The Limitations of NCAA’s Most Recent Financial Report

The Higher Ed Watch Blog recently evaluated the NCAA’s report on college spending on athletics and noted several limitations. According to the blog, the report’s usefulness is limited because it discloses only aggregate numbers and does not disclose individual institutional expenses. The issue is complicated by different accounting practices at each institution. Yet, this report confirms that athletics spending on many campuses is out of control and not in line with the educational mission of institutions—as previously acknowledged by the Knight Commission of Intercollegiate Athletics in its 2001 report, A Call To Action, and by the NCAA’s 2006 Presidential Task Force on the Future of Division I Athletics. Higher Ed Blog Watch called for the federal government to require athletics programs to use consistent accounting definitions when calculating revenue and expenses, and the data to be disaggregated into designated categories, such as generated vs. allocated revenue and spending on coaching salaries, facilities, scholarships, etc.