John Fizel and Rodney Fort
College sports are big business. Major college coaches, such as basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski at Duke University or football coach Phillip Fulmer at the University of Tennessee, make headlines when their compensation packages exceed $1-2 million annually, making them the highest paid university and state employees. Coaches often earn additional income through sports camps, media shows, and athletic apparel endorsement contracts. Washington State University, a modestly funded major collegiate sports program, reported athletic revenue of $16.8 million for 1997-1998. 1 College athletic events are held in state-of-the-art facilities, like the University of Maryland basketball program's new $107 million dollar arena. The NCAA reports 2001-02 revenues of approximately $346 million from Division I sports, $14.6 million from Division II, and $11 million from Division III. Television contracts for Atlantic Coast, Big East, Big 10, Pac 10, and SEC conference football are valued at approximately $350 million, not including shares of the $140 million paid out from 1998 post-season Bowl games, while CBS just negotiated an 11-year, $6 billion contract to broadcast the NCAA Division I basketball tournament.
Where do, or should, these lucrative athletic ventures fit in the mission of higher education? To what extent is the central mission of creating an environment for learning and extending the frontiers of knowledge enhanced or limited by college sports? Are declarations by the NCAA to promote