- https://www.syracuse.com/orangefootball/2017/08/which_school...
You can see from that list that the vast majority of sports that were cut were non-revenue, men's sports. $1.05M lost to paying the football team could just as likely be covered by cutting one or two non-revenue sports as it is by raising ticket prices. The reality is attendance of college football games was already down before Covid, even for powerhouse schools like the University of Georgia:
It is extremely unlikely that even the biggest football schools will be able to cover the cost of paying their players through increase ticket prices when they are already concerned about filling seats.
But your entire argument lacks the essential point that salaries will be market driven. That, already, most programs cannot pay for their athletes. That scholarships and world class facilities and coaching are more than sufficient compensation. Scholarships again being pennies on the dollar for the university. We're talking on the order of a dozen schools that are willing to pay and 100 players that will realistically get any type of meaningful compensation.
EDIT: to clarify, I personally think it's ridiculous that star college athletes don't get paid given how much time those athletes put in and how much money they bring in for schools, but I also think that at least at the schools with huge athletic programs it'll have some effect on other sports.
This relies on the assumption that sports are somehow separate from a school's educational mission and therefore must be funded by the profit from other sports. There are a maximum of only 2 or 3 dozen athletic departments that are self sufficient in the manner you suggest. The rest fund sports the same way they fund any other extracurricular activity.
I'm not sure we should require sports to fund themselves when we don't have that requirement on something like a drama or music departments. The understudy in a school play is probably no more likely to make a career out of acting than the backup QB is to make a career out of football, so why do we pretend one is a worthwhile academic pursuit and one isn't?
In theory, the major areas are self-funding because of the tuition costs.
Literally, no you can't major in football. From a practical standpoint many of the athletes who go to a school like Alabama to play football do end up majoring in it. Maybe their actual degree will say something sports specific like kinesiology or sports management, maybe their academic advisers will point them to general education classes specifically targeted for athletes and they will end up with a super generic business or communications degree, but either way football is the primary focus for many of them.
>From my experience, club sports and clubs such as the theater club are funded via student fees, whereas departmental projects such as drama and music are funded via tuition.
The point is who funds a play or a concert at universities? Do they all need to be financially self-sufficient or do we accept that these pursuits have value outside of the number of people who will pay to watch them?
>In theory, the major areas are self-funding because of the tuition costs.
This isn't true. The costs to teach different subjects varies wildly and departmental budgets are therefore not always inline with the number of students in each specific program. For example, tuition from an English department would likely go to help subsidize a more expensive Physics department.
There are already football adjacent majors already like sports administration and sports broadcasting.
By the same token, there's only a few dozen athletic programs with athletes who would probably be paid if not for NCAA rules banning pay.
Honestly the biggest stumbling block for me to be in support of paying college athletes are all these details on deciding who gets paid and how much since they don't all provide uniform value. There are situations in which one person might be worth millions and their teammate might be worth absolutely nothing. That is one of the reasons why I think allowing players to profit of their name, image and likeness (NIL) rights seems like the first step. That allows the free market to better assess their value and reward them for it. Roughly half the states have already passed, are currently debating, or have recently debated laws allowing college players to profit of their NIL rights.
Fair, but a few schools would be disproportionately affected by paid athletes. Ohio State and Alabama would probably pony up a lot, just as they spend tons on their athletic departments right now. Northwestern probably wouldn't, except maybe in rare cases.
> That is one of the reasons why I think allowing players to profit of their name, image and likeness (NIL) rights seems like the first step.
Agree this sounds like a good first step. It's utterly ridiculous that they can't.
> That allows the free market to better assess their value and reward them for it.
Why is this better than schools bidding on player contracts? Would you argue that when Patrick Mahomes got a $150 million contract, that wasn't the free market making an assessment of his value?
I think completely open bidding on players will cause more problems. Like I said, you can have teammates in which one is worth millions and the other is worth nothing. They would both be putting in the same amount of work and ostensibly be doing the same job, but one is just drastically better than the other. That might be worse for public perception than them all getting nothing.
I imagine any system of paying players would probably come with both a floor and ceiling for how much a school can compensate a player.
Also this isn't really the point of your comment, but like many athletes Mahomes has never and potentially will never sign a true free market contract with a team. He was drafted by the Chiefs so they had exclusive rights to negotiate with him. His huge extension was negotiated with the Chiefs during his initial contract which means he couldn't field offers from other teams. If he was a true free agent, he would have received even more money. He was willing to take a discount on that value for the added security of signing the contract now and guaranteeing some portion of that money. It is endorsements where someone like Mahomes can see his true free market rate because he can have the Nikes, Adidas, Gatorades, etc of the world competing against each other. Giving college players NIL rights gives them the opportunity to cash in on those free market endorsement deals.
Of course, it's also possible that colleges will find other ways to pay for the "lesser" sports, and there would be no cuts.
How much 'funding' does an amateur university sport need? I don't think my fencing club at university had any 'funding' we just met and fenced. Occasionally we borrowed a van to go to a competition. We had a coach we paid from a few pounds of membership fees we collected from ourselves.
- travel/hotel/per diems, sometimes long distance depending on league
- workout facilities (typically shared)
- practice facilities (might be shared)
- game facilities
- additional dining options to accommodate training
- scholarship money for tuition
- scholarship money for room and board
- video review areas and equipment (shared)
- video recording equipment and videographers
- announcers for events
- event management
- title ix compliance official
Note that at some universities (even some high schools), there are self-funding booster clubs that will pay for a lot of this stuff for some sports. That said, there is still some stuff that the university has to pay for directly.
As a simple example, Alabama football (big program that makes tons of money) also funds Alabama’s championship teams in golf, softball, and gymnastics (and many other sports that have not led to national championships).
(Source: I played on my college club kendo team. If anything the needs of fencing are less than those of kendo.)
The next logical question is probably “why aren’t all sports club sports?” The short answer is that varsity football and basketball are often direct or indirect money makers for the school that warrant funding for competitiveness, and title ix that says that there has to be access to sports at equal levels (typically this means a university needs a few women’s sports that have equivalent quality equipment, facilities, etc. as football and basketball).
1. If a certain sports outcome (e.g., beating a rival, league championship, etc.) will lead to an increase in alumni donations, then it might be considered prudent to invest some money into that program.
2. Title ix creates weird incentive structures for athletic programs, with a default assumption being that the university is guilty of discrimination if there isn’t a lot of equal treatment for all sports (both men and women). Note that this has helped funding for women’s sports a lot (the disparity was almost comical in the 80s and prior), but it has also led to the elimination of some fringe men’s varsity sports (some of which became clubs).
Please try to step back and understand why people take it seriously and truly care about sports. You don't seem to understand and don't seem to be actually trying to understand. It's exhausting trying to have conversations like the OP topic when people come in and degrade high level sports at its core.
If you want to compete at a high level in the US you often need to fulfill that long list of requirements a few posts above, unless it's a very niche sport.
You can also play pickup basketball down the street with nothing more than the court and a ball. There's nothing wrong with that, but don't expect that to convert to any kind of high level play.
Also, for nearly every sport except football and women's basketball, the real talent in the college age group isn't even playing college sports. Sports are meaningful with or without access to the latest most expensive amenities.
Most "rec sports" are self-funded university-affiliated student clubs. I was the treasurer of one such club for three years.
My school's cycling team ran about a $20k-$25k/year budget to cover race transportation, motels, entry fees, coaching and an annual 2-night training camp. That was for a full collegiate road season with an average of 6-8 riders and about 75% of a MTB season with 2-3 riders.
Funding came from sponsors (mostly selling space on the team jersey), selling jerseys and bibs to alumni and donations. Most of the sponsors were alums with local businesses, but we also had a couple bigger brands (energy bars and cycling clothing) who gave "in-kind" donations of steep discounts on merch (>50%).
Team members paid for their own equipment. We did discuss buying a couple team bikes to bring in people who could not afford them, but budget constraints and concerns about damage/jealousy/competitiveness nixed the idea.
I'd guess that you could run a competitive "varsity" cycling team, including everything I mentioned above plus mechanics and equipment but excluding scholarships, for around $40k-$50k/year (assuming mechanics are paid a day rate at races and piecewise for maintenance and the coaching staff is not full-time university employees).
First college enrollment is likely going to drop significantly starting around 2025 due to severely declining birthrates in the US that started during the 2007-2008 financial crisis. It is expected that 2025 will be the smallest graduating high school class in the US in the last 30-40 years. Every college and university is going to be fighting over a smaller pool of applicants. Fewer people are going to attend games and fewer people will be watching college sports on TV which means smaller TV contracts.
The percentage of men attending college has been declining, in 2017 57% of college students in the US were women:
And it looks like the declining rate of men in higher education is only speeding up:
College men and male alumni disproportionately support college athletics, they attend games and donate to the athletic department more than their female counterparts.
Fewer men on campus in the long term likely means less money for the athletic department as a whole:
Lastly, Title IX only requires that sports opportunities for both men and women be proportional to the percentage of men and women in the student body. With only 43% of college students nationwide being men now, and football being the juggernaut of college athletics that it is (with typically over 100 players on a college football team), there will be little room left for any other men's sports in college athletics, and no incentive for the athletic department to keep them around.
Over the next decades many men's sports will likely become nearly extinct at the D1 level: tennis, golf, rowing, wrestling, hockey, volleyball, swimming and diving, cross country, even track and field and baseball look to be in big trouble as athletic departments try to keep the revenue from college football flowing in while dealing with these challenging demographic factors.
NCAA covers a massive number of sports. The vast majority of those who go pro in any US sport, first go through an NCAA team.
Think about a scenario in the current world: You're a pretty good golf player in high school. You commit to Stanford for golf and a degree in some STEM field. The school already has a system in place to make sure both are possible. You give high level competitive college golf a shot and realize you can actually go pro. After college, you do. And even if it doesn't work out, you've got a degree from Stanford.
And then there's your world: You're a pretty good golf player in high school. You go to college instead of the separate LPGA feeder leagues because it's the safer bet and your school doesn't have a system in place to make sure you can compete in both. Why would they? You never get to experience and thrive in the high level competitions and end up not going pro.
So many professional sports would get maimed with your model. After a decade the US would heavily drop on the world stage when it comes to sports.
Baseball does an adequate job with its system of minor league teams. Pretty much every other country in the world manages to have professional sports leagues without having universities be their feeder teams.
Even in your scenario, there's nothing stopping the aspiring golfer from attending Stanford part-time while they try to make it in pro-golf. Or applying and deferring admission for a couple of years. Frankly, they'd do better academically if they didn't have golf distracting them.
the minor league system pays significantly less than poverty wages. incentivizing kids to go that route instead of getting an education is terrible.
which is why so many dont, and go to college on scholarships anyway, which leads us right back where we started.
the right analogy to make IMO is ice hockey, especially the canadian model. There, you have well funded and professional-like "minor leagues" (called juniors close to same thing). you can't get paid but in the tier 1 leagues you have very little if not zero personal living expenses, it's like being on a full-ride at a big college program with room and board included. In canada, it's seen as the route potential NHLers take instead of continuing with school. you're not allowed to be paid, but there's a rule in place that for every year you play in that league you're owed one full year of college paid for. If you age out of the league and dont make it as a pro, you at least get 2-4 years of free college to go get the rest of your life together as compensation.
The US Junior system has some of those attributes but is more geared towards getting kids into NCAA scholarships. The thing there though, IMO, is that the money involve in that sport is right about at that sweet spot where i'd argue a full ride to school like notre dame or penn state is about right for the level of compensation owed.
all opinions above are my own, in the context of a former D1 ice hockey athlete who thinks the football players should probably be paid.
Baseball's history of labor abuse ( read up on the history of free agency ) is why the Minors are a terrible mechanism.
in minor league baseball, who's indepent teams may be anywhere on the spectrum of losing or making money but who are also affiliated with parent organizations that make hundreds of millions, there is a plethora of literature lately that accuses them of paying significantly less than US minimum wage. In many cases it appears the players pay them for the right to play when it's all done.
in the college hockey example i referred to, the D1 teams/leagues usually have decent revenue from tickets and tv deals but it's not a ton and i'd take a shot in the dark that most programs are pretty much breaking even after scholarships, staff, and facilities are accounted for. In that environment, having an athlete get "paid" maybe a $40k/year total package in scholarship, room and board, playing equipment and facilities use, and cash per diems on road trips is both above minimum wage and probably no more than they could reasonably expect if the league was "pro" and had nothing to do with college.
Does Stanford allow part time undergraduates? A brief Googling suggests that generally they do not, unless there are special circumstances, but it wasn't clear what would count as special circumstances.
What about all the other sports? At the moment, we've figured out a way to elevate less lucrative sports like track & field or swimming into a potential profession without making young people take massive risks by skipping higher education.
I'm really struggling to come up with a reason this is the academy's problem to solve.
Most people who want to do away with college sports seem okay with killing their professional leagues. We shouldn't be okay with that.
Not at all. I just believe professional leagues will be fine with or without near-professional-quality college teams. There's far too much money in professional sports for them to die out just because universities don't field teams. I refer you to European soccer leagues for an alternative model.
Moreover de-facto professional athletes playing for a pittance and getting a poor education on top of that makes my blood boil. Pay them proper wages and don't screw up their education. College football and basketball teams also have a tendency to suck up resources and attention away from the actual purpose of a university - which is to perform research and educate people.
There's not "far too much money" in professional swimming or track & field. Killing the college sports, subsidized by the money maker sports, may very well kill the professional leagues for many sports.
D1 basketball athletes be able to be paid. Absolutely. That doesn't change my opinion that college sports benefit society and are often worth the extra cost.
Much of this relies on the inspiration people get from watching these sports, and exposure the sport gets from the professional leagues.
All of this in ingrained in American culture. Whether it's capitalism, or high level sports, or pick up ball. It's all the same ball game.
Calling out a single one of these is incredibly disingenuous. Would society worsen if we never had competitive rowing again? No. Would it worsen if we got rid of the 24 sports that the NCAA oversees? Absolutely.
Even if I agreed with these unexplained assertions, none of this justifies collegiate varsity sports in the face of all the obstacles it places on the primary objective of university education, or indeed, the oddity of placing SAT scores and minimum GPAs as a barrier to professional athleticism.
Your thesis seems to be professional sports are a priori important, and until we can replace varsity sports that feed professional leagues with a non-affiliated minor league, varsity must not be allowed to end. But there's really only one professional league I can think of that absolutely depends on the NCAA for athlete training, and we all seem to agree they can afford to solve this threat to their highly profitable existence; Congress has even granted them an antitrust exemption so it seems entirely fair society demands they develop a solution.
There's also the possibility of firms like IMG funding athletes' expenses and training, in return for a cut of future earnings.
This is incorrect.
"Unlike other national Olympic organizations, [Team USA] receives no government funds. It pays for its operations and helps fund athletes and the national governing bodies of its sports through the sale of media and sponsorship rights and some modest fund-raising." - NYT
If they followed Hockey’s example, where playing a year in the MJ gives you a year of tuition, it could work out great for young players.
Yes we do. It's called merit based scholarships.
Stanford on its own is one of the top golf programs in the country. Its practice facility is absurdly good (my team was able to use it once when we were out there. The reason we were in the bay area? Because we took our spring breaks to go play fancy courses with rich alumni to get them to donate to the athletic department, which is another part of money you don't see but athletics gets.) You need to be really, really good to play at Stanford.
Second, college golf is a case where, because of the niceties like practice facilities, tournaments, where you don't pay for any of that, it's a feeder to the main tour. In fact, PGA Tour University came out to help get guys who were good in college to the Tour quicker. The quality of guys in lower level tours is crazy, and this is a deserved bumper for the good guys. Guys play in college first because that's where you grow.
I'm very anti-NCAA. Each sport is different in terms of growing to the professional level though, and how engrained the NCAA is in most cases though makes it tough to have an overall solution.
It would make so much more sense for them to just hold off on school, go try to make it as a professional athlete, and then go back to school if it didn’t work.
No other country ties sports and athletics like the US does. Good soccer players in other countries sign contract at 10 years old, and play for the academy while getting paid.
I went to a large state school (SUNY Buffalo) where the administration wanted to go division 1 when I was there in the early 90s. Transitioning to division 1 came along with a large (to us) mandatory athletic fee. The student body voted against this multiple times, and then the administration simply stopped asking and went division 1 anyway (and imposed the fee).
Would life be significantly better without sports at UB, if students were given back a few hundred dollars? Would alumni donations go down without the occasional March Madness appearance? Or Bulls games?
When people make this argument, they make it seem like schools would all of a sudden be able to afford a massively better educational experience. That's just not the case.
In terms of the impact of the fee: When I went to school, the tuition was $675/semester, and the fee was over $100 (I don't recall if that was per semester or per year). So that was at least a 7% increase in cost. Its sad the tuition has gone up so much.
> Essentially, this is a classic violation of antitrust law. What the NCAA is arguing, however, is that it should be allowed an exemption to that law. The Court wasn’t willing to play ball on that one.
> Justice Gorsuch made short work of the argument that the NCAA is entitled to an exemption on the grounds that it is a “joint venture.” Reasoning that “student-athletes have nowhere else to sell their labor,” the justice wrote, “[e]ven if the NCAA is a joint venture, then, it is hardly of the sort that would warrant quick-look approval for all its myriad rules and restrictions.”
Note that this is a narrow ruling about the NCAA limiting educational compensation and what scholarships can encompass-- but some justices gave indications that they disagree with the NCAA compensation restrictions at large.
As someone who detests the Plantation League, this is long, long, long overdue.
> In my view, that argument is circular and unpersuasive. The NCAA couches its arguments for not paying student athletes in innocuous labels. But the labels cannot disguise the reality: The NCAA’s business model would be flatly il- legal in almost any other industry in America. All of the restaurants in a region cannot come together to cut cooks’ wages on the theory that “customers prefer” to eat food from low-paid cooks. Law firms cannot conspire to cabin lawyers’ salaries in the name of providing legal services out of a “love of the law.” Hospitals cannot agree to cap nurses’ income in order to create a “purer” form of helping the sick. News organizations cannot join forces to curtail pay to reporters to preserve a “tradition” of public-minded journalism. Movie studios cannot collude to slash benefits to camera crews to kindle a “spirit of amateurism” in Hollywood.
Price-fixing labor is price-fixing labor. And price-fixing labor is ordinarily a textbook antitrust problem because it extinguishes the free market in which individuals can oth- erwise obtain fair compensation for their work.
You then have the value of the different degrees to the market (which is separate from the cost) so it is very possible that certain student athletes are obtaining a degree worth hundreds of thousands of future dollars in the market versus some who get 4 years of room and board to play sports, make the university money, and then maybe they do not even end up with a degree by the time their eligibility expires (see data on student athlete graduation rates).
The problem with the analogy is that restaurants aren't primarily functioning as educational institutions with a restaurant business on the side. Hospital nurses aren't providing nursing care as a side activity. Camera crews are not secondary to the mission of a movie studio. With universities, the sports teams are at least ostensibly in theory, student extracurricular activities secondary to the primary mission of the university.
Let's say a university had a student dining center, and agreed to let people work in the center in exchange for free tuition. Would that be a violation of antitrust? I think not.
I admit universities are currently full of practices where nonprofit endeavors are hijacked for for-profit engorgement in a tail-wagging-the-dog sort of phenomenon. Sports are another example of many. But I don't think antitrust is really the appropriate concept to introduce -- or if it is, it has far greater implications than people realize.
What's maybe slipping under the radar is that by this argument, any nonprofit organization that tries to establish rules pertaining to scope of professional activities is operating as an inappropriate monopoly. Where does the argument end? Isn't the American Medical Association an illegal monopoly under this argument, as it conspires to control how people practice professionally? I doubt the Supreme Court would follow its reasoning to its logical conclusion, which raises the question about what's different with college sports. Why single it out?
I like to do these every once in a while because there is so much incorrect information and bad assumptions about high level college athletes that I feel the need to combat this when the opportunity presents itself. I haven't read the posted SC opinion yet because I'm at work and currently eating a burrito. Don't be afraid to ask probing questions, the worst that will happen is I will choose not to answer.
This is how baseball works, and all the baseball players I met actively wanted to be in college. Some of them even turned down $100k-$500k draft signing bonuses to play college ball.
Honestly the focus (or lack thereof) on education starts at home.
source: also played college sports.
my experience was waking up before the crack of dawn to pre-train, going to school in the morning, and then spending the rest of any free time I had after training (be it weights, cardio, practice etc). and then you watch film. all for the love (scholarships were nice) - so anyone that suggests there is more time to spend on athletics at these levels, and that paying athletes will somehow encourage them to do so vs academia, deserves a flan in the face.
Should anyone actually care that West Nowhere State can't afford to compete against Alabama in football or KSU in basketball, since they never could have in the first place?
How much under the table money will these just be getting above board/visible to laymen (and isn't this a good thing when it comes to large state schools being accountable to taxpayers?)
The problem right now with college athletics (at least football and basketball) is that the schools found a cash cow and the pro leagues found a free farm league that produces top talent. Its a symbiotic relationship and neither one wants to rock the boat. There's a reason the NFL players have their own union after all.
Regarding your second question, West Nowhere State is an ant in an elephants world. There are plenty of D3 programs (that give no aid or preferred admission) that have football programs that lose hundreds of thousands of dollars per year. They'll keep doing it even if Alabama is able to pay their players above the table.
As far as under the table money, I'm not sure. I never saw nor heard about those things, and with the way athletes like to boast it would surprise me if they were all able to keep their mouths shut. I think its less money going to less athletes than people would like to think.
And the under the table money is real, but less secret bags of cash left in their dorm and more "the AD bought a new car but realized he doesn't like the interior, do you want it?" IDK where you went to college, but several high profile programs lost championships and got sanctions for creative ways they "recruited" players. The ruling opens up more levers for schools to use to funnel goods and services towards players, even if they can't give them actually currency.
For some reason, the schools don't complain about how much money they are paying the coaches. They don't complain about how much money they are spending on facilities. They don't complain about how much money they spend on marketing. But for some reason, when the public starts talking about paying players, they start complaining and making excuses. If you want them to play for the love of the game, then get rid of scholarships. If you want them to be professionals, then pay them.
And yes, that will create inequity among players. That's fine. I wasn't worth the same to my team as our star quarterback (who now is a backup in the NFL). Its the way the world works, especially the world of sports.
Although there were special athletic academic tutors, there weren't any available that could tutor for engineering subjects so I doubt any athletes were getting assignments done for them. Regular tutors wouldn't have played along with that game. Also, the professors (at least most of mine) were pretty skeptical of athletics, so I was on a short leash for what I could get away with (missing classes, moving exam dates, asking for extra time on projects, etc). If they sniffed that I was cheating, they would have brought the hammer down without thinking twice. That's just my experience at my school though.
Does this mean players can just do the straightforward thing and negotiate lucrative contracts with schools and we can forego all the backdoor, indirect compensation and self-inflicted corruption that goes on now? If so then these institutions can just be what they are in a straightforward way; football teams that also happen to fund a legacy educational branch.
There were very strong hints that the NCAA needs to change its rules around compensation completely, so it seems likely that they eventually will be able to do that. But it isn't the case now.
> The NCAA does not contest that its re-straints affect interstate trade and commerce and are thus subject to the Sherman Act.
> With this much agreed it is unclear exactly what the NCAA seeks. To the extent it means to propose a sort of judicially ordained immunity from the terms of the Sherman Act for its restraints of trade—that we should overlook its restrictions because they happen to fall at the intersection of higher education, sports, and money—we cannot agree.