Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Damning article on college athletics

  1. Oct 30, 2011 #1
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 30, 2011 #2


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Its not really a new story. It was advanced some 30 years ago or so, maybe more, but don't ask for a reference because I will have trouble finding one. What has changed is that the amount of money moving from one hand to another.

    The amount of money involved is huge - potentially for the athletes, but definitely for the colleges, the advertisers, the sports companies and anyone else invloved at this level of play, just under professional sports. The athletes are classified as amateur, and are not supposed to receive any money at all. The machinery behind the amateur athlete in his/her training can receive money though and that is OK. Maybe the time has come to re-classify amateur/professional.

    Professional golf has moved up into the big money arena also. Tiger Woods made billion$ when he was up at the top of his game. It seems to be a trend to exploit ( as a matter of speaking ) what people want to watch, and college sports in the US has quite a large fan base.

    Even minor leagues need financing. If a soccer league of 10 year old girls needs uniforms someone has to pay, whether it be the parents, the school, or your local hardware store acting as a sponsor.

    Easy question - difficult answer.
  4. Oct 30, 2011 #3


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    I thought you did, by giving them a free education?
  5. Oct 30, 2011 #4
    Didn't read the article did you? (give it a read, it is fascinating and horrifying at the same time)

    The term "student-athelete" is quite the disingenuous tag. If a student athlete becomes seriously injured, they have no recourse. The university doesn't have to pay them workman's comp because they are "students not athletes", and not employed by the university, even though we all know what complete nonsense that is since these kids pull in hundreds and millions of dollars for their universities, but get nothing in return. If a student gets seriously injured playing a sport, they will be disabled for the rest of their lives with literally no insurance measures to help them with their care.

    The NCAA also prevents "student athletes" from getting guaranteed scholarships for all 4 years and gives coaches the right to terminate their scholarships based on how well they perform on the field and not on their academic performance. How exactly can you call them students first, athletes second, when the can lose funding based solely off of how they perform on the field then?
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2011
  6. Oct 30, 2011 #5
    I pay them enough as it is. Every semester, I have to pay an "athletic fee," even though I don't play any sports, and have no interest in sports. I'm paying 400 dollars a semester so these meatheads can throw a ball. Compare this to the 80 dollar technology fee I pay every semester. I shower 5 times more money on these jocks every semester than I do on technology for the school. Here's a link, I'm not making that up. http://www.towson.edu/adminfinance/fiscalplanning/bursar/tuitionandfees/fall.asp That's over 10% of my tuition.

    And I go to a liberal arts school with a completely unknown sports program. They can't even use the excuse that it's a recruiting tool. Nobody goes to Towson University for the sports.

    So, no, maybe we shouldn't be paying these people to play a sport. Maybe we give them too much already for too little gain. If they want to throw a ball around, let them pay for it. When I want to play my games, I don't expect the school to pay for it, why are these people any different?

    Yes, I'm bitter. I've spent 2,000 dollars on athletics fees so far. Meanwhile, I sacrifice and scrape up money to be able to buy an old video game on sale. If their hobby is going to be subsidized, so should mine be.
  7. Oct 30, 2011 #6

    So you're blaming student athletes for what college admins impose on you?

    Even at small schools, strong athletics programs can still pull in huge amounts of cash through alumni donations and commercial deals with companies like reebok and nike (it's why your Uni is imposing athletic fees on you). Yes, even Nike sponsors small division II school athletics. Your hobby doesn't pull in millions for your school does it?

    You didn't read the article either did you?
  8. Oct 30, 2011 #7
    I'm not blaming the athletes directly, no. This isn't about blame. This is about you telling me they should be paid even more. And where will that money come from? Me. It's not about placing blame, it's about my bank account.

    If the athletics program is pulling in huge amounts of cash, shouldn't it be paying for itself? I pulled in huge amounts for my employer, and they didn't charge me to work there.

    No, I didn't read the article, because I really don't care what happens to those meatheads. Like I said, I give them too much money anyway.
  9. Oct 30, 2011 #8


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    That's because the healthcare funding system is dysfuctional, not because the education funding system is dysfunctional.

    If students were compelled to play sport, you might have a point. If they voluntarily make that lifestyle choice, let them live with the consequences of their own actions.

    I have zero sympathy with this whining. Other countries manage to run their education systems without pseudo-professional athletes taking away places from kids with brains.
  10. Oct 30, 2011 #9


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    It would be fine if they cancelled college athletics, or more specifically, franchised team sports like football, baseball, basketball, etc.

    If students want to play sports fine, but we don't need to subsidize professional sports.

    I also don't coaches should receive salaries well above other faculty.

    I don't think taxpayers should subsidize stadiums for professional sports either.
  11. Oct 30, 2011 #10
    This is a disgusting waste of taxpayer money. For less that what we spend on college athletics, we could open up another front in North Korea.
  12. Oct 30, 2011 #11


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Does your $400 provide only for the meatheads, or does it cover the maintenance for a gymnasium, a swimming pool and other sorts of facilities that are free access for those that sign up or use at designated free times for the student population. You should take a look at what is available for recreational purposes and take advantage of the opportunities if available. If your school does not provide such than I would agree you are being shafted.
  13. Oct 30, 2011 #12


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Pay doctors and other health care professionals only when you are well and the system would have poster people doing ads and making billions for XYZ saying " I am healthy and alive since I use the XZY team of health care professionals." Diseased and sick people just don't look right on a bilboard advertising some product.
  14. Oct 30, 2011 #13
    You are all missing the point of the article. If you aren't going to bother reading it, then don't post.

    Colleges and universities SHOULD be more about academics than athletics, but they're not. They've turned collegiate athletics into a HUGE, MASSIVE business, a business in which their workers far, far, exceed their value in terms of what they receive back in scholarships and have almost no rights, especially when it comes to things like catastrophic injury. People love all of the money that athletes bring in for their schools that allow them to hand out money to students for scholarships and build new facilities, but scoff at the idea that athletes should have minimal rights? Makes no sense at all.

    Read the article before posting please.
  15. Oct 30, 2011 #14


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    The amount of dependence on student fees varies a lot between the athletic powerhouses and small schools. Most of the major powers in sports (Texas, Ohio St, Nebraska, etc) are not only self-sufficient, but generate a profit that gets funneled into the universities' educational programs.

    But athletics at small schools are just an expense that has to be subsidized by student fees. At Towson St, 67% of funding for the athletic department comes from the student fees Jack was complaining about.

    In fact, it's all those small schools that absolutely have to have 'underpaid' athletes in order for athletics to survive at those schools at all. Cost for student aid at a small school like Towson is still $5.6 million, while cost for coaches is $3.3 million, while cost for student aid is around $8.4 million and $22.4 million for coaches at a powerhouse school like Texas with no revenue generated by student fees since the sports program already generates a $13 million dollar profit. (USA Today - College athletics finance database (only inlcudes colleges that make that info public))

    In fact, it's the lack of disparity (usually only two or three million or so) between small school athletic aid and large school athletic aid that promotes a lot of the under the table payments big school athletes receive, creating the NCAA scandals. Something has to give the best athletes a reason to pick the big schools.

    Overall, the average market value of a college football player is about $120,000 a year and the average market value of a college basketball player is about $265,000 a year. (http://www.ncpanow.org/releases_advisories?id=0015 [Broken])

    That doesn't represent a true picture as the athletes that go to smaller schools (such as Towson St) have a fair market value of about $0, since they're usually the leftover athletes the big schools don't want.

    Definitely, athletes at the big athletic schools are underpaid. But, at the same time, those athletic powers shouldn't be playing by the same rules the little schools play by. I expect those bigger schools to break away from the NCAA at some point, since the current football system costs the major conferences money. Big schools could generate more money with their own TV contracts and a playoff system than they currently generate through the bowl playoff system and the NCAA currently skims a pretty good portion of the receipts from the NCAA basketball tournament that schools wouldn't mind keeping for themselves. Once the NCAA is out of the picture, I expect at least some of the disparity between the athlete's 'pay' and the universities' profits to disappear at big schools, while the small schools deemphasize athletics once yet another source of revenue disappears (they currently reap a portion of revenues generated by the big schools).
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
  16. Oct 30, 2011 #15


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Understood your post and article.

    It is an issue with many players pulling in different directions, just because they are allowed to do it. they all want a piece of the pie.

    If no one was interested in for example college football, then the advertising dollars would dwindle and spinoffs would not be there for sports companies and the colleges. Some other entity could make up the shortfall in funding, such as a sports tax. If no extra funding is available, the one outcome would be that all colleges would become more equal in competition for athletes, and no one would care to the extent that the article does since all athletes are equal and none are attracting dollars for the colleges.
    Get rid of the excesss money and the made up problem of having special rights for special gifted athletes goes away completely.
  17. Oct 30, 2011 #16


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    The finance of college athletics have always been kind of strange.

    I remember when the U of Akron was still in the small college division. Their average paid attendance was always about 150% of the capacity of their stadium, yet you were virtually guaranteed to be able to pick up a general admission ticket the day of the game (for only $1 if you were a student).

    Under the rules at that time, a rival college couldn't televise games in your broadcasting area unless your game was sold out. Pitt had a good football program at that time and had a wide region of interested television viewers. They'd buy up all of Akron's available tickets to ensure a sellout so they could televise the game on Akron's local TV station (which meant viewers in Canton and, more importantly, Cleveland, with UHF antennas could watch the game on TV).

    Toss in the local supermarkets and other businesses that would buy blocks of tickets to hand out for free and Akron sold more tickets than they could possibly fit fans - yet the actual number of people showing up for games might have been around 10% to 20% of the small stadium's capacity. Local high school games used to fill the stadium to at least 60% to 75% of capacity - and might even sell out if both high schools were good (the city owned the stadium, so it was used by both the high schools and the local college).

    The school could make a profit on its football team as long as it didn't actually spend money on it. In their case, actually playing the games were an expense they wished they didn't have to incur. While they actually did play the games with helmets, shoulder pads, etc, they usually didn't win many games, as one might have guessed.

    At least until the last few years before making the jump to Division I - their last year in Division II, they played in the national title game. Their basketball program did generate a lot of revenue, but they needed a viable football program in order to get any of the Div I conferences to accept them.
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2011
  18. Nov 2, 2011 #17
    Agreed. Most "athletes" are really a disgrace to the academic tradition, they have no interest in ever learning anything to developing their mind, just partying, playing their dumb games, and bathing in the superficial glory of this sports-obsessed culture we live in.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook