Action, Not Whispers, Needed from College Presidents

Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal highlighted the Knight Commission’s 2009 presidential survey report in a commentary about the economic challenges in college sports. Author Connie Zotos stated that the report “confirms my belief that there are three issues that have existed for a long time that could best be described as collective and unwarranted defeatism.”

The commentary refers to the survey results which found the need for collective action by the presidents to initiate and implement significant change. Zotos stated “when [presidents] are criticizing the NCAA or the conference commissioners, they are criticizing themselves or their peers as ineffective change agents.” In addition, she stated such messages send an unhealthy level of pessimism which “often results in athletics departments that work in isolation and are not well integrated into the university at large.”

An additional point by Zotos is in reference to the rationale of escalating coaches’ salaries. She stated her concern that “salaries seem to be based on the higher rates being paid at the most athletically successful peer institutions and therefore based on the “position” sithan the actual person being hired.” Further, a significant reason for the escalation of salaries “is the practice of gargantuan salary increases and extended multiyear contracts after a very short window of success.”