Monday, November 22, 2010

Knight Commission on NCAA Athletics and Academic Spending

The Knight Commission has stated that there is too much imbalance in regard to NCAA athletic spending compared to NCAA academic spending. In order to solve such issues, the Knight Commission recommends the following:
  • financial reports being available to the public,
  • reducing the maximum number of scholarships,
  • creating an Academic-Athletics Balance fund,
  • eligibility for post-season championships tied to athlete academic progress.
I would support that financial reports be made available to the public - for all public schools, but this should not be required for private schools. I would likely not support the last three listed above. I think that there is a simpler way, and that is to require NCAA schools to be self-sustaining in terms of the athletic department (i.e. have a balanced budget for the entire athletic department each fiscal year - no exceptions), and require the NCAA school's financial statements be audited, which takes place for many college and universities anyway. Schools that are not in compliance would face sanctions - such as loss of scholarships or probation, much like occurs now. The NCAA could also reduce revenue distribution from say the basketball fund as a significant incentive to be in compliance with the self-sustaining goal.

This will not reduce the difference between NCAA athletic spending and NCAA academic spending, but to me that is not really the problem. The problem seems to be the cross-subsidization in terms of athletics. In other words, NCAA schools are spending money that could go to the academic part of the university for athletics. Put a firewall (financially) between the movement of monies from the academic side to the athletic side (but not the opposite) and I think many of the opponents of NCAA funding allocations will be satisfied.

Thus the schools spending would be determined by the ability of the athletic department to

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