Intercollegiate Athletics The Balance Between Education and Sport Overview • 1. Brief history of Intercollegiate Athletics • 2. College Sports at Big Business • 3. Student-Athletes and the NCAA • 4. Classroom performances of Student- Athletes • 5. Reform Brief History of Intercollegiate Sports • First contest in 1852 • First football contest in 1869 • Initially student run, based on British model • Faculty get involved in 1880’s • First league formed in 1895 (Big 10) • Intercollegiate Athletic Association formed in 1905 – Later becomes the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) in 1910 • Started as student run activity now a highly commercialized entity Abuses in Intercollegiate Sports? • Along with transformation to commercial sports model have come many abuses and misuses – Illegal recruiting – Altering grades and transcripts – Exploitation of athletes – Pressure to win – Pressure to make money College Sports is Big Business • Difficult to separate the business aspects of IA sports with the play on the field aspect • The Money Orientation of IA sports: – NCAA receives an average of $545 Million annually for the Final Four Men’s basketball tournament each year through 2013. – Athletic department annual budgets over $70 Million – Oregon paid $250,000 for a billboard in NYC to promote Heisman candidate Joey Harrington in 2001 College Sports as Big Business • Money Orientation (cont.) – ABC pays the four Bowl Championship Series (BCS) games (football) and the six major Division I-A conferences at total of $930 Million. Each team playing in these BCS games receives about $13 Million each – Head coaches are paid like CEOs of major companies • Rick Pitino at Louisville has a $5 Million loyalty bonus • ―For those who are interested in numbers, by our count there are 16 head football coaches in Division I making $2 million a year or more, and 41 head basketball coaches making $1 million a year or more‖ (Bill Byrne, http://sports.tamu.edu) NCAA Budget Individual school budgets range from $10 Million per year to over $70 Million per year at Division IA level College Sports as Big Business • These examples demonstrate clearly that college athletic programs go well beyond the notion of amateur athletics • Common held belief that athletic departments do very well financially – Some do – Most do not •Only 48 of 976 schools finished with a profit in a recent assessment of the economics of college sports (Eitzen & Sage, 2003). Big Business or Big Mess? •Andrew Zimbalist (as cited in Eitzen & Sage, 2003, pp. 112- 113) – ―The most successful programs (perhaps a dozen top schools, such as Michigan, Notre Dame, Florida…) are generating real surpluses year after year. Another group of programs (perhaps two to three dozen schools) generates an occasional surplus when their teams perform well in postseason tournaments. The remaining big-time schools lose money. Division I-A schools, which support high expenses of football scholarships, large facilities, recruiting, travel, etc., but have not enjoyed on-field success, can lose large sums of money‖ – Reasons for the RED INK: • FB and MBB are expected to pay for entire program • There is an ―arms race‖ – Coaches salaries are escalating to help with retention – Facilities are being upgraded (e.g. OU spend $100 Million upgrading from 2000-2003) • Athletic Departments overspend So what? Are there consequences to this money orientation? • Serious implications for institutions of higher learning if this system creates economic imperatives that lead college administrators to make business decisions that might supersede educational considerations (Eitzen, 2003) Consequences of the Money Orientation • 1. Lack of funds (at all but 48 schools) may lead to reduction in number of sports offered – Wrestling, lacrosse, gymnastics, swimming, etc have suffered serious reductions in offerings Fresno State wrestling survives, as university axes four sports to cut costs 4/21/2003 Gary Abbott/USA Wrestling Today, Fresno State University is holding a press conference to announce a decision to cut four sports programs from its Div. I athletic department. The nationally ranked Bulldog wrestling team is not one of them. According to reports in the Fresno Bee, the sports to get the axe will be men’s soccer, men’s cross country, men’s indoor track and women’s swimming. The Bee indicated that the cuts would “eliminate six coaches, about 100 athletes and, ultimately, 26 scholarships.” Consequences (cont.) • 2. Money has prostituted the university and the purpose of sport (Eitzen & Sage, 2003, p. 113) – Purpose of sport is to win, because without winning teams do not make millions and coaches do not make their paychecks, etc. Consequences (cont.) • 3. Chasing the money – Consider scheduling of games •On Thanksgiving Day •Football on Weekdays in August (and throughout year) •Games starting at 10PM to accommodate TV – Seats in arenas are made available to boosters and not students •Univ. of Louisville only allots 10% of its seats for basketball to students •U. of Arizona holds a lottery •Should not school sports be primarily for students? Consequences (cont.) • 4. Cheating – As early as 1929 the Carnegie Foundation released a report that decried widespread illegalities in recruiting – Very first yacht race in 1852- athlete that was not a student at Harvard – Since then, the problem as intensified •Consider the examples in the next few slides Scandal #1 • Sports Illustrated letter to University of Miami arguing for the dismantling of the football program Scandal #2 • University of Minnesota – Secretary in Athletic Department completed more than 100 class assignments for as many as 20 basketball players during a five year period •Team still had the lowest grades and lowest graduation rates of all teams at Univ. of Minn. The NCAA and Student Athletes • The NCAA (NAIA, NJCAA, etc) are necessary – Provides rules – Organizes playoffs – Curbs cheating – Eliminates use of illegal drugs – Etc • However, the NCAA has emerged as a monopoly – ―for the interests of the universities, not the student- athletes‖ • According to Sage & Eitzen (2003) this occurs through the enforcement of amateurism and rules that limit athletes’ rights Amateurism • Schools and the NCAA raise millions of dollars off of student-athletes • They keep overhead down by not paying student- athletes…i.e., they claim them to be ―amateurs‖ • Since it is amateur sports, the money they earn is free from taxation • NCAA has argued against workers compensation rights for athletes • NCAA has argued against athletes getting stipends beyond room, board, tuition Amateurs? • Athletes generate the revenue (about $3.5 Billion each year) • NCAA trying to keep athletes pure • Who gets paid for the walking billboards? – Athletes wearing certain shoes, etc. • Athletes are not paid, per se? – What is a scholarship worth exactly? – Is this labor exploitation? – Can you think of another industry in which the employees generating the funds are not paid? – How many athletes are even on scholarship? • Athletes can make money for others, but they can’t make any for themselves (Eitzen, 2003) Restriction of Athletes’ Rights • Letter of intent is for one school, for four years – Must typically sit out a year if switch schools after LOI is signed – What if a coach leaves? – What if the coach is abusive or a racist? • What is a schools’ commitment to the athlete? – One year renewable commitments – Coaches have a great deal of power with these annual contracts – Coaches do not have to sit out a year to leave, why should players? Educational Performance of Student-Athletes • Do college athletes perform better than non- athletes in academic endeavors? – Some do – Some do not – Must also consider majors athletes take (easy courses, etc) – Tutoring available to athletes – Preparation for college/Special Admits SAT, ACT, GPA • Do athletes get preferential treatment in the admissions process? – Data suggests that athletes in football and men’s basketball are 6 times more likely to receive special treatment in admissions process • i.e., they are admitted below the standard requirements for their university • i.e., 27% of athletes in these sports, compared to only 4% of all entering freshman, were accepted despite not meeting regular standards – Schools are willing to take marginal students because of athletic prowess – Athletes in big programs are more than 200 points behind averages on the SAT Murray Sperber • ―Athletes are the only group of students recruited for entertainment—not academic– purposes, and they are the only students who go through school on grants based not on educational aptitude, but on their talent and potential as commercial entertainers‖ • As cited in Eitzen, p. 111. Academic Performance After Admission • Graduation Rates – Commonly used indicator – Allowed 6 years after entering college to graduate – Compare athletes to non-athletes, overall also – Department of Education collects and releases data – NCAA publishes the data at their website annually (by school) http://www.ncaa.org/grad_rates/ National Averages • Some categories of athletes exceed non- athletes in graduation rates nationally – Women – White athletes – Athletes in non-revenue sports • Some categories of athletes do not exceed non- athletes in graduation rates – African-American athletes (women and men) – Athletes in football and men’s basketball Flaws with Graduation Rates • Data do not take into account athletes who transfer schools or leave school to play professionally • Does this occur across similar schools? • Consider a comparison by schools then – Excellence in Athletics Cup data – http://lsia.tamu.edu/eacup.html Summary • Summary of social issues in college sport – Abuses are present – College Sport is Big Business – Student-Athletes abuses and rights – Academic Performance can be sub par • How do we respond to these issues and dilemmas? – Ignore them and maintain the shame? – Seek true reform? Reform • Discussed in next section of the course.
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