Editorials Support Knight Commission’s Recommendations for Spending on College Sports

Several newspapers across the country have published editorials about the concerns over the finances of college sports in response to the Knight Commission’s release on June 17 of Restoring the Balance: Dollars, Values, and the Future of College Sports. These include The Detroit News, Salt Lake Tribune, The Gainesville Sun, Orlando Sentinel, Observer-Reporter, and The Oracle at the University of South Florida. A summary of the editorials is listed below.

The Detroit News. July 6, 2010: “Universities should heed commission’s ideas for spending on athletics”

“If you want to tell whether major universities place a higher value on academics or athletics, follow the money. From 2005 to 2008, spending on athletic programs jumped 38 percent at the big college level, or twice the rate of spending hikes on academics.

The Knight Commission working with the National Collegiate Athletic Association to determine the effect of money on college sports sees this as an indication that things are spinning out of control. The panel is right, but reversing course will take considerable courage on the part of university presidents who know that keeping alumni happy with winning sports teams is vital to the financial health of their institutions.” …

For the complete article, link here.

Salt Lake Tribune. June 24, 2010. “Eye on the ball”

“Amid all the well-justified excitement surrounding the University of Utah’s invitation to join the Pac-10 athletic conference, there has been just a hint of danger. A new report highlights the threat: Academics sometimes suffers from big spending on ultra-competitive athletic programs.

We urge U. administrators to look closely at the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics report (www.knightcommission.org) and guard against the imbalance in priorities that some highly competitive athletic programs are causing elsewhere.

Association with some of the most prestigious universities in the country will undoubtedly bring unprecedented benefits to the U.: exposure that will open doors to academic and science networks that are closed to lesser-known schools, formal collaborations and informal partnerships with larger and better-funded universities, and more students who want to attend the U.” …

For the complete article, link here.

The Gainesville Sun. June 20, 2010. “The core mission”

“Big time collegiate football and basketball is a big business, and the sheer force of money behind the enterprise often tends to obscure the fact that colleges and universities exist to educate more than to entertain. That’s why the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics exists; to remind us of the essential mission of higher education.

This week the commission recommended academic performance be tied to postseason eligibility. Specifically, that teams not on track to graduate at least 50 percent of their athletes be denied postseason play.” …

For the complete article, link here.

Orlando Sentinel. June 22, 2010. “Put academics first: colleges must curb athletics”

“Homeowners aren’t alone in this sluggish economy when it comes to finding themselves financially upside down.

Between 2005 and 2008, schools in the NCAA’s Football Bowl Subdivision, formerly known as Division I-A, increased spending on sports by an average of 38 percent, compared with a 20 percent jump in spending on academics.

Schools opened their wallets for sports — spending an average of $84,000 per athlete. Yet, they managed a comparatively measly $13,000 on other students.

That imbalance is evidence of a broken system, one that a new report from the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics insists must be repaired with bold financial reforms to check escalating athletic spending.” …

For the complete article, link here

Observer-Reporter (Washington, PA). June 22, 2010. “Troubling reports on higher learning”

… “Then, on Thursday, the Knight Commission for Intercollegiate Athletics released a report that found campus athletic departments are gobbling up more and more money, often at the expense of academics. For instance, it discovered institutions that were part of the Football Bowl Subdivision spent 6.3 times more on every student-athlete than they did on rank-and-file students who are working their way through political science courses or physics classes.

Len Elmore, a onetime professional basketball player and member of the Knight Commission, told the Los Angeles Times, “There must be a bright line between college and professional sports. We’re not saying that there cannot be investment in sports; we’re saying the investment needs to be put in perspective.”

Elmore is absolutely right. We understand the role athletics play in creating pride in an institution, and success on the football field or basketball court can continue to bind alumni to a university long after they receive their diplomas. But that’s not what makes a university great; it’s the quality of its instruction and research and the graduates it unleashes on the world.

That’s the arena where colleges and universities should be scoring touchdowns.” …

For the complete article, link here.

The Oracle, University of South Florida. June 23, 2010. “Suggestions good for NCAA”

“Athletics hold a special place in the collegiate world. Heated competitions in football, basketball and other sports are often the causes behind exciting school rivalries.

Understandably, it’s a fun way for alumni, students, fans and athletes to display their school pride.

A school’s pride, however, should not be determined solely on the results of athletic competition, as universities are first and foremost academic institutions. Pride should be determined by a university’s academic success as well.

After completing an 18-month study on finances in college sports, a report released last week by the Knights Commission — a group made up of university presidents and other leading minds aimed at emphasizing academic values in a commercialized athletic environment — recommended much-needed changes to NCAA operations that would greatly enhance the role of academics in sports.” …

For the complete article, link here.