I’m not surprised that the commissioner of the Horizon League is asking for this…
Jon LeCrone thinks that needs to change. Speaking at an event here focused on revenue distribution in college sports, the commissioner of the Horizon League proposed ending the practice of financially rewarding institutions based on their on-court success in the NCAA tournament.
“What does it mean in a collegiate-based model or a model based on the values of higher education when we have amateur players playing for money?” LeCrone said during a panel organized by the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton Sports Business Initiative. “Is that where we should be?”
Handing out money based on tournament victories “may get us to places where we’re doing things that aren’t necessarily value-based,” said LeCrone, a former member of the NCAA’s Division I Men’s Basketball Committee.
… just that it’s taken him so long to do so. And where, you might ask, should things be? Well, since you asked…
Jeffrey Orleans, former executive director of the Ivy League, suggested an alternative: Why not distribute that money equitably across all 340-plus Division I institutions? That would provide less-wealthy institutions with more financial stability, he said, and could lead to more competitive balance in the game.
Professional leagues have done this for years, distributing revenue from media and marketing deals equitably across all teams, said Glenn Wong, a professor of sport management and the faculty athletics representative at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
Skipping past the obvious counter – that college athletics are an organized monolith like professional leagues are and thus don’t have the same self-interest in sharing – about how long do you figure it would take for every non-Division I school to make a move up to share in the wealth?
Though you’ve got to be amused by John Lombardi’s come back here.
If colleges want to have a discussion about spreading the wealth, he said, they need to consider the broader concentrations of power across higher education. Ninety-five percent of federal research grants are controlled by 150 colleges, he said, with the top 25 institutions controlling 45 percent of the money.
“Intercollegiate athletics is not the only superstar, high-money, highly concentrated activity that American universities engage in for big bucks,” he said. “So, let’s not focus only on athletics as the big-money part of higher education. We have big money in lots of places. And it is very similarly distributed in other places in terms of concentration and superstar compensation–just to spread the wealth.”
Hey, it’s the jocks vs. the nerds!
In the end, this kind of stuff sounds like more fuel for the fire for the D-1 separation that seems more inevitable with every day’s passing.