For nearly two years, the Knight Commission has studied the out-of-control spending in collegiate athletics, searching for solutions to help bridge the growing gap between the haves and have nots.

If the following list is the best the commission members could come up with, that’s two years of their lives they’ll never get back.

  • Rewarding schools that make academic values a priority, including the creation of an Academic-Athletics Balance Fund. The reform group recommends at least 20 percent of the overall funds available for BCS conference distributions be allocated to this fund.  The conferences then would take this allocation and distribute the funds to members who meet the following criteria: maintaining at least a 50 percent graduation rate; and showing an appropriate balance between investments in athletics and education.
  • The group also recommends strengthening eligibility requirements for championships: schools would only be eligible with a graduation rate of at least 50 percent.
  • The Commission also asked for greater transparency from universities, including better measures to compare athletics spending to academic spending.
  • It also asks for bowl games to end by early January, preventing athletes’ identities to be used to promote commercial entities; enforcing coaching limitations and reducing football scholarships from 85 to 75.
  • On the topic of coaches salaries, which continue to skyrocket, the commission recommends a ban on athletic staff members having separate contracts with apparel, equipment or shoe companies.

These people are detached from reality.  There’s nothing on that list that stands a snowball’s chance in hell of gaining general acceptance in the present day world of college athletics.  And I say that as someone who thinks that a reduction in the number of football scholarships would be a good thing, both for the cost savings and for the increase in competitiveness that would result.

But grandiose pronouncements that ignore economics won’t make it so.

“It’s vitally important to preserve the integrity of collegiate sports,” said Knight Commission member Carol Cartwright, president of Bowling Green. “The Committee believes we can no longer base shared revenue on winning but instead on maintaining the right balance between athletics and academics.”

I’m sure it does.  But I’m equally sure that ESPN, Fox and CBS could care less.

There’s a place for the balance she yearns for.  It’s called the Ivy League.

Like it or not – and based on this quote,

“The dynamic at work today is this disparity between the increasing athletic budgets and the decreasing or challenged academic budgets,” said Knight Commission Co-Chairman William E. “Brit” Kirwan, chancellor, University System of Maryland. “It creates a conflict of the principles of what institutions are founded to do and I think the time is right to embrace these recommendations.”

… it’s fair to say that the committee members line up in the “or not” group – driven by football, D-1 college athletics are heading towards a permanent split between the haves and the have-nots.  The only question is whether the politicians move to stop that from happening.


Filed under Academics? Academics., College Football, It's Just Bidness

9 responses to “Socialism!

  1. 81Dog

    To paraphrase Babe Ruth, someone asked why Nick Saban made eleventy billion dollars last year, and William E. “Brit” Kirwan, chancellor, University System of Maryland, only made a few hundred grand, and the easy answer was, “Well, Nick had a lot better year than ‘Brit’ did.”

    I suppose that, in the opinion of pasty intellectuals and deep thinkers like “Brit” and his ilk, it’s a shame that “glorified PE teachers” like Nick Saban make millions for babysitting gross athletic barbarians while full professors of medieval tile grouting techniques (“have you seen Professor Von Snoot’s book on the grouts of pre-Rennaisance Czechoslovakia? It’s breathtaking in its scope!”) are forced to toil their laborious 3 hour days, 3 times a week for much less.

    Maybe “Brit” should audit an economics class at some point. Probably, in order to ensure the purity of his academic mission, he should just shut down the athletics programs in the University System of Maryland.


  2. Prov

    Nice headline. Cue the partisan bullshiters.


  3. baltimore dawg

    i wouldn’t say they’re divorced from reality–most of these people don’t actually believe most of what the report recommends; i’d say they’re hypocrites and liars–at least those members of the commission who are or have been university presidents (such as our own mike adams, who sits on the commission).

    let’s not forget that university presidents are the executive officers who preside over the organizations and who set the priorities that have resulted in the imbalances so many of them bemoan from one side of their mouths (and encourage from the other). outsized budgets for athletics don’t happen without presidents’ consent.

    i’ve worked in higher ed all my life. there is no one in america more full of shit than a university president.


    • The situation reminds me so much of the financial flailing about the baseball owners did in the wake of the reserve clause being tossed out. In essence, their position boils down to “please help us stop ourselves”.


      • It’s just like the NBA owners that are now pleading for help now after the report came out that the league lost $400M last year. Pretty simple solution. Quit giving average players like Jalen Rose max contracts. No offense to Mr. Rose, but you weren’t worth a $70M deal back when you got it. The NBA has the most inflated contracts of any American professional sports league and its the owners faults. Yet, they want us to take the hit as fans because of their own incompetencies by raising ticket prices and holding cities like Seattle hostage that aren’t willing to publicly finance new arenas. Pro sports owners make me nearly as sick as the university presidents.


  4. The Realist

    If the people that make the money are not paid the money, they’ll stop making the money… for you.

    A true split between the haves & have nots is overdue. The only problem is that the have nots want their cake and to eat it, too. They want to be a part of big time college athletics and they don’t want to spend (or can’t spend) what it takes to truly compete.

    Bowling Green? Yeah, okay. Go join NAIA where you can focus on academics all you please. You will not be missed. Don’t even get me started on Maryland. Hypocrites.


  5. The redistribution part of it is interesting to me, considering the background of many of the members of the Commission. There’s a whole lot of folks on there that made their money in journalism. I’m sure they wouldn’t mind taking “at least 20 percent” of their income and putting it in a pool to be redistributed to failing newspapers that someone else decides is worthy.


  6. mykiesee

    Scary thought. The federal government gets involved and decides to take a percentage to give to the Department of Education to help with public schools across the nation. Anywhere money is being made government eventually sniffs it out and comes calling. Kinda like Deebo in the movie “Friday”.


  7. Mayor of Dawgtown

    D-1A needs to split again into a smaller group (the haves) and a larger group (the have nots). If you recall this is what created D-1AA and D-2 in the first place.