When somebody tells you there’s a spending crisis.
Okay, if you want the longer answer…
So how has this perpetual crisis rhetoric survived so long in the face of year-over-year revenue growth? The best explanation comes from a working paper by two economics professors at Western Kentucky University, Brian Goff and Dennis Wilson, which explains how useful it is to look poor whenever someone comes looking for money:
Keeping awareness of the rent flow4 low, permits either certain athletic or other university officials discretion over use of the flows. As a result, the most common practice over many decades has been to minimize or diminish apparent surpluses. In fact, the supposed losses have been a means for university presidents to pursue “cost containment.”
In other words, we’re always in a crisis because the people in power have a vested interest in seeming poor. This means many of those who’ve been predicting a looming college sports apocalypse have something very much in common with your run-of-the-mill apocalypse cult: They have something to sell. It’s worked for a century, so why not keep selling it until people stop buying?
Makes you wonder if anyone in Congress will be paying attention when Mark Emmert comes calling to ask for that antitrust exemption.