Tag:full cost of attendance scholarships
Posted on: August 15, 2011 12:18 pm
Edited on: August 15, 2011 12:22 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
Reactions to this weekend's seismic snub of Texas A&M by the SEC -- or it just a postponement until the legal wrangling is settled? -- have come from far and wide. But the one from former NCAA president Cedric Dempsey suggests that the proper reation is to assume nothing has changed where the BCS conferences' eventual destination is concerned.
The NCAA's head honcho from 1993 to 2002, Dempsey told the Birmingham News that "the handwriting is on the wall" when it comes to college athletics superconferences and the eventual split of those conferences from the rank-and-file of Division I.
The make-or-break issue, as you might expect, is the full cost of attendance scholarships that only the superconferences will be able to afford. "There's no doubt we're looking in the next three, four or five years -- at most -- of seeing conferences from 14 to 18 members," Dempsey said.
Those conferences would then either have a new set of NCAA rules rewritten for them, or -- in a move Dempsey characterizes as "less likely" -- simply withdraw from the NCAA entirely.
Keep in mind that this isn't some anonymous NCAA-hater who's been waiting with baited breath for the organization to finally lose its grip on the way college athletics is run. Quite the opposite: Dempsey has a vested interest in seeing the NCAA maintain something resembling the status quo. But even that isn't enough to make him optimistic major college football will be able to keep everyone on the same playing field.
Of course, with the advent of full cost scholarships, there's some positives to this development from Dempsey's perspective. (Dempsey noted the irony that when asked to provide a share of NCAA Tournament money to athletes during his tenure, the conference commissioners balked; now that that money could be used to provide an athletic advantage, those same commisioners are gung-ho.) But the bottom line remains the same: when even the NCAA's former biggest cheerleaders believe the current FBS model is doomed, the A&M-SEC flirtation looks more and more like an early fissure in an eventual college football earthquake.
Posted on: June 28, 2011 3:23 pm
Edited on: June 28, 2011 3:50 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
USA Today today posted an exhaustive database of athletic "subsidies" for every NCAA Division I school--i.e., how much does each university itself (via student fees, public funding, or any other addition to the institutional budget) pay for its athletic department out of its own metaphorical pocket?
For most BCS conference schools (partciularly those in the SEC, Big Ten and Big 12), their athletic departments are nearly self-sufficient, with 20 percent or less of their budgets coming from direct university funding. But that's not the case everywhere, and especially not at Rutgers, which USA Today found has offered its athletic department some $115 million in subsidies the past five years. That number is nearly double the figure at any other BCS school, and comes in the face of a state budget crisis that has forced the school to withhold $30 million worth of scheduled raises for faculty and staff.
So, to briefly recap: Rutgers forks over some $23 million a year to its athletic department (nearly $27 million in 2010), then tells its professors it can't afford to give them money it had already promised them. This is going over every bit as well as you might imagine:
"A student doesn't come to Rutgers to attend a football game. They come here to get an education — and then maybe attend a football game," says Patrick Nowlan,executive director of the Rutgers teachers' union.Relations between faculty and athletics at BCS schools aren't always friendly even in the best of times, and now that the country's economic troubles are hitting the former harder than the latter, it's no surprise Rutgers is far from alone in seeing its faculty publicly angered by the money spent on sports. But what, in practical terms, does this -- and the situations like it across the country -- mean for college football?
Our honest guess is: not a heck of a lot. As long as the sport exists in its current arms-race state, big-time college football is an all-or-nothing proposition; you simply can't compete -- even in the Big East, as Rutgers has discovered -- without a complete commitment to the sport. The faculty have a perfectly legitimate gripe, but unless something fundamental about college football's finances changes, it'll be something of a shock if they amount to anything more than a few saved nickels here and there.
Of course that "something fundamental" might be happening right now in the form of full cost of attendance scholarships. (For more on this from John Calipari, see our last post.) This is where the issue of subsidies could really rear its ugly head--while it's one thing to pay for player stipends with athletic money and supersized TV contracts (a windfall Rutgers seems to be counting on to solve its current issues), it's another to pay for them out of the pockets of the very teachers who will be instructing the players in question. And that goes double once you leave the cozy confines of the BCS conferences; according to the USA Today database, the top 50 schools in terms of lowest 2010 percentages of budget subsidies were BCS schools. (Fresno State was the top non-AQ school, with "only" 28 percent of its athletic funding subsidized.)
So if the full cost of attendance bandwagon continues to pick up steam, yes, you can expect the athletics-vs.-academics funding battle to really pick up steam, particularly at schools like Rutgers or USF that have BCS memberships and still find themselves heavily subsidized. But until then? As ugly as the numbers in places like Piscataway might be, it'll be pretty much business as suual.