As critical as I’ve been about Butts-Mehre of late, I have to admit that it could be worse.
They actually pay people to make decisions like that.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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…