You know, I’ve never advocated governmental action as a remedy for the NCAA’s excesses – that whole “cure being worse than the disease” thing’s in the back of my head – but I’m not going to tell you I find Sally Jenkins’ post on the subject unconvincing.
How can you not share in a bit of her righteous indignation when she makes points like this?
At Florida State, salaries for non-coaching administrators rose from $7.7 million to $15 million. That’s the raise the Seminoles athletic staff gave itself for running up a deficit of $2 million while presiding over an academic fraud scandal involving 10 teams and mishandling criminal allegations against football players. This is a state school and a recipient of federal funds.
Example: Rutgers is $36.3 million in the red. In 2006, it pled necessity in cutting a half-dozen sports. Yet at the same time, Rutgers was spending $175,000 on hotel rooms for six home football games — more than the entire budget of the eliminated men’s tennis team.
You think Auburn administrators are going to eliminate the 15 athletic department jobs they created in the past decade that pay more than $100,000 each annually? You think Tennessee Athletic Director Dave Hart is going to cut away the extra $150,000 a year he makes for “media appearances” (When is the last time anyone asked to see an athletic director on TV?) to save a non-revenue team?
These folks are already behaving like government officials. They just get to operate without any real oversight.
Throw in a standard dose of institutional arrogance, and while I can’t quite bring myself to cross the bridge she’s taken…
For too long, college athletic directors and their pipe-tamping bosses in the chancellors’ offices have pretended that NCAA reform is difficult, if not impossible. It isn’t. Reform is simple. Athletic departments should be subjected to the same budgetary constraints as any other university department — by law. All Congress has to do is threaten their federal funding and tax-exempt status, and you will see plenty of reform, presto. The chair of an engineering department is not permitted to spend indiscriminately, so why should athletic directors be able to — especially when they siphon university money away from other departments to cover their overdrafts?
… I can’t bring myself to criticize her for going there, either. Who knows, maybe all it will take is the threat of regulation to make schools and the NCAA see the light… eh, who am I kidding here? If there’s one thing you can say about those people, they won’t do anything until they absolutely have to.
And even when they do, it’ll be the bare minimum.