Schools, Conferences Rush to Contain Costs as Perks Squeezed

The USA Today reported on May 21 about many major intercollegiate athletic conferences are making decisions to reduce conference and institutional expenses, including: cutting traveling costs, adjusting schedules, reducing the number of teams competing in postseaon tournament, and reducing sport staff specialist positions.

The article listed recent cost-cutting decisions by the Big Ten Conference, Atlantic Coast Conference, the Pac-10 Conference, the Big Sky Conference, and Conference USA. The Big Ten will save $500,000 by freezing salaries of higher-paid league employees while also suspending the luggage allotment, electronics and other gifts to players at the conference’s annual basketball tournament and other events. The Atlantic Coast Conference will shrink the size of team’s traveling squads (football will be limited to a maximum of 72 players) and will also save $125,000 by postponing plans to move its baseball tournament from NewBridge Bank Park in Greensboro, North Carolina, to Boston’s Fenway Park. The Pac-10 will eliminate offseason foreign tours, prohibit team lodging in hotels the night before home and other locally played games (particularly affecting football), reduce competing in their “non-traditional” seasons (for instance, playing baseball games in the fall), and has considered proposals to reduce football travel squad sizes from 64 to as few as 60 players. The Big Sky Conference will save $415,000 (or $46,000 per school) by playing its men’s and women’s conference basketball games on Fridays and Saturdays, prohibiting air travel for team road trips of less than 450 miles, and cutting its volleyball and tennis tournament fields from six teams to four. And, Conference USA will reduce its football travel sizes from 70 to 66 players, alter basketball scheduling to divisional play to reduce away games, reducing the size of postseason tournaments, and playing the men’s and women’s basketball tournaments in Tulsa next season.