In regard to your recent editorial “Ask the right questions in student-athlete dilemma,” I am an avid college football fan and I agree with your assessment.
I have often cringed at the amount of money that college athletic departments are able to sequester from the whole of the school. Athletic departments operate on an island separate from the academic world and keep a separate treasury. In most schools the football and/or basketball program has been able to generate enough money to fund other low-or non-revenue sports. That’s good.
However, just look at the arms race going on among PAC 12 schools in renovations or construction of athletic facilities — $250 million for the UW stadium and $58 million for the WSU football operations center is enough money to educate more than 1,000 student for one academic year. Why do they spend that amount of money? They need to compete.
TV revenue pays a huge role in all of this. In 2003, Vanderbilt University eliminated the athletic department and consolidated it with the Division of Student Life (student activities and organizations.) The move has turned out to be successful.
Maybe I’m dreaming but if the athletic departments of all colleges had to submit an annual budget like all the other college departments and compete for funding, perhaps we would have just as good a product without all the ridiculous spending, and still be able to produce revenue-generating sporting events.