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Following The Money Shows Why College Presidents Believe Athletics Can Be Left Behind

Total152 The threat of no college football season is here with the Big Ten possibly voting to cancel their season in the wake of the MAC officially announcing they had formally canceled the season. While there are many, like myself, who believe we should have a college football season, it’s fairly easy to see when More

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Written by Michael Shamburger

Michael has 11+ years covering golf and college football. He's walked alongside Tiger, bleeds Purple and Gold, and is thankful for Joe Burrow! DBAP

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    • Athletics is definitely the front porch for many universities, but there is also an old money vs new money argument to be made. Old money is in and established and they don’t need college athletics. New money would argue in favor because it brings in new eyes which brings in new donors.

  1. Hey Michael,
    Broo (hope that’s okay) and Michael, I agree with both your insights.
    It seems like so much chaos has been thrown into the mix that order, the old order of academia (universities as places of learning above all else), is pushing back to show who is still in control.

  2. Just my opinion but I think we’re underestimating the value of sports to these Universities, especially now that brick and mortar education is slipping further away every year. Sports have put schools like Gonzaga on the map, and there are kids from all across America that choose to attend Bama or LSU purely due to the football experience. Take away college football from Bama and LSU and the draw for students goes down considerably.

    Now the Ivy League Schools, Northwestern, probably even Duke, they would still draw a lot of attention regardless of athletics.

    • For us in the SEC, sports is important. It’s not just for fans but states as well. The issue for the Big 10 is that all of those schools are academically driven AAU members. Gonzaga’s proposed budget for 2018-19 was $313 million. Their athletic sales and services amount to $6.5 amounting to 2.09% of gross revenue.

      Athletics is a great advertisement for the smaller schools for sure and that makes it very important in many aspects.

      Undergrad $193 mil, Grad $26 mil, Law $11 mil, Dining $11 mil, Housing $15 mil.

      The draw for students to attend LSU and Alabama may seem like athletics, and it is for a lot of kids, but those are state institutions and if kids in the state of Louisiana or Alabama go to them, they pay less than they would out of state.

      I understand your point, but I think there is more to it than just branding athletics as the sole reason kids choose a school because kids leave the state all the time for “better” educations when they are offered scholarships. Those scholarships aren’t paid for by athletics.

  3. You hit the nail on the head. It’s all about the money for these college administrators. Although I do think they are being very short-sighted. They do not understand that there is a big attraction for many prospective students that will be lost as well as there is an established correlation between alumni donations and athletic success. Take away division I football and basketball and some kids will be pulled away to smaller schools. When a billionaire alum donates $100mm for a new indoor athletic facility, I do not believe that gets counted in the athletic budget, but rather is considered plant or general fund. Clearly this donation would never take place without sports.

    • I was having this discussion with someone earlier and had the same discussion years ago when conference realignment was taking place. I could see nearly all non-Power 5 conferences ending up as a club model with the NCAA at the helm. From there, Power 5 would pull in a few more and establish new leadership.

      Unlikely, but it could happen.

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