UC Berkeley Budget Crisis

October 24, 2011

Intercollegiate Athletics

Filed under: — admin @ 12:52 am

  • Auxiliary Enterprises “are those non-instructional services provided to individuals, primarily students, in return for specific user charges. These services include student housing, intercollegiate athletics, food services, and parking. Auxiliary Enterprises are self-supporting and are not subsidized by the state”, Governor’s Budget 2009-10.
  • The Intercollegiate Athletics Resolution was discussed and put to a vote at the Fall 2009 Berkeley Academic Senate Meeting on November 5, 2009. The faculty voted in favor of the Resolution with no modifications.
  • The IA Resolution website provides updates on the Resolution and progress towards IA financial self-sufficiency. It also provides links to relevant IA budgets and contracts.

Intercollegiate athletics (IA) is supposed to be a self-supporting auxiliary program, yet it has enjoyed substantial subsidies from central campus funds and student registration fees. Plus it has also accumulated a huge debt, with no realistic plan to pay it off. Many of us support intercollegiate athletics in that it provides entertainment for the campus community and provides fund raising opportunities. But there are faculty who object to the special admissions policies and preferential treatment it gives to IA student athletes in classes and other campus services. This blog is not intended to address the pros and cons of IA, in general, rather it addresses the budgetary implications given the current budget crisis.

There is a myth that Intercollegiate Athletics is a revenue generator for campuses. Although this might be the case on some campuses, in depth analyses indicate otherwise for most campuses (see reference list below).  The question is: what is the impact on the University of California Berkeley campus? Is it a revenue generator for our campus? Or is it a cost center?

The tables below shows that IA has cost the campus money (in millions of dollars) every single year of operation since 2004 when the Chancellor opened the books up to the Academic Senate.  The accumulated loss (revenue minus costs, not including campus subsidies) since the 1991 Semlser Report was estimated to be approximately $128.3 million at the end of the 2005-06 academic year (estimated by Cal Moore, then Chair of CAPRA- Committee on Academic Planning and Resources Allocation). Most of the data come from the NCAA financial statements provided by Laura Hazlett, the chief financial officer for athletics.

In addition to using part of the student registration fees (about $2 million every year as listed below), the Chancellor has subsidized IA ($3-8 million per year) so that the annual debt is lower (see second table below).

The annual Cost to Campus (shown in bold, the bottom line in the second table) is the annual deficit plus these annual subsidies. This Cost to Campus was lowest in 2007-08 at “only” $7.4 million, but picked up again last year and is reported to be $13.5 million in 2008-09 and projected to be $13.7 million in 2009-10 (as reported by Calvin Moore in his April 27, 2010 presentation on the interim report of the Task Force on Intercollegiate Athletics).

Note that these numbers are over and above the capital costs of the Stadium retrofit and the new Student Athlete High Performance Center (SAHPC) estimated at $136M, a facility with access that will be restricted to only 450 student-athletes, less than 1% of the students, staff and faculty on campus (download Regents agenda to see the exact text p. 3 and p. 9). The Regents approved financing of the seismic retrofit of the Memorial Stadium for $321 million to be financed externally out of Athletics program gross revenues (download Regents agenda to see the exact text p. 3-4). Where are these excess revenues that could be used to pay off capital debt? They can’t even pay off the annual operating expenses. Furthermore, the authorization said that only the interest on the debt need be paid before or during construction.  There are further costs that are not accounted for here that are paid for directly out of student registration fees, such as compensation and expenses for the Faculty Athletic Representative (FAR) and half the cost of the Athletic Student Center.

Revenue and Expenses (Millions of $’s)


NCAA Report

Year 2003-04 2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12 2012-13
Generated Revenue (Excluding Campus Subsidies) 34.155 40.101 42.836 51.666 56.875 51.4 59.073 57.247 54.737 58.665 66.710
Expenditures 45.167 53.174 53.723 61.452 64.275 64.9 72.739 69.346 65.062 68.046 75.507
Profit/Loss (Total Generated Revenue minus Expenditures) -11.012 -13.073 -10.887 -9.786 -7.400 -13.5 -13.667 -12.099 -10.325 -9.382 -8.797

Annual Cost to Campus (Millions of $’s)

Year 2003-04 2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12 2012-13
Chancellor’s Subsidy 3.431 3.274 3.640 7.716 5.210 5.0 8.893 9.953 8.248 7.072 7.570
Student Reg Fees 2.013 1.911 1.968 2.070 2.241 2.7 3.184 2.146 2.258 2.447
Annual Deficit

5.568 7.888 5.279 0.000 -0.051 5.8 1.589 0 -0.181 -0.137 1.227
Annual Cost to Campus 11.012 13.073 10.887 9.786 7.400 13.5 13.667 12.099 10.325 9.382 8.797

Cumulative Cost to Campus (Millions of $’s)


NCAA Report

Year 2003-04 2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12 2012-13
Cumulative Cost to Campus since 2003 11.012

24.085 34.972 44.758 52.158 65.658 65.824 77.923 87.691 96.516 104.756
Cumulative Cost to Campus since 1991 Smelser report 128.3 138.086 145.486 158.986 159.152 171.251 181.019 189.844 198.084

This last line is important from the long term perspective. Cal Moore, while Chair of CAPRA calculated the shortfall from Intercollegiate Athletics at the end of the 2005/06 academic year to be $120.3 million. These numbers were distributed to the University Athletics Board and we received no challenge to their accuracy. (Note: this original estimate did not include student registration fees for the previous 4 years as this number was not available at the time of calculation. We now estimate this to be $2M per year for four years and have increased this debt estimate to be $128.3 million, as reflected in the bottom line of the third chart above.)  This represents the amount of money that would have been available to the rest of the campus if not used to subsidize IA operations or its debt. Some of the details for the basis of this shortfall are provided below:

  1. Total subsidies beginning in 95-96 and extending through the end of 2005/06. $44.6M (per sheets passed out to UAB).
  2. Total deficits beginning in 1991 through the end of 2005/06. $50.5M. $17.4 M of this was forgiven in 1999 and $33.1 has accumulated since then and probably has no chance of ever being repaid so it is a sunk cost (per sheets passed out to UAB).
  3. Starting in 2003-04, the campus has forgiven the yearly STIP interest on the current accumulated. Estimated cost to the campus through the end of 2005/06. -$2.3M
  4. Prior to 04-05 the utility bill for the Haas Pavilion (basketball) was paid fully by the campus. Now it is split – in 04-05 it was split $644K athletics , $170 K campus ( this recognizes the point that other campus units use Haas). If the utilities has been split this way in 2003-04, athletics would have paid 500K (according to Ken Hirano). A straight line backwards projection, assuming an athletics portion of utilities in 1992 to be 300K, then 400K, the average, times 13 years since 1991-1992 yields a campus subsidy of $5.2M for the athletics share of Haas Pavilion utilities through 03-04.
  5. The campus has forgiven $18.3M in capital debt– almost all of it for the Haas Pavilion. This does not include the capital loan of $2.7M even though that one may also be dubious as to repayment.
  6. Addition of student registration fees at estimate of $7.4M (approximately $2M per year) for the four years 1991-92 through 1994-95.

The total of $128.3 million (44.6 +50.5 +2.3 +5.2 +18.3 +$7.4M) represents the subsidies and debt since the 1991 Smelser report through the current year 05-06. And it is getting worse at an average rate of $10 M per year and is estimated to be over $14M in 2008-09 based on preliminary estimates.

Key Oversight Organizations

References and News Articles

Selected Quotes and Reports

Reports from studies debunking the myth that intercollegiate athletics increases donations to academic programs.

  • “Repeated studies indicate that most contributions to colleges and universities come from those to whom athletic records have little import. Big athleticboosters, conversely, are far less likely to support other aspects of the universities’ life and mission”A Call to Action — Reconnecting College Sports and Higher Education, Knight Foundation.
  • We conclude that the hypothesis that increased operating expenditures on sports affect other measurable indicators, including alumni giving, is not proven.” – - Robert E. Litan, Jonathan M. Orszag, and Peter, R. Orszag, report commissioned by the NCAA itself (who would be biased towards Intercollegiate Athletics).
  • “Increased spending on football and men’s basketball produce neither an increase nor a decrease in net operating revenue, on average, over the eight-year study time span. . . There is little, if any, correlation between increased spending and increases or decreases in the measurable academic quality of students or alumni giving.” Eight-year study of sports spending takes myths to task, NCAA News Archive, 2003.
  • “Two of the most powerful myths that circulate around college sports (are) that former athletes are disproportionately generous in donating to their alma mater, and that winning sports programs encourage alumni/ae in general to give more money. ” “The data flatly contradict one of the strongest myths about college athletics, that winning teams, and especially winning football teams, have a large, positive impact on giving rates.” – - James L. Shulman and William G. Bowen, The Game of Life: College Sports and Educational Values, Princeton University Press, 2001.
  • Some claim that big-time sports can increase donations to academic programs.  But several studies have concluded that athletics has essentially no effect on contributions to the school outside the athletics programs.” - – Roger C. Nolls, “The Business of College Sports and High Cost of Winning” in The Business of Sports by Scott R. Rosner and Kenneth L. Shropshire.
  • “Apart from two very limited and statistically sloppy studies, all the published literature suggests that there is no reliably positive impact of athletic success on giving to the general endowment of a university.  This literature consists of at least twelve separate studies.  In some cases, a significantly negative effect is found.” – - Andrew Zimbalist, Unpaid professionals: Commercialism and conflict in big-time college sports, p. 168.
  • “Sports fund-raising success has come at a cost: While donations to the country’s 119 largest athletics departments have risen significantly in recent years, overall giving to those colleges has stayed relatively flat.” Brad Wolverton, “Sharp Growth in Athletics Fund Raising Leads to Decline in Academic Donations on Some Campuses”, Chronicle of Higher Education, 25 Sept 2007.
  • “The problem here is that there is ample evidence that contributions to athletics often substitute for contributions to the school’s academic programs. That is, the net contribution to the university is smaller than the gross contribution to the athletics department.” — Andrew Zimbalist, “College athletic budgets are bulging but their profits are slim to none”, Sports Business Journal, 18 Jun 2007.
  • “Evidence indicated a winning athletics program may have significantly impacted alumni giving behavior, and that increased giving to athletics by both alumni and non-alumni was linked to a decline in academic fundraising at the same institution”, Jeffrey L. Stinson and Dennis R. Howard, “Scoreboards vs. Mortarboards: Major Donor Behavior and Intercollegiate Athletics”, Sport Marketing Quarterly, 2004,13, pp. 129-140.
  • “Athletic success appears to have little or no influence on academic giving.” “Giving to academic programs appears to be independent of athletic influence.” “The percentage of total gift allocated to academic programs is falling, whereas the associated percentage of total gift allocated to athletic programs is increasing.” – - Jeffrey L. Stinson and Dennis R. Howard, “Athletic Success and Private Giving to Athletic and Academic Programs at NCAA Institutions”, Journal of Sport Management, 2007, 21, pp. 237-266.
  • “General giving rates are unaffected by won-lost records at the high-profile Division IA schools”. – - Turner, Sarah E. ; Meserve, Lauren A. ; Bowen, William G. , “Winning and giving: football results and alumni giving at selective private colleges and Universities”,  Social Science Quarterly, Volume 82, Number 4, December 2001, pp. 813-826.
  • “Recent econometric research fails to find any correlation of consequence between winning and giving.” - – William G. Bowen, Sarah A. Levin, and James Lawrence Schulman, Reclaiming the Game:  College Sports, 2003
  • Since the self-supporting approach to football does not hold water boosters of college football needed to find alternative financial support. This alternative argues that big time sports attract alumni donations to the university. The idea is that football teams attract attention and that attention leads to contributions. This notion was rejected after extensive empirical work as well as much anecdotal evidence failed to turn up the desired connection.” “It is clear that college football programs do not in general enhance endowments for a university. Other research clearly indicates that very few football programs succeed in covering current expenditures. Thus most football programs, even good ones in Division IA are a net financial liability to the institution.” “These results follow on the heals of a large body of earlier work suggesting that football does not have a positive impact on university finances. At best football is neutral on endowment and endowment per student. A negative effect is far more likely based on these results.” — Jonathan Willner, Big Time Endowments, Southwestern Economic Proceedings, pp. 33-46.
  • “Well respected scholars who have intensively studied intercollegiate athletics and its relationship with higher education have examined this body of work in total and concluded that there is little if any empirical support for the notion that athletic success translates into increased levels of alumni support to institutions of higher learning.” — Ellen J. Staurowsky, The Relationship Between Athletics and Higher Education Fund Raising: The Myths Far Outweigh the Facts, A Report Prepared for the United States Department of Education Commission on Opportunities in Athletics.
  • “Contrary to one of the most tenacious myths in American society, the vast majority of colleges and universities do not make money in big-time intercollegiate athletics.” . . . “(Athletic departments) actively undermine efforts to raise money from alumni for educational programs” (p. 259), Murray Sperber, Beer and Circus  How Big-time College Sports is Crippling Undergraduate Education.
  • “The lack of any relationship between success in intercollegiate athletics and increased alumni giving probably matters less than the fact that so many people believe that such a relationship exists.”Sigelman, L. and Carter, R. Win one for the giver? Alumni giving and big-time college sports. Social Science Quarterly, 60 (2), September 1979,  284-293.
  • “The empirical literature provides not a shred of evidence to suggest that an across-the-board cutback in spending on athletics would reduce either donations by alumni or applications by prospective students.” by Robert H. Frank in “Challenging the Myth:  A Review of the Links Among College Athletic Success, Student Quality, and Donations”, Review prepared for the Knight Commission, May, 2004.
  • Unsportsmanlike Conduct: Exploiting College Athletes by Walter Byers with Charles Hammer, University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor, 1995. Walter Byers served as NCAA executive director from 1951 to 1987.

Here are some selected quotes from from university presidents  debunking the myth that intercollegiate athletics increases donations to academic programs:

  • “Repeat after me:  there is no empirical evidence demonstrating a correlation between athletic department achievement and [alumni] fund raising success.  A number of researchers have explored this putative relationship, and they all have concluded that it does not exist.  The myth persist, however, aided anecdotal evidence …” Vice President of the University of Notre Dame Richard W. Conklin, quoted in Beer and Circus:  How Big-time College Sports is Crippling Undergraduate Education by Murray Sperber.
  • “More than a few college presidents seem to think that a successful athletic program will at least inspire the alumni to give more money to their alma matter.  Yet even this hope appears to be groundless. . .” “There is no reliable evidence that successful athletic teams raise … alumni giving to any appreciable extent”. – - Former President of Harvard Derek Bok, Universities in the Marketplace: The Commercialization of Higher Education.
  • The myth of institutional dependency on athletic revenues — therefore on athletic victories — needs to be aggressively refuted” – - Former President of Michigan State University, John D. Biaggio.
  • “Many of the university’s most generous donors care little about its athletic success and are sometimes alienated by the attention given to winning athletics programs.” – - Former President of University of Michigan James J. Duderstadt, Intercollegiate Athletics and the American University.
  • “Sacred cows such as intercollegiate athletics continue to graze on the core academic programs of the institution.” – - Former President of University of Michigan James J. Duderstadt, The Future of the Public University in America.


  1. [...] and start paying of the large accumulative debt. It is now five years into this plan, and the spreadsheet does show some progress in 2007-08 (a shortfall of $7.4M compared to $13M in 2004-05 and $11M in [...]

    Pingback by Recommendations for Intercollegiate Athletics « Budget Crisis — July 12, 2009 @ 4:35 pm

  2. Did you notice that the budget shortfall was the least in 2007-2008, when Cal Football sold a ton of tickets. Is this a coincidence??

    Comment by Dr. Corey Anderson — July 29, 2009 @ 11:33 am

  3. Yes, I do believe Sandy Barbour and her did a good job of increasing revenues, many of them associated with football. I would expect that winning at football will increase football revenues, but there is no evidence that it increases academic giving. The point is that this should not have required subsidies from academic funds as well.

    Comment by Editor — August 3, 2009 @ 1:21 pm

  4. California budget cuts, furloughs will impact college sports, USA Today, July 27, 2009. Excerpt:
    “Schools in the University of California and the Cal State systems are starting to formulate plans on how to deal with the furloughs, which could lead to forced in-season days off for some coaches, and athletic departments are trying to balance the coaches’ furloughs with game and practice schedules and the needs of athletes.”

    Comment by USA Today — August 23, 2009 @ 12:03 pm

  5. Example of targeted cuts to athletics and the imperative to actually raise money.
    Colleges look to create revenue as slashed budgets don’t cut it., The Orlando Sentinel, August 12, 2009.

    Comment by Editor — August 23, 2009 @ 1:10 pm

  6. A report on athletics from the CS system.

    Coaching staff in no mood for mandated furlough days
    , Union-Tribune, August 14, 2009.

    Comment by Editor — August 23, 2009 @ 1:01 pm

  7. A story on the problems IA has for University of New Orleans.
    A Storm-Tossed Athletics Program Must Find Its Own Footing. Chronicle of Higher Education, August 10, 2009.

    Comment by Editor — August 23, 2009 @ 7:06 pm

  8. Cuts at Harvard,
    Harvard Reduces Sports Travel as Ivys Cut Athletics to ‘Core’
    , Bloomberg, August 5, 2009.

    Comment by Editor — August 23, 2009 @ 7:11 pm

  9. Cuts at MIT, which is a Division 3 school.
    MIT forced to cut 8 varsity sports – Budget and economy are cited as reasons
    , boston.com, August 24, 2009.

    Comment by Editor — August 23, 2009 @ 7:14 pm

  10. University of Washington To Discontinue Swimming Programs: UW athletics to honor scholarships agreements, provide transfer release to affected student-athletes., May 1, 2009.

    Comment by Editor — August 23, 2009 @ 7:16 pm

  11. UC Irvine eliminates sports
    , July 30, 2009. Excerpt: “UC Irvine has cut its men’s and women’s swimming and diving, men’s and women’s rowing, and sailing programs as a result of the economic downturn and the state budget crunch in California. With additional reductions in operating expenses, the total budget impact is expected to be up to $1 million.”

    Comment by Editor — August 23, 2009 @ 7:18 pm

  12. Another concern about Intercollegiate Athletics and our Admissions process is that we admit students for IA for exceptional accomplishments, including football. But are we effectivly using our comprehensive review in this process, looking at all aspects of the candidate’s record. Here is one article about a former member of our football team:

    Former Cal football player sentenced for sexual assault
    , San Francisco Chronicle, July 14, 2009.

    Then there was the armed robbery last year: Cal football player, friend charged in robbery, San Francisco Chronicle, October 22, 2008.

    Comment by Editor — September 2, 2009 @ 9:23 am

  13. Cal State football programs try to make do with less, LA Times, September 4, 2009.
    An interesting perspective, it is hard for the budget-crunched Cal State system to compete against UCLA, who spends millions more to subsidize football than CSU’s can afford. “San Jose State and San Diego State, facing USC and UCLA this weekend, play at a financial disadvantage that requires sacrifice and creativity.”

    Comment by Editor — September 6, 2009 @ 11:19 am

  14. Opinion to the Arizona Daily Star, September 13, 2009.
    Regents study intercollegiate athletics. Excerpt:
    “The Arizona budget situation and our supportive Gov. Jan Brewer have challenged the Arizona Board of Regents to undertake reform of our university system. Athletics is a well-established part of the university experience and, in turn, requires ongoing and timely review.
    The accomplishments of our universities’ student-athletes have been extraordinary and are worthy of our praise. The championships earned by our teams are commendable.
    But there are public concerns that, for all the acclaim intercollegiate athletics brings to our state and its universities, maintaining big-time athletic programs somehow detracts from the overall goal of providing higher education to the citizens of Arizona.
    Critics often point to massive department budgets, escalating coaches’ salaries (the hiring of University of Arizona basketball coach Sean Miller has been the subject of great debate) and subpar academic performance of student-athletes as indications of a system in need of reform.
    In fact, the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics, an independent group formed to study the governance of college athletics and its fidelity to the mission of postsecondary education, has made ongoing calls for increased fiscal restraint and commitment to academics since its initial report was issued in 1991. “

    Comment by Editor — September 14, 2009 @ 6:54 pm

  15. Approved by the Regents Committee on Grounds and Buildings (September 17, 2009). What is the debt liability?


    The Committee recommends that:

    A. The 2009-10 Budget for Capital Improvements and the Capital Improvement
    Program be amended as follows:

    From: Berkeley: California Memorial Stadium (CMS) Seismic Corrections and West Program Improvements – preliminary plans $18,300,000 to be funded entirely from interim financing.

    To: Berkeley: California Memorial Stadium (CMS) Seismic Corrections and West Program Improvements – preliminary plans, working drawings and construction – $321,000,000 to be funded entirely from external financing.

    Rewording (old wording in parentheses):

    B. The President be authorized to obtain (interim financing) external financing not to exceed ($18,300,000) $321,000,000 to finance the California Memorial Stadium (CMS) Seismic Corrections and West Program Improvements project. The President requires that:

    (1) Interest only, based on the amount drawn, shall be paid on the outstanding balance during the construction period.

    (2) Repayment of any debt shall be from the Berkeley campus (football) Athletics program gross revenues and, as long as the debt is outstanding, the Berkeley campus (football) Athletics program gross revenues shall be
    maintained in amounts sufficient to pay the debt service and to meet the related requirements of the authorized financing.

    (3) Among all the uses of the Berkeley campus football Athletics program gross revenues, debt service will be the priority.

    (4) The general credit of the Regents shall not be pledged.

    C. The Officers of the Regents be authorized to execute all documents necessary in
    connection with the above.

    Comment by Editor — October 11, 2009 @ 12:36 pm

  16. Athletic spending belies California’s budget crisis, USA Today, October 14, 2009.
    “Some faculty members have hit on the issue of athletics spending, a few expressing themselves in an online forum about the budget crisis and staff furloughs, tuition increases, enrollment reductions and other cost-saving measures. Anthropology professor Laura Nader complained in a letter this summer to UC system President Mark Yudof: “No word of cuts? A new sports center, fixing the stadium? If it is true that this is what most alums want then faculty have done a poor job in educating.”

    Comment by Editor — October 15, 2009 @ 9:22 am

  17. An old article, but one that shows how low the graduation rates for men’s basketball at Cal were in 2002.

    “Graduation rates found lower for Cal men’s basketball team”, High Beam Research, July, September 2002.

    Is this article accurate when it says that only 15% of our basketball players graduate?

    “Fifteen percent of male basketball players graduated within six years from UC Berkeley, compared to 80 percent of male students university- wide, according to the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s study.Thirty-six percent of Division I men’s basketball players graduated within six years, the study also found.”

    The Daily Cal in 2000
    “Hoops Rule Get NCAA Facelift”
    said the graduation rate was 25%:

    “Graduation rates legislation could have a major impact at Cal. The school’s four-year average for men’s basketball graduation rates stands at 25 percent, well below the national average (43 percent) and the 50-percent threshold necessary to keep the full 13-scholarship allotment.”

    Comment by Editor — October 20, 2009 @ 4:15 pm

  18. News Analysis: Watchdog of College Sports Confronts Unfinished Work, The Chronicle of Higher Education, October 21, 2009. Excerpts:
    “The Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, is widely credited with providing a blueprint for cleaning up many of the problems in college sports over the past two decades. . . “Intercollegiate athletics is still in trouble, but … the trouble now is essentially financial,” says Peter W. Likins, a former president of the University of Arizona and a onetime commission member. The Knight Commission still has a job to do, he says, but “there are very serious challenges in doing it, because what has to happen now cannot be accomplished by NCAA rules.”

    Much of the commission’s effectiveness has come from its willingness to work closely with the NCAA to make policy changes. But today’s financial matters, unlike previous challenges, fall beyond the scope of the NCAA and are often difficult to track.

    Athletics departments’ budgets (and deficits) have swelled, while coaches’ salaries have soared. And a building spree has left many departments, though handsomely outfitted, straining to shoulder the debt. The NCAA cannot regulate coaches’ salaries. And though it has been trying to find out for years, the association still does not know how much athletics debt universities are bearing.”

    Comment by Editor — October 24, 2009 @ 11:27 am

  19. University presidents sound alarm at expenses, Washington Post, October 27, 2009.

    “An overwhelming majority of the nearly 100 university presidents at major football universities surveyed by the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics called rising coaching salaries the biggest threat to college programs, but said their ability to rein in costs had been diminished by increasingly lucrative outside sources of revenue. . . “We’ve reached an indefensible, unsustainable situation,” said William E. “Brit” Kirwan, a commission co-chairman and chancellor of the University System of Maryland. “We’ve got 75 percent of the presidents saying we cannot continue on this path.”

    Comment by Washington Post — October 27, 2009 @ 8:18 am

  20. Daily Californian, October 28, 2009. Excerpt:

    “A recent revelation of campus loans to the UC Berkeley Department of Intercollegiate Athletics-to the tune of millions of dollars a year-has some faculty outraged, citing furloughs, pay cuts and higher tuition costs as reason enough to eliminate campus funding for athletics altogether.”

    Comment by Editor — October 28, 2009 @ 9:35 am

  21. How the 60s Changed Big-Time College Football, Op Ed by Michael Oriard, Chronicle of Higher Education, October 25, 2009. Excerpt:

    “There is broad agreement about the problems in big-time football today, but not about possible solutions. Instead of offering yet one more set of proposals to be ignored, I suggest that we refocus the conversation. From any reasonably objective perspective, university sponsorship of a commercial entertainment that pays coaches millions and performers the cost of an education that they are prevented from receiving seems obviously crazy. Yet football survives in our temples of higher learning, overseen by college presidents who are some of the smartest people in the country. The reason is equally obvious: because the sport historically has served vital functions in American higher education, and it is not at all obvious that it no longer does so. That’s the crux of the issue. It is not possible to think in any meaningful way about reforming college football without thinking also about the nature and needs of the institutions whose football might need reforming.”

    Comment by Editor — October 28, 2009 @ 9:29 am

  22. Campus Loans to Athletic Department Criticized, Daily Californian, October 29, 2009. Excerpt: “A recent revelation of campus loans to the UC Berkeley Department of Intercollegiate Athletics-to the tune of millions of dollars a year-has some faculty outraged, citing furloughs, pay cuts and higher tuition costs as reason enough to eliminate campus funding for athletics altogether.”

    Comment by Editor — October 29, 2009 @ 9:58 am

  23. Some profs want Cal to stop subsidizing sports, San Francisco Chronicle, October 27, 2009. Excerpt:
    “When UC Berkeley lends its Department of Intercollegiate Athletics millions of dollars to pay its bills each year – and even forgives that debt at times – it’s helping a top-tier college sports program beloved by thousands of fans.

    But a growing number of Cal academics are disturbed by the practice, arguing that the prestigious research university should not subsidize elite athletes at a time of soaring college costs, faculty furloughs and reduced course offerings.

    The faculty, which will debate the issue at next month’s Faculty Senate meeting, is not alone. Now the independent Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics – formed 20 years ago by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to raise academic standards in college sports – is turning its attention to an out-of-control “arms race” among college football programs competing to pay increasingly high coaches’ salaries and other associated costs.”

    Comment by Editor — October 29, 2009 @ 10:50 am

  24. Scale back athletics at UC Berkeley, San Francisco Chronicle, Brian Barsky letter to the editor, October 29, 2009.

    ” Responding to criticism about the earnings level of University of California administrators, a letter to the editor from the UC Office of the President (“Finding facts on pay of UC administrators,” Oct. 7) unabashedly mounted the defense that the Cal football coach’s multi-million-dollar annual compensation is more than four times as much as the highest paid administrator at UC. Was that supposed to be reassuring?

    Indeed, the coach is the highest paid employee of the State of California. The letter cleverly focused on the source of funds for the coach in an attempt to take our eye off the ball. But all the revenues and donations to Cal intercollegiate athletics fall short by millions of dollars annually to cover excessive expenditures of this program, which is propped up from the campus’ coffers with funds that could instead keep the library open on Saturdays, for example.

    It is a myth that intercollegiate athletics earns money for the university; even the NCAA reports that increased spending on athletics does not increase alumni donations to the university, prompting its president to advise college presidents to reconsider their institutional spending on sports.

    The UC Berkeley administrators should cease pouring money into intercollegiate athletics, which is overdue to put its house in order and scale back its operation.”

    Comment by Brian Barsky — October 29, 2009 @ 10:55 am

  25. Lois Kazakoff: UC priorities: Are athletics overshadowing academics at UC Berkeley?, San Francisco Chronicle, October 28, 2009.

    “A group of UC profs think so, and are convinced that subsidizing any portion of the intercollegiate athletic program at the public university is misguided. As UC computer science Professor Brian Barsky points out, “It is a myth that athletics bring big bucks to the university at large. Even the NCAA reported that there is no reason to believe that increased spending on athletics increases alumni donations.”

    The question is not: Does college need intercollegiate athletics? It does. Competition is healthy. Sports contribute to our well-being and sense of community. But at some point, sports entertainment becomes the goal rather than nurturing player-scholars. So the question is: Should intercollegiate sports programs’ costs be escalating so rapidly — some describe the rise as an “arms race” — and the university picking up the difference between expenses and revenues?

    With shrinking state revenues forcing the university to raise fees and cut classes and salaries, this debate was inevitable. Barsky says it is all a matter of priorities. His priorities are clear: Academics first.

    For me, it’s like this: sports entertainment has to pay its own way.”

    Comment by Editor — October 29, 2009 @ 11:03 am

  26. UT Austin’s Intercollegiate Athletics program is self-supporting and generates enough revenue to give back to the campus, generating $20M annually.

    Athletics revenue benefits University, The Daily Texan, October 29, 2009.

    Excerpt: “According to a 2006 study by the NCAA, UT’s athletic department is one of only 19 Division I football schools — out of a total 120 — to boost a net profit without University subsidies. . . Both men said the relationship between the University and the athletic department positively contributes to UT’s fiscal success. A study released by the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics earlier this week found that the majority of surveyed university presidents felt powerless and undermined by their head athletic directors. Powers said the issue does not effect UT at all.”

    Comment by Editor — October 29, 2009 @ 12:23 pm

  27. Nothing wrong with a bit of humor. See: Meyer’s Take, San Francisco Chronicle, November 1, 2009.

    Comment by Editor — November 1, 2009 @ 8:44 pm

  28. Cal faculty to debate support of sports teams, San Francisco Chronicle, November 5, 2009.

    Excerpt: “Hundreds are expected to attend, debate the issue, and try to agree on a formal recommendation to the university.

    Cal is facing a $150 million deficit this year. Its library doesn’t have the money to stay open on Saturdays. Faculty pay has been cut, instructors have been laid off, and courses have been reduced.

    At the same time, Cal says it will pay $7.7 million this year, and $6 million next year to help its money-losing but prized Department of Intercollegiate Athletics make ends meet. Although the money is supposed to be paid back, the university has forgiven the debt in recent years.”

    Comment by Editor — November 5, 2009 @ 11:23 am

  29. UC Berkeley faculty wants sports subsidies stopped, Associated Press, November 5, 2009. Excerpt: “The campus Academic Senate on Thursday voted 91-68 in favor of a nonbinding resolution calling for an end to campus support of the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics and requiring a plan for paying back loans already made.

    Cal’s football and men’s basketball programs make money, but other sports don’t. Even with $7.7 million in subsidies from the campus chancellor and student fees, the department ran up a deficit of $5.8 million for the fiscal year just ended and projects another deficit next year.

    That has stirred criticism as deep state budget cuts have resulted in class cutbacks, faculty furloughs and student fee hikes.

    “Action is imperative given the current budget crisis,” said Alice Agogino, a mechanical engineering professor who supported the resolution.”

    Comment by Editor — November 5, 2009 @ 4:37 pm

  30. After Big Cuts, Mighty Stanford Sports Longs for Sunnier Days, Chronicle of Higher Education, November 8, 2009.

    Comment by Chronicle of Higher Education — November 12, 2009 @ 6:57 pm

  31. It’s pathetic how quickly academics decide to cannibalize their own institutions when the money gets tight. This time it’s athletics programs–and they’re easy to pick on, I admit–but once the academics succeed and those awful jocks are put in their place back at the community college the money will get tight again, and again and again, and they’ll have to take a long, hard look at the other places that could become profit-driven or cut drastically, first clubs and political organizations, then art, then music, then housing, dining, multicultural centers, public safety and even (gasp!) tenured professor salaries! (I kid, they will never actually look at those!)

    Once the times get tough, once pressure comes from the top to cut costs, every tenured, well-paid professor with a safe job leaps enthusiastically into action, scouring every line of the budget for “cost centers,” inefficient departments, anywhere the ax can fall. Instead of fighting the budget cuts themselves and resisting the attack on education funding from the government, the professors with any clout shift right into their role as middle managers of the system. Professors like Laura Nader would love nothing better than to have whole sections of the university profit-modeled. While Dr. Nader pretends to loathe the profit model of education, she’s actually making a great argument for it, as it concerns sections of the university she’s not very interested in, like sports.

    I’m a community college English instructor with an MA, teaching part time and trying to get my PhD. One day I hope to have a position like Dr. Nader has at Berkeley. But I also hope I never, ever find myself calling for cuts that would hurt students. And yes, student-athletes ARE students, and they will be the ones hurt in the end. Dr. Nader and the other anti-athletics professors are avoiding the fight with the powers that be, the ones that control the money. Instead they’re helping to make the cuts, helping to decide who ought to be excluded. They’re playing right into the hands of the UC. And you know whose going to get hurt by this, the women’s swim team, the men’s cross country team, volleyball, anything that can’t make a quick buck–which is what it’s all about, isn’t it?

    Yes, athletics is a drain on the budget, if you want to say it in such terms. So is grass, full time faculty and the anthropology department, technically. The difference between academics who happen to be athletes and pure academics is that academics who happen to be athletes would never dream of calling for cuts in other departments like art or music or anthropology to save their own ass. Pure academics, however, have not the integrity to avoid ratting out their fellow members of the university community.

    Comment by Brent — November 22, 2009 @ 12:41 am

  32. Brent, authors of the Resolution on Intercollegiate Athletics, as well as the faculty who voted for it I suspect, are not against athletics. In fact, quite the opposite. We are against large subsidies to Intercollegiate Athletics (IA), which is by law supposed to be a self-supporting auxiliary. We feel it is important to distinguish IA from sports at UC Berkeley. Physical Education is part of our academic program and it got cut 50% this year from State funds. Nearly half of our physical education classes were cut, much to the dismay of students who wanted to take these popular courses. Recreational and club sports, which serve many thousands of students, gets almost nothing from the campus. Yet IA got a $13 million subsidy last year and this money went to IA sports that only serve a few hundred students out of our 30,000 plus student body. The funds did not go, by the way, to football or men’s basketball as they appear to be self-supporting. As most of the women’s IA programs are protected, the funds were really supporting non-revenue generating IA men’s sports. There would be more money for these non-revenue generating sports if not for what appears to be excessive costs in football, however.

    Although not an Intercollegiate Athlete myself, my father was and worked his way through college on an Intercollegiate Athletic track team and supported his doctoral research as an Assistant Coach of basketball at Syracuse. My sports in middle/high school were gymnastics and martial arts.

    One of the co-authors played on the Eagle Rock High School football team that was named the Los Angeles City Champion, as well as ran track, participated in gymnastics and played basketball. Another was the captain of her tennis team when she was a college student and participated in four other sports. Yet another was named the most valuable player on her intercollegiate basketball team when she was an undergraduate at UC Riverside, and prior to that, she was a national archery champion several times over.

    How did we all get to be professors? We put education first.

    Comment by Alice M. Agogino — November 27, 2009 @ 1:17 pm

  33. Brent, Intercollegiate Athletics is not an academic department, doesn’t give degrees, or offer courses. It admits semi-professional athletes who are below the admission standard and who take the place of more deserving students. The real students are dropping out because they can’t afford the huge fee hikes and the academic program is getting slashed while millions go to run semi-professional sports. Intercollegiate Athletics is supposed to be self-supporting just like housing, dining that you mentioned. Intercollegiate is hurting students, not Prof. Nader!

    Comment by Noah — November 27, 2009 @ 2:57 pm

  34. Op-Ed Contributor: The Department of Lucrative Athletics, Gilbert M. Gaul, New York Times, November 27, 2009.

    “EVERY few years, college presidents feel a need to go public with their concerns over the commercialization of intercollegiate athletics. The report last month by the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics, which warned that an arms race in spending on coaches at top programs is unsustainable, was the latest opportunity.

    To be sure, costs are soaring, with athletic spending at big-time athletic programs outpacing classroom spending by a factor of three to four, according to William E. Kirwan, the chancellor of Maryland’s university system. At the football powerhouses Florida, Alabama and Louisiana State, the head coaches all get more than $3.7 million a year in salary and other income. By my reckoning, that’s more than the combined value of all the scholarships awarded to their players.

    If college presidents really wanted to halt the college sports machine, they could try two options. They could insist that athletic departments operate within their university budgets, like the English or biology departments; or they could ask Congress to rescind the tax breaks on the commercial income earned by athletic programs.”

    Comment by Editor — November 28, 2009 @ 10:49 am

  35. Hofstra Eliminates 72-Year-Old Football Program, New York Times, December 3, 2009. Excerpt: “Hofstra’s decision to eliminate its 72-year-old football program because of costs and waning interest among fans shocked players, coaches and alumni. Hofstra became the second Colonial Athletic Association university to drop football in less than two weeks. Northeastern officials terminated their struggling program Nov. 23.

    “I expect you will see these types of decisions accelerate at smaller institutions as they must make critical decisions,” E. Gordon Gee, Ohio State’s president and an outspoken supporter for reform in college athletics, said in a phone interview while traveling in Rhode Island. “In times of economic distress, academic programs should and will win out.”

    Hofstra’s president, Stuart Rabinowitz, said the $4.5 million invested annually in football would be channeled to student scholarships and other academic priorities. The board of trustees did not reach its decision until Wednesday night after a two-year internal study.”

    Comment by Editor — December 4, 2009 @ 12:03 pm

  36. Hofstra does the right thing by dropping its football program, Sports Illustrated, November 4, 2009 . Excerpt: “Citing little fan support and huge losses, Hofstra disbanded its football program. At Hofstra yesterday, Rabinowitz said in a statement that, “If we are to continue our momentum and strive to become one of the nation’s best institutions of higher education, standing for excellence in every way, we must invest in academics and programs in which we can compete at the highest level.” Hence, he was ending his program.”

    Comment by Editor — December 6, 2009 @ 9:29 pm

  37. Although no taint on UC Berkeley, this article shows the pressure that Intercollegiate Athletics put on academic standards at Florida State. N.C.A.A. Penalizes Florida State for Academic Fraud, New York Times, March 6, 2009. Excerpts: The infractions report detailed the fraud, which involved a learning specialist, an academic adviser and a tutor who took tests and wrote papers for athletes.

    “Academic fraud is among the most egregious of N.C.A.A. violations,” the report said. “The committee was concerned with the large number of student-athletes involved in the fraud and especially by the fact that individuals within the institution’s A.A.S.S. unit were involved. The committee was further troubled by the fact that there were warning signs indicating that academic improprieties were taking place, but these warning signs were, for the most part, ignored.”

    A.A.S.S. refers to the Athletics Academic Support Services.

    Comment by Editor — December 11, 2009 @ 9:19 am

  38. Brown to receive $5M a season, College Football, ESPN, December 10, 2009. “AUSTIN, Texas — Texas coach Mack Brown is a $5 million man, not just this season, but for the life of his contract.”

    Comment by Editor — December 11, 2009 @ 9:36 am

  39. Subcommittee OKs college playoff bill, College Football, ESPN, December 10, 2009. “With all due respect, I really think we have more important things to spend our time on.” — Rep. Jhn Barrow, D-Georgia.

    Comment by Editor — December 11, 2009 @ 9:38 am

  40. Mack Brown’s salary deemed ‘unseemly, statesman.com, December 14, 2009. “A resolution criticizing the $5 million pay package for University of Texas football coach Mack Brown as “unseemly and inappropriate” was approved in an unofficial vote at a Faculty Council meeting Monday despite an impassioned defense of the package by UT’s president.”

    Comment by Chronicle of Higher Education — December 16, 2009 @ 4:52 pm

  41. Playoffs not the answer to college football’s financial crisis, William E. Kirwan and R. Gerald Turner, Washington Post, December 19, 2009.

    Excerpt: “The real crisis facing college athletics is the sustainability of its business model, which is on a path toward meltdown. The core of any debate about major-college football must be about the need to develop a business model consistent with the economic realities of our time and that would benefit student-athletes and educational institutions alike. . . A recent NCAA report noted that even football-generated revenue does not cover the operating cost of the football team at 44 percent of the institutions playing major-college football. Such figures would be worse if the millions in debt for stadium improvements and other facility enhancements were included. These are hardly profit centers at most institutions.

    Comment by Editor — December 20, 2009 @ 10:35 am

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