Category Archives: It’s Just Bidness

“At the heart of the problem is an addiction to lavish spending.”

Matt Hayes (yeah, I know) cites a report that claims 86 percent of college athletes live below the poverty line.  Now before you go running off from that, note that Hayes manages the correct take in response:

However, a majority of students in college—those who play sports and those who don’t—fall well below the federal poverty line. Moreover, many current student athletes wouldn’t qualify academically under current freshman guidelines.

The NCAA sees this as a tradeoff: Athletes receive a free education, are trained by coaches and athletic trainers at the top of their profession, and receive free academic tutoring (among other things) to play and make millions for their schools. Athletes—and the NCPA—of course see it differently, and have a solid argument.

Still, by adding the “poverty” argument, the NCPA—a group that has been a strong advocate for student athletes—is confusing the narrative and looks desperate. Instead of talking poverty, the NCPA should continue to drive home these numbers:

— Texas football players were valued at $513,922.

— Duke basketball players were valued at $1,025,656.

That’s not all the NCPA should drive home, though.  There’s plenty more to shout about, beginning with P5 athletic departments spending money like drunken sailors on shore leave.

Big-time college sports departments are making more money than ever before, thanks to skyrocketing television contracts, endorsement and licensing deals, and big-spending donors. But many departments also are losing more money than ever, as athletic directors choose to outspend rising income to compete in an arms race that is costing many of the nation’s largest publicly funded universities and students millions of dollars. Rich departments such as Auburn have built lavish facilities, invented dozens of new administrative positions and bought new jets, while poorer departments such as Rutgers have taken millions in mandatory fees from students and siphoned money away from academic budgets to try to keep up.

Auburn?  Why, whatever would make you look at Auburn?

Jacobs’s pay has steadily risen since he started in 2005, from $407,300 to $648,700, and he’s been able to hire some help. In January 2014, Jacobs created a chief operating officer position, a No. 2 to take over the department’s day-to-day operations.

For that job, Jacobs chose Benedict, whom he lured away from Minnesota athletics with a salary of $310,000.

Benedict strongly disagreed with characterizing any Auburn spending as bloated.

“I don’t think it’s any different than any other competitive industry,” Benedict said. “As college athletics has generated more money, we’re going to invest more.”

It’s not accurate, Benedict said, to analyze college athletics in terms of profits or losses.

“There’s no for-profit company that would operate the way college athletics do,” he said. “We don’t make decisions based on the bottom line. If we did, things would operate very differently.”

Er, um… nevermind.

These guys aren’t strapped for cash.  They just operate in a world with different rules.  Which is why you have to laugh at this:

There are athletic departments that profit without a perennially great football team, and without taking millions away from students. Indiana University routinely does it, despite being in the middle of the pack of the Power Five in earnings, with $84.7 million in 2014.

How do they do it?

“Hoosier tightwadness,” Indiana Athletics Director Fred Glass said. “We don’t spend more than we take in.”

Glass expressed puzzlement when asked why so many departments struggle to turn a profit.

“If I knew the answer to that, maybe I’d be head of the NCAA or something,” he said.

Dude, with an approach like that, they wouldn’t let you near running the NCAA.

The money is there at major programs to treat student-athletes properly.  The schools just aren’t going to spend it that way until they have to.


Filed under It's Just Bidness, The NCAA

“You take the games when you can get them…”

Not sure why this is puzzling to some:

The more interesting question is why certain schools, particularly those from the Football Championship Subdivision, are willing to accommodate the SEC’s scheduling needs and play at a point in the season when it may not be convenient for them.

C’mon, dude.  You really have to ask?

This week, for instance,Charleston Southern goes to No. 3 Alabama for a $500,000 payday.

A program’s gotta do what a program’s gotta do.


Filed under It's Just Bidness

Collect them all!

While I’m on my high horse this morning, I thought I’d share something with you an alert reader sent me.

Check out the Georgia Bulldog toys you can buy here.  Todd Gurley, Knowshon Moreno, Jarvis Jones, Matthew Stafford and A.J. Green, all bedecked in red and black, school jersey numbers included.  So much for that “what’s on the front of the uniform is all that matters” stuff.

They’re all professionals now, so there’s no NCAA violation to worry about.  But, assuming those five were paid for their names – and if they weren’t, it’s time to go see a lawyer, boys – doesn’t that shred the whole “how could the schools ever figure out a way to pay student-athletes for their likenesses?” argument?

Sharing money is such a bother, though.  Can’t everyone just leave the schools alone about it?


Filed under It's Just Bidness, The NCAA

Pay the man.

For those of you who’ve indulged yourselves making up Greg McGarity’s shopping list after he cans Mark Richt, keep in mind that HOT NAME isn’t gonna come without a fight, financially speaking.

Exhibit A:  Houston just proposed doubling Tom Herman’s salary to $3 million a year.  That’s after a whole ten games on the job.  Ten.

Which isn’t to say that Herman couldn’t do better at, say, Missouri, where the guy who hired him at Houston is now the AD.  But it’s also not to say that he won’t go anywhere without getting major bucks to do so.  All Houston has done is raise the height of the floor.

Whichever HOT NAME signs first this winter will set the market.  Jimmy Sexton will see to that.  Things will just take off from there in a feeding frenzy.

Does that sound to you like the kind of thing the Georgia Way does well?


UPDATE:  Memphis looks to jack up Justin Fuente’s salary, too.


Filed under It's Not Easy Being A Mid-Major, It's Just Bidness

“There’s no doubt that safety is maybe the issue of the day.”

Before you get all misty-eyed at the thought that the NCAA might finally be on its way to making sure that its amateur student-athletes have health-care coverage after they have finished their college careers, let’s remember that schools have to be prudent.  Or at least give lip service to being prudent.

Ohio State president Michael Drake joined Pastides in this view, saying: “It’s a complicated issue … but it’s certainly something that I’d like for us to be able to discuss and would think upon very favorably.”

Complicated = “before we do this, we’ve got to make sure we can still afford to keep spending money on shitty coaching contracts, bloated administrative staffs and unnecessary facilities”.

Maybe they’ll be able to pay for it with the next round of playoff expansion.  Sounds like the perfect opportunity to create a study group that’ll get back with recommendations in a few years…


Filed under It's Just Bidness, The Body Is A Temple, The NCAA

Tuesday morning buffet

Been a while since I’ve stocked up the breakfast bar.

  • Does anyone believe Larry Scott when he says, “Very, very low on the totem pole is what’s best to get a team in the playoff.”?
  • Herbie runs his mouth again, apologizes..
  • James Carville says it’s time for a fan bill of rights.  Not gonna happen.
  • Continuing problems with the Neyland Stadium turf?  I’m shocked, shocked to hear that.
  • SEC Network’s Dari Nowkhah on the media’s preseason love for Auburn:  “But we believed the hype about Jeremy Johnson. We believed the hype about Will Muschamp.”  Well, whose fault is that?
  • Miami goes with a search committee and a search firm in its hunt for a new coach.  Nice belt and suspenders approach there.  At least the AD will have plenty of people to blame if the hire flops.
  • Further evidence that the people running college sports have no clue how to manage a dollar:  University of South Carolina president Harris Pastides said the school’s decision to pay Steve Spurrier for the remainder of his current contract year even though Spurrier resigned mid-season was made at least partially out of concern that it would end up having to pay him an even greater amount of money.
  • Gosh, you’d think winning a national title and playing for another one this decade would make Auburn fans less grumpy than this.


Filed under ACC Football, Auburn's Cast of Thousands, BCS/Playoffs, It's Just Bidness, Media Punditry/Foibles, Pac-12 Football, SEC Football

“Great research universities tend to have great athletic programs.”

And mid-major schools with shitty football programs tend to charge their students a lot of money to subsidize them.

The Panthers, now in their sixth season, haven’t given fans much reason to celebrate. In the 2013 and 2014 seasons, competing at the highest level of the National Collegiate Athletic Association, the team recorded just a single victory. Average attendance last year was among the 10 worst in the NCAA’s top level. Yet Georgia State’s 32,000 students are still required to cover much of the cost. Over the past five years, students have paid nearly $90 million in mandatory athletic fees to support football and other intercollegiate athletics — one of the highest contributions in the country…

… At Georgia State, athletic fees totaled $17.6 million in 2014, from a student population in which nearly 60 percent qualify for Pell Grants, the federal aid program for low-income students. The university contributed an additional $3 million in direct support to its sports programs. All told, those subsidies represented about three-fourths of the athletics budget.

Georgia State is far from an outlier. Last year, sports programs at 47 other public colleges reviewed by The Chronicle and HuffPost were even more dependent on fees and other institutional support as a percentage of their athletic budget.

I’m sure this makes sense to somebody.  I’m just happy I’m not someone who’s taken out student loans to pay for athletic fees.


Filed under It's Just Bidness