Thought this article that appeared in today's Chronicle of Higher Education might be of interest to Vermont fans and others whose colleges are contemplating constructing new athletic facilities. I'm including the entire article as this is a pay site.
Friday, March 31, 2006
NCAA President Calls on Colleges to Show Restraint in Athletics Spending
By BRAD WOLVERTON
Indianapolis--On the eve of college basketball's Final Four, Myles Brand, the president of the National Collegiate Athletic Association, urged colleges to curb unnecessary spending on athletics facilities to avert a fiscal crisis in college sports.
Athletics budgets have been growing two to three times as fast as overall university budgets in recent years. Stadium and arena projects alone have accounted for half of the annual athletics increases over the past three years, Mr. Brand said during a news conference on Thursday.
While some colleges have made facility improvements to meet code requirements, many athletics programs have taken on long-term debt to finance elaborate practice facilities, skyboxes, and fancy arena upgrades.
Mr. Brand said he worried that many universities view such improvements as a necessary cost to remain competitive with other institutions that have poured millions of dollars into new athletics facilities.
But what happens, Mr. Brand asked, when teams start losing and athletics programs begin to bring in less revenue? He is concerned that many universities will have to bail out their athletics departments, leaving less money for academic programs.
An NCAA panel of 50 college leaders is expected to present a report later this year with proposals for curtailing the high costs of college sports. One idea being discussed is to create a universal accounting system under which athletics departments would have to explicitly detail their revenue and expenses. Tax forms now allow athletics programs to obscure their spending.
Mr. Brand's concern over escalating athletics costs is shared by members of Congress. Staff members of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Ways and Means are investigating what they see as excessive spending by college athletics departments (The Chronicle, March 24). Their inquiry is focused on the "arms race" in facilities spending as well as the increasing sums universities are paying coaches.
Many of those college basketball coaches are meeting here this weekend. One of them, Jim Boeheim, the head basketball coach at Syracuse University, on Thursday called on the NCAA to expand the field for the men's basketball tournament.
Mr. Brand said the NCAA's Division I Board of Directors has discussed that idea but is unlikely to add teams anytime soon. "Why fix something that isn't broken?" he asked.