An Athletic Arms Race: Maybe It's Time to Take a Hard Look at the Costs of Big-Time College Athletics. and, Mr. Budig Warns, We'd Better Start Looking at Secondary Athletics, Too, Because the Excesses Seem to Be Trickling Down to High School Programs and Their Fan Bases

By Budig, Gene A. | Phi Delta Kappan, December 2007 | Go to article overview

An Athletic Arms Race: Maybe It's Time to Take a Hard Look at the Costs of Big-Time College Athletics. and, Mr. Budig Warns, We'd Better Start Looking at Secondary Athletics, Too, Because the Excesses Seem to Be Trickling Down to High School Programs and Their Fan Bases


Budig, Gene A., Phi Delta Kappan


MYLES Brand, a fellow former university president, is a friend of mine. He is, I believe, a person of unquestioned integrity and high principle. But as president of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), he has been asked to fend off an unruly mob with a switch. In the present environment for collegiate sports, his chances for success are slight, at best.

What Brand and the NCAA face today is a very real arms race, one fueled by an insatiable appetite on the part of students, alumni, and the general public for college athletic success. Fiscal restraint is not frequently in evidence. New, multimillion-dollar facilities now seem to be the rule, rather than the exception. As Brand has told me, "Institutions hold mortgages on burgeoning facility expansion that represents on average 20% of intercollegiate athletics spending."

Too few understand that only a handful of major intercollegiate athletic programs actually make money (fewer than 15 at last count). Meanwhile, the rest struggle to break even. Despite television income, growing ticket revenues, and contributions from supporters, big-time college athletics is a high-risk business.

Let us not forget that marquee football and basketball coaches are paid millions of dollars a year, many times over what is allotted to outstanding faculty members and administrators. Not too many years ago, the million-dollar coach was a rarity. That is no longer the case, with at least 50 of the "Football Bowl Subdivision" of NCAA Division I (formerly Division I-A) head coaches annually earning $1 million or more. There were five in 1999. Coaches at the Bowl Subdivision schools are making an average of more than $950,000 a year.

Brand has said that the salaries of million-dollar coaches have averaged 3.1% of the schools' football budgets. The University of Alabama paid Nick Saban $4 million a year to return the Crimson Tide to the glory days of legendary coach Bear Bryant. Saban is being paid 9% of the Alabama football budget.

Too many athletic departments rely on some form of university subsidy, a sore point with faculty members and elected state officials. A growing number of elected federal officials believe that athletic departments have more influence than they should and need to be reined in. Members of the House Ways and Means Committee are threatening to take action, because they believe college athletic programs have moved too far away from their original and intended purposes and in many instances are undercutting institutional missions. The threat is real.

Some members of Congress see today's major college football and basketball programs as professional-like in nature and substance and resent their tax-exempt status. Former University of Michigan President James Duderstadt has said repeatedly, "The simplest way to characterize the problem with college sports is to recognize that it is a very profitable commercial entertainment business that is moving farther and farther away from the original academic purposes of the university."

Any congressional intrusion is certain to be actively discouraged by college presidents and their trustees, who will argue that they are best able to regulate collegiate sports. And I believe a clear majority of the House and Senate members will be careful to end up on the right political side of the issue, because they realize the immense and growing popularity of college football and basketball with the voters. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

An Athletic Arms Race: Maybe It's Time to Take a Hard Look at the Costs of Big-Time College Athletics. and, Mr. Budig Warns, We'd Better Start Looking at Secondary Athletics, Too, Because the Excesses Seem to Be Trickling Down to High School Programs and Their Fan Bases
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.