The Rich Get Richer & The Poor Stay Poor- The Story of College Athletics

As we all know college athletics has turned into big business over the past 5-10 years, especially behind the power of college football. There have been new networks created, new conference affiliations, and programs that continue to grow year after year. However, there are teams and conferences who are still struggling to get by, while teams like Alabama, Texas, Auburn, Florida, Michigan, Ohio State, etc. make near $100 million every year. I think that we expect college football programs and athletic departments to be profitable, due to the power five conferences and teams that we see dominate the ratings and headlines year after year. However, we don’t see how the New Mexico States, San Jose States, Buffalos, Central Michigan’s of the world are doing, and we don’t realize that they are not capable of producing the money to stabilize their athletic department like the other schools are. Like we learned about in the PowerPoint, in college athletics the rich continue to get richer, meaning the power 5 schools such as Alabama, Oregon, Ohio State, etc. continue to get national television games, they get their “opportunities for institutional branding” which leads to higher enrollment, more applicants and more benefits making it easier for them to keep producing high profits. What isn’t realistic to expect sports such as baseball, soccer, gymnastics, field hockey, wrestling, and lacrosse to be profitable, which means that the football/basketball revenues are used to cover the losses that the schools take from those sports. It is unfortunate that those sports are not profitable, but due to the popularity of football, basketball, baseball and soccer, these sports do not get nearly the attention and funds needed to be profitable. I don’t think that universities should cut these programs, because that takes away the ability for a student-athlete to experience living out a dream of playing Division 1 sports. I believe that more money from these other sports should be used to help cover the expenses necessary, so that these student-athletes are able to get the equipment, facilities and help needed to play the sports they have worked so hard to earn. With the continuing rise in tuition, fees, room and board, and other things around the college campuses, I do think that they should help cover the costs that support the athletic programs. D1 sports in my opinion are a necessity for students, and provide much more than a hobby or entertainment. I have learned during my time here in the SPAD program, that sports have been used to round out the college experience, making it an education in itself, meaning it is educating the mind and body. College sports provide students a way to get into college, and way to continue learning time management, hard work ethic, sportsmanship, teamwork and many other valuable life skills, and to cut that simply because the athletic department and schools are putting enough time and attention into them is simply ridiculous. I believe that the University of Louisville is a trend setter in this area. When you look at the campus you see top notch facilities for field hockey, softball, swimming & diving, tennis and many others that do not get the attention that football and basketball garner. We see why our athletic director is one of the best in the nation, he puts his time in attention in ALL sports not just the ones where he gets the majority of the profits from. Yes we have great basketball and football facilities, coaches and stadiums/arenas, but that is not enough for Jurich. He has worked his butt off to make sure that every single athletic sport at UofL gets the attention it needs, because it is not just a sport or a money making outlet for the University, but a way for student athletes to live out a dream and a way for them to enhance their time at the University, learning things that cannot be taught in the classroom. I think that Texas has gotten so caught up in how much money they are making from the TV network, and from the media obligations and banking on the fact that fans will come no matter what. When you watch Texas football and basketball (up until last year) you see that there is no longer the passion, and will to win like there was a few years back when the team was competing for championships, the greed has caught up to them. Everyone has settled for just making a lot of money, and not actually putting their all into these sports and student-athletes. Then you have a school like Grambling State who is on the complete opposite side of the spectrum, struggling to even fund basketball and football. The problems that have occurred at that school are unlike any other, at least that I have seen in my life. When your programs combine to win less than 20 games over a 5 year period, you know that-that is not an athletic program but a University problem and something must happen from the top down for them to get to being successful. I believe that the athletic director should plead for funding, and present to the University and the NCAA that the school has a rich tradition and can back to their winning ways, IF they get the appropriate help. They need to renovate the facilities, get new equipment, get new traveling routines, do whatever it takes to get student-athletes to come back to the school.

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