College Sports Commission Calls for Reform on Spending

Image Via: Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Sports

Image Via: Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Sports

There’s no denying that sports instill college students with school pride and spirit. Sports programs are valuable, but when schools are investing more money on the football field than in the classroom, it may be time for some colleges to re-think their spending.

In early June, The Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics called for several financial and academic reforms. One in particular wants NCAA schools to set aside at least 20 percent of their income from the football Bowl Championships Series for the classroom.

The commission’s report, called the “Restoring the Balance: Dollars, Values and the Future of College Sports,” couldn’t have been released at a better time. Just last week, the Big 12 Conference averted the Pac-10 raid that would have likely created at least one 16-team megaconference and would have attracted profitable television deals. The raid, which hoped to take in several schools, would have dissolved the Big 12. But for now, the Pac-10 has added the University of Utah and the University of Colorado.

“This report is particularly timely given the commercially driven agenda of conference realignment,” William Kirwan said, chancellor of the University System of Maryland and co-chairman of the Knight panel. “There is every reason to believe that the current direction of big-time college sports is leading us to even greater imbalances in the fiscal priority for athletics over athletics.”

The report states that from 2005 to 2008, nearly all of the athletic programs at football bowl subdivision schools on average spend more than six times as much on athletics per capita than on academics.

The commission is calling for colleges with loaded athletic programs to share the wealth with the rest of the school, and with the recent economic crisis, schools need help more than ever. The recession has caused colleges’ endowments to diminish, leaving several schools to increase tuition and lay off professors.

The Knight panel formed in 1989, and since then, some of their recommendations have been welcomed by the NCAA, while others have been shot down. But Kirwan said the recent economic meltdown gives good cause for reform in college sports spending.

“The time is right,” he said. “The larger fiscal crisis gives this report special currency and importance.”

Via the Mercury News

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