My question was answered...sort of
April 18, 2006
Discussing The Financial Issues Of Intercollegiate Athletics
In Sunday’s edition of the Atlanta-Journal Constitution, Tim Tucker revealed that the University of Georgia athletics department had an operating profit of $23.9 million in fiscal 2005. Not only did the Bulldogs finish more in the black than any other athletics department in the nation, but they managed to earn more of a profit than three major professional teams in Atlanta.
Georgia used its surplus to reduce its long-term debt, put in almost $6 million in new scoreboards and video boards and is in the process of buying a new plane.
It’s important to understand that the vast majority of institutions don’t earn as much profit as Georgia did in 2005. In fact, most schools in Division I don’t turn a profit at all, and instead must be subsidized by the institution. In Divisions II and III, profits are nearly impossible to come by.
Needless to say, Georgia’s financial success in athletics serves as a reminder that intercollegiate athletics has become a big business. I’m not saying there’s anything particularly wrong with that, but it’s certainly worth discussing.
I subscribe to the belief that athletics – at any level – is integral to the mission of education. I felt that way as a high school student-athlete and as a college student-athlete. I loved wearing the name of my school across my chest on the cross country course or baseball field. It made me feel as if I were truly an important part of the community.
I’m comfortable with institutions subsidizing athletics departments, but I’m also more than supportive of athletics profits being shared with struggling academic departments on campus. If an athletics department can foot half the bill for a new science building, why shouldn’t that take place? There needs to be a give and take relationship.
I know that new scoreboards and video boards on football fields will help increase profits for years to come, and that is important. I just hope there is a greater plan than continuing to build and improve upon facilities for student-athletes. Not all of the profits have to go back to the athletics department.
In his 2006 State of the Association address, NCAA President Myles Brand said: “We must not let the interest in the ‘business’ of college sports become so alluring or enticing that it diverts us from the primary purpose of intercollegiate athletics – providing athletics opportunities for students that enhance their academic experience. We must never lose sight of the academic purpose while we are conducting the necessary business of college sports.”
Dr. Brand is correct – the business of college sports is necessary. Georgia should be proud of its immense profits, and those dollars are for the institution and athletics department to allocate. It’s my hope, however, that those dollars, and all surplus profits earned by athletics departments, go toward adding more opportunites for all students on college campuses.
This is quoted as I am no sure how long this will remain a the NCAA site.