, $30-40M a year. There’s no way the drop-off is that steep, especially when there are more than six schools just in the SEC that are reasonably similar to us.

    Oh, and I think the term “non-profit” is confusing. It doesn’t mean that the organization is supposed to just break even every year, but rather that any surplus of revenue over expenses gets put back into the organization instead of paid to shareholders. So in that case you *want* your athletic departments to be “profitable” because otherwise they *are* drawing on the university at-large to pay the bills (and yes, taking money from the library). But all the points above about the intangible benefits to schools from athletics is something the NCAA surprisingly doesn’t talk about as much as they should…


  6. Richt-Flair

    I kinda like the idea of a for-profit entity. So if UGA goes to the BCS title, the shareholders (i.e., season ticket holders) get some return on investment. We’d be living it up like Mikey did in New Orleans.


  7. baltimore dawg

    Right–Brand or the editor meant “self supporting.”

    The fact is that almost all athletic programs below DI-A are paid for with general funds, which, yes, is the same pool of money that pays for library books and instructors and overhead projectors and all the rest. Most DI-A programs are not self supporting, but the state laws and system rules governing them generally forbid stateside funds going to self-support operations, so they operate at deficit, lobby for increased student fee funding (which is the most pernicious aspect of college athletics), and borrow against the state’s bond rating. So, yeah–excluding the small number of financially successful athletic programs, they bring often huge indirect costs for their institutions.

    Full disclosure: I’m a complete hypocrite on this matter because I love college sports . . . .


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