In the end, it’s always about the money.

More tales from a weak economy:

At the University of Maryland, Ralph Friedgen may keep his job after a 2-9 record in 2009 that will mark his fourth losing season in the last six years because the school simply may not be able to afford to pay his buyout if he’s fired.  That’s a novel way to ensure job security for a head coach.

And in the big picture, the Wiz speculates that money pressure ultimately may cause the American secondary school structure to go the way of the buggy whip and newspaper.

Enjoy betting on college sports while you can because within 10 to 20 years, entities such as the Florida State Seminoles, Penn State Nittany Lions and Washington Huskies will have gone the way of newspapers.

Higher education as we know it is poised to undergo a transformation that will render the brick-and-mortar university a thing of the past. With it will go sports teams.

The force behind this change, of course, is the Internet.

10 to 20 years?  That’s bad news for playoff proponents, if true.  By the time they’ll have gotten rid of the BCS, the whole shootin’ match will have faded into the sunset.


Filed under It's Just Bidness

19 responses to “In the end, it’s always about the money.

  1. BullGator

    There’s no way that’s going to happen. Newspapers don’t hold wuite the same place in American culture and tradition as the University. Most people I know would say, “No kid of mine will go to an online university”. This proporal is proposterous.


  2. NebraskaDawg

    10-20 years is a bit soon. Maybe in 40 – 50 years.


  3. baltimore dawg

    um, no. there is more capital construction in higher education in the pipeline right now than at any time since the post-war boom years. states and privates have been gearing up to absorb increasing enrollments. that’s right–*increasing*. before bricks-and-mortar higher ed goes the way of the horse and buggy, we’ll expect to see a sharp, you know, *decrease* in demand for it first. just the opposite has happened, all as online, for-profit diploma mills have proliferated in the last ten years, too. the data show that market demand for higher ed is great enough to accommodate (and require) the growth of traditionals and onlines, which is why enrollments are thriving at both. so far, what we have learned is that they don’t compete directly for the same students.

    there’s just nothing persuasive in arguments about the end of traditional higher ed just over the horizon when you take the facts into account.

    it’s worth noting that lots of people predicted the demise of bricks-and-mortar higher ed with the advent of “corresp0ndence” study, too.


  4. Section Z alum

    the innertubes might get more share of the education market, but methinks that that share won’t come from the psu’s, uga’s, of the world.

    is university of phoenix an acceptable credential for other than online graduate schools?


  5. Prov

    It’s harder to binge drink and have casual sex at an online university.


      • Great stuff. I was going to make a similar comment. The university experience is much less about education than it is about social development and learning to live life on your own (how many of your “core” classes involved learning the same stuff they taught you in high school?). You can get a real education at university, but it’s not required. That’s what a professional degree is for.

        I also second Normaltown Mike’s comments below.


  6. JaxDawg

    Traditional Universities are going anywhere and are not going to be replaced by online learning or any sort of thing.

    However, the cost to attend a state school, with or without lottery-based assistance, has hockey-sticked over the past 10 years. And when I say increased, I mean the cost has far, far outpaced the rate of inflation.

    2 problems exist: (1) demogrpahics – more children applied for college in 2009 than in any other year, ever. (2) colleges and universities have pushed the construction of new facilities to new heights based on private donations fueled by bull-markets and said tuition increases, which were also based on Mom and Dad’s buldging balance sheet and PFS. But these palace facilities cost money to operate, and with statewide budgets down (both private and municipal), the funds are difficult to find.

    And don’t even get me started on out-of-state tuition. For my Jacksonville children to attend UGA in 2009, it would have cost me approx. 32,000 per. Go figure. Jesus – Bowles is 20,00 per/child/year. Private institutions are completely out of control b/c there is zero state funding to offset the pain. (F you Vandy).

    Studies show that 2009 was the peak for applications and that the trend is down from here. This, combined with non-traditional education resources will eventually lower college tuition as we see a reversion to the mean.

    Is traditional education in trouble? Yes, in some ways. Will free market economics eventually bring costs in line? I believe so.


    • JaxDawg

      sorry Bolles. Either way it’s still $20,000 per.


    • baltimore dawg

      few things, jax. first, i enjoy your posts here. second, i feel your tuition-check-writing pain.

      on capital construction: it’s true that private donations/funding are common revenue sources, though it’s much, much less true for publics than privates. i mean, you can’t pay for operations with private donations because you can’t stick the donor’s name on the budget object code line. and you’re right that one consequence of the recession is that private donors have pulled back as a result. but that’s had a disproportionate impact on the privates’ capital funding; publics are actually in an even stronger position to build now than they have been in a while b/c their capital projects are funded for the most part by the sale of public bonds. and, as a reflection of investors’ flight to quality in the recession, states (especially) are paying out historically low rates on bonds. so there’s actually been a kind of mini-boom of bond-funded projects.

      on tuition and inflation: you’re right that the cost of attending has far exceeded the rate of inflation, but not because colleges’ and universities’ operating costs have increased commensurately. they haven’t. the increased cost of attendance for publics is almost wholly due to the *massive* shift of revenue from state appropriation to tuition/fees-paying students and parents. in other words, publics have been substantially privatized. increases in privates, for their market, reflect a strange paradox: the more they charge, the more students want to attend. privates still haven’t quite found the top of what the market will bear for them (we’re talking elite privates; not small church-affiliated schools–they’re struggling).

      trends in applications bear only indirectly on enrollments. there is so much overhang in applications that there would have to be a massive drop-off in applicant numbers to affect enrollment numbers: applications far exceed present capacity. i’m not aware of any data-intensive research that shows 2009 as the peak year for applications (which would be kind of hard to show anyway since applications (much less data) for 2010 have not happened yet for comparison), which is not to say that some haven’t suggested that it could be.

      you’re right, of course, though: costs can’t increase indefinitely (see, e.g., commodities in 2008), and higher ed is subject to change, too. but higher ed as we know it is a long way off from the radical market-driven changes that glib journalists who basically do no research write about all the time.

      damn: sorry for being so preachy. this is a topic that cheeses me off. and i’m home with the croup today, so i’m kind of bored.


      • rbubp

        Right. It won’t happen until students/families decide that prestige is irrelevant, or at least significantly less relevant, when choosing a college. And how likely is that?

        That said, there are applicant spaces available at the lower end. That’s who is affected by the U of P. But their problem is that the students they are after either want more prestige (go to a more expensive school) or better value (go to a CC or U of P).


  7. Normaltown Mike

    Thought provoking but the Wiz extrapolates info from a bad cluster. California is the least efficient state in the Union and the poster child for poor economic decisions.

    There are some valid points though:
    (1) In state tuition will continue to go up as state gov’s feel revenue pinch. There needs to be a higher correlation of tuition paid by in state students to actual cost of education. Did the State of Georgia actually benefit from my education being discounted?
    (2) Online courses will increase in popularity. But not as an alternative to attending a real college or university. Georgia will likely allow more credits to be satisfied by an on-line course. This is good for Georgia b/c they don’t have to retain as many low level faculty. As a research university, Georgia is primarily concerned with the publishing and research of the tenured faculty. These professors don’t like to be hassled with teaching English 101 and other entry level courses.

    As costs continue to grow, the 4 years of fun at State U will certainly be a luxury. People who can afford it will automatically send Jr. off b/c they value the intangible experience over the tangible cost. I see the JC’s and commuter skools in more trouble from this than the leafy schools scattered in sleepy college towns nationwide.

    As Prov points out, certain experiences can’t be recreated enrolled at Phoenix U from mom and dad’s basement.

    Even if they came up with the audio, Perry Sentell screeching about Helen Palsgraf wouldn’t sound the same on a Dell as it would in person, the SOB.


    • rbubp

      Right, Mike. The U of P threatens the bottom-tier schools that are already less expensive because they are competing for the same students–the ones who look for value in education, as opposed to prestige.


  8. Normaltown Mike

    Different Issue – The Fridge

    Is he still a good in game play caller? I haven’t seen a Maryland game in years. But when he was at YECH, he was a master at calling the least expected play at a given moment. The zenith of his genius was the 2k George Godsey show in Athens. He never seemed like a HC, but always a good OC.


  9. rbubp

    It’s interesting. Have Yale, Harvard, et. al., been losing applicants because their tuition and requirements are so high?

    NO. Raising perceived prestige INCREASES demand. (I don’t think you can say that about newspapers.) Certainly colleges need to figure out the cost thing, but the fact is that demand is as high as it has ever been for traditional college education. You say the Californians are fools, but history says otherwise: increasing tuition INCREASES demand. That may not always hold true, but it is presently a tested practice that student demand will not decrease even with the huge hike.

    Further, U of Phoenix and their ilk may be the ones undergoing a huge transformation in the immediate future:

    Those in academia have been expecting that both traditional colleges and hucksters like the U of P will be facing big transformations. But as its stands right now, here’s something that will clue everyone in to how universities think:

    A final thought regarding how sports may or may not be affected: at least in public schools, sports cost colleges NOTHING (or virtually nothing). 100% of all sports activities, save the possible exception of facilities maintenance (the light bill and custodial services), are funded privately by the AD and its associated AA. The state provides zero dollars to athletics. So, as long as the donations and ticket sales and bowl games and tv contracts keep rolling in, college athletics will have zero impact from whatever transformation colleges undertake.


  10. baltimore dawg

    wow. we are really casting about for something to discuss besides uga vs. gt, aren’t we?


  11. Dude

    Dumbest thing I’ve read since 1993.


  12. Bobby Fenton

    I think the first mistake everyone is making is taking something seriously that comes from “The Wiz”. That site would be worthless without the reporter’s notebook feature.