Is the NCAA in trouble?

And would its replacement be any better? After a tumultuous weekend including the potential Pac-12 boycott and a leaked audio of SEC athletes worried about their safety in a pandemic, Pat Forde takes a look.

Interesting article. Nobody can foresee what changes covid will have on college athletics, but I bet there’ll be some big ones. Some we might like, some we might not. I wouldn’t mind seeing about 30-40 schools tossed out of major football to get it to about 90-100, but 65 is probably not enough.

Basketball & baseball are different matters. It’d be hard to get by with even 100 participating programs. I don’t pretend to know what a good number would be, but I doubt it’s close to the 360 (or whatever) D1 schools now. March Madness is a wonderful event, but the excitement for the “cinderellas” usually only lasts 1 weekend, sometimes two. Seems like I only remember one final four with a true cinderella team–a team from a small conference that no one gave a chance when the tourney started.

Baseball might be easier to handle. The SEC could play a full round robin. It could open the season with only 3-4 weekend series. It could still find 6-7 mid-week opponents. It could play some teams who weren’t in the new power league.

I have no real idea of what is about to happen, however, if the power 5 basically desert the other schools, I sense disaster. I fear a disaster, money money and more money for a few and nothing for the rest. And the big guys could forever bury the term “student athlete” and admit is pure professional activities. I hope I am dead wrong.
But I doubt if I am.

Speaking of baseball, Kendall Rogers is in favor of a I-A/I-AA type setup for baseball. The schools that can commit to full 11.7 scholarships and those that can’t. Which is not necessarily a Power 5 thing. There are lots of very good baseball schools outside the Power 5. Fullerton, Long Beach, Pepperdine, Fresno, Coastal Carolina, La-Laf, Stony Brook. And there are others

I think that ship has sailed. We’re there now. The only question is how schools deal with payment to the athletes & whether there can be any rules to limit payment, etc.

Yeah. And at least two federal judges have confirmed it. I do not understand the people who think amateurism is a sacred concept that must be preserved at all costs. Basically college jocks haven’t been amateurs since recruiting began, and certainly since athletic scholarships were approved in the 1950s.

It was one thing when game tickets were $6 (Big Shootout, 1969) and a head coach made $50,000 a year. Or less. But now we have a $140 million enterprise that pays peanuts to the people who actually make it happen, and have much of the public convinced that doing the right thing for the athletes is a bad idea.

We reported athletic expenses of $133 million in our last annual report to the feds. Of that, scholarships for every Razorback athlete in all 19 sports, male and female, totaled $12 million. We spent almost that much on men’s basketball alone; football cost $43 million. Something is very wrong with that picture. No sports without the athletes yet they get less than 10 percent of the pie… Yes I know there are counselors and tutors and the Jones Center and food and lots of other things they spend money on that benefit the athletes, but somehow I don’t think Walmart or Microsoft or General Motors spend less than 10 percent of their expenses on paying the people who do the work.

The part that struck a chord with me was rule enforcement. The NCAA has always been criticized (and rightly so) over selective rule enforcement.

It’s my feeling most bending/breaking of rules has historically been committed by current Power 5 teams. So will there be any real desire on the behalf of a separate Power 5 Organization to self police and reign that in? No rule enforcement (or rules to begin with) … therefore we’re no longer cheating. Anything goes, baby!

Quite possible

Surely facilities & upkeep are the bulk of that money, don’t you think? I mean the latest Football Stadium upgrade was $160M.

Nope. Debt service is in there to be sure but it’s not the bulk of that money. In 2017-18 out of total UA athletic expenses of $115.2 million, debt service was 11.2%, or about $13 million. Not much more than the scholarship total. And facilities maintenance and utilities were about 8%. See Page 37 of this PDF.

Thanks for the info.

Do you not think that the $44M in donations raised for the Stadium (page 41) is included in the 25% spent on Football? That money certainly would not be included in the debt service.

Well considering the amount spent on football was less than $44 million (25% of $115 million is about $29 million), it can’t be. Let’s see: Chad Morris made $3 million plus. His assistants totaled about $4 million, plus all the analysts and everything else. We were still paying Bret Bielema to go away. You have training staff, support staff, conditioning staff, equipment staff. I don’t pretend to know everything included in that $29M but it’s not paying for the stadium.

I don’t disagree with you at all. I am not interested in “protecting amateurism.” What I am interested in is keeping, as much possible, a “level playing field” when it comes to recruiting. If a kid can just sign up with a “sponsor” don’t think for a second that schools like USC, Bama, Texas, etc. won’t be getting their 3rd team deep snapper a deal at “Bob’s Used Cars” to pay him a lot. The first string QB? MAJOR deal with a RICH booster. We will be able to get kids deals better than the ASU’s of the world, but don’t think for a second we will be able to compete with most of the SEC or with a lot of other schools.

I do understand that some of that (money at least) goes on already, but at least it is against the rules.

I do not know an answer. I do know that if it is a free for all, we don’t compete very well.

Third team deep snapper isn’t getting squat, just like he’s not getting squat now (he’s probably a walk-on). It’s not like we don’t have resources either if we have to play that game. We have three Fortune 500 companies within 25 miles of campus. Bama doesn’t have that; they have one F500 in the entire state (hint: a bank whose main color is green).

Yeah, makes sense… but I would also not expect them to put all $44M into one years budget for the Stadium then $0 for other years. I would expect they averaged it out over a number of years so that the annual budget graph does not look like a roller coaster. Anyway, it makes no difference, and I do not know one way or the other either… but, what I do know is that there is a butt-load (no metric equivalent for that) of money going to athletic facilities and equipment that cannot be reallocated without the whole program suffering. That money is on the books… and as you said, it is not in the debt service numbers.

Of course I was being facetious about 3rd team deep snapper. But I disagree about our ability to compete with Bama. How much do they get in donations each year compared to us?

Its great we have 3 F500 companies so close, but I don’t see Wal-Mart caring enough about Razorback football to give a sweetheart deal to the running back we want. We are overall a poor state. We aren’t going to have boosters lining up to give money to a recruit. I think that is one of the reasons we don’t cheat (and don’t get me wrong, I am glad we don’t, in general, cheat), we don’t have nearly as many rich boosters who are willing to give tens of thousands of dollars to recruits. It appears to me that Auburn does.

And that’s fine. I understand that we have facilities expenses, and other expenses that aren’t assigned to any particular sport (the last report to the feds said $45 million for unassigned expenses). NLI money doesn’t even have to come from the school, but the schools are worried that if Bob’s Used Cars is paying for the third-team deep snapper, that old Bob isn’t going to make his contribution to the school itself.

My point is that in $133 million, things could be rearranged so that the 400-odd athletes get a little bigger slice of the pie. Maybe you don’t need a deputy assistant quality control analyst for punt protection and another one for left handed wide receivers.

That report I linked above says the annual value of a UA four-year athletic scholarship to an in-state kid is $67,000. But that’s including everything like tutors and counselors and whatever else they spend on student services. If the AD wasn’t spending it, the kids’ parents wouldn’t be.

Agree 100%

I agree. I’m not sure we can compete with Bama, LSU, FL, TX, & several other high profile schools when it comes to paying players.

I don’t want to see a free-market free for all for players. I do favor reasonable compensation for what they give the schools. (And, no, a “free” education isn’t enough anymore. Few of us would work as hard as football players do for it. Most people can get a degree with a lot less effort or less money than football players.) What I’d like to see, I think, is a decent payment above the scholarship rate that’s fixed for all schools & all players. I’m not sure that’s possible under current court rulings. If likenesses can be sold, I’m afraid we’re looking at some sort of free-market recruiting.

I’d just as soon the NFL start drafting players out of HS & start their own minor league teams for those players who want to go that route. Those who don’t, have to forego the “likeness” sales & accept a fair but uniform payment for the players. I’d also like to see unicorns & fairies, but I expect the odds are about the same as that NFL minor league.