Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel "Arms Race"

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ctfjr

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I'm sure this is not going to be a popular topic here, or on any college fan board but. . . For those of us who get HBO the recent episode of Real Sports ran a piece on college sports costs. Here is a link to the trailer:
Ep. 229 Trailer: Arms Race

The trailer does not do justice to the whole piece. Even as an active college sports fan or because of it, I found the piece deeply disturbing and thought provoking.

In the past I have seen investigating reports of how colleges spend whatever they have to to make their sports departments a loser, allowing them to request more $$$ in their operating budgets. In almost every state the highest paid state employee is a college coach. Gumbel's piece goes one step further, one giant step.

The report questions why. Why do colleges spend absurdly high amounts of money in their athletic departments? Is that the mission of the university? When the university was founded was that their vision?
What happened to the goal of providing the best possible college education at the lowest possible cost to the student?

The way it is now the general student population directly or more insidiously supports the athletic departments in almost all universities. A tax if you will.

One has only to look within the borders of Connecticut to see costs of big time athletics. Forget the costs of building a Gampel. What about the costs of maintaining it through its lifetime - as we plainly see in another current thread on the subject.

[Mod edit: politics]

Somewhere we got off the track. Our priorities are misplaced. The education of our children has to be Job 1. Leaving them with suffocating debt when they graduate is one hell of a legacy.
 
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BigBird

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Not much new in this bit from Gumbel. And nothing we haven't heard before in your response.

I won't defend the current state of athletics budgets, but please note that at many colleges, the sports programs are financed by their media rights, and their "earned" gate revenue, in combination with private grants and gifts.

In other words, if the (nearby) University of Illinois eliminated their sports programs, the traditional academic activities would not see a dime of budget increase. Sports here are not taxpayer funded.
 

ctfjr

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Not much new in this bit from Gumbel. And nothing we haven't heard before in your response.

I won't defend the current state of athletics budgets, but please note that at many colleges, the sports programs are financed by their media rights, and their "earned" gate revenue, in combination with private grants and gifts.

In other words, if the (nearby) University of Illinois eliminated their sports programs, the traditional academic activities would not see a dime of budget increase. Sports here are not taxpayer funded.

Other than 24 universities, every other one loses $$$ in their athletic departments
 
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Other than 24 universities, every other one loses $$$ in their athletic departments
So, they lose money meaning that the University has to spend some money from the general budget? All those athletic experiences, the fans involvement, and the advertising for the University has some meaningful benefit--doesn't it? There are revenues from multiple sources that pay the freight for much of that.
What about the academic activities? Or art/music/political activities? Who pays for them? What revenue is generated?
Aren't athletes experiences equal to political experiences on a college campus? Should all activities be terminated because of a budget crunch? Or only sports? Who decides? From the beginning of time (Greek Philosophy), I believe it was always --mind and body!
 
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This seems counter-intuitive and may no longer be true, but a study around 20 years ago found that even winning football teams do not increase alumni/ae contributions.
 
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Aren't athletes experiences equal to political experiences on a college campus? Should all activities be terminated because of a budget crunch? Or only sports? Who decides? From the beginning of time (Greek Philosophy), I believe it was always --mind and body!
Let's grant mens sana in corpore sano, the issue is whether varsity athletes are entitled to access to greater resources. The closest we could come would be to compare the total athletic budget to the total non-athletic activities budget (travel for the debating team, etc). In D-1 schools, I think we can guess who commands the (considerably) greater budget. Frankly, we all know deep in our hearts that getting rid of D-1 football would be a boon in every way, but no one (except most famously the U. of Chicago; Hofstra most recently) has the courage to do it.

And point of fact, those participating in competitive varsity athletics are not necessarily healthier (in corpore sano) than those who do a moderate amount of exercise. A healthy body doesn't require 1-2 hrs of weights in the morning followed by 2 hrs of practice in the afternoon. According to Aristotle: meden agan: nothing above the mean.
 

Jim

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Based on that argument, there would be no clubs, no intramurals, and no events since none of those are money makers. Just academics.

If the goal of college is solely academics, then fine, focus on cost. If the goal is prepare graduates to succeed in life, you have to let the students live a little, have some fun along with their studies. And sports teaches many things not found in the classroom.
 

KnightBridgeAZ

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Based on that argument, there would be no clubs, no intramurals, and no events since none of those are money makers. Just academics.

If the goal of college is solely academics, then fine, focus on cost. If the goal is prepare graduates to succeed in life, you have to let the students live a little, have some fun along with their studies. And sports teaches many things not found in the classroom.
Not to be a nudge, but this is just disingenuous, in my opinion.

One can have clubs, intramurals and (gasp) even intercollegiate athletics (in theory) without incurring the expenses of the arms race.

And in line with that, to the degree that you want students to have fun - if you are referring to intercollegiate athletes, that's a small percentage (and a percentage of them wouldn't be there if there wasn't the arms race).

I'm a big fan of intercollegiate athletics, although I do find the cost concerning. I don't have a solution, and lets face it, I contribute to it by my season tickets in four sports and my respectable donation to the athletic department at U of A.
 

UConnNick

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The major problem with big time college athletics is the obscene amounts of money being poured into it by the TV networks. Money has corrupted the entire system.

College athletics are ideally an extra curricular activity, like the Drama Club or band. The problem is only intercollegiate athletics attract the TV money. That puts their importance way out of whack with the primary purpose of colleges: to educate the students and prepare them for various careers.

Unfortunately for everyone involved, you can't turn back the clock to a bygone era when money wasn't part of the equation. The university presidents have to grab as much of the cash as they can. To achieve that goal, they are essentially in competition with every other school for a finite sum. It's a self-perpetuating money grab, and, as a microcosm of real life, the rich tend to get richer at the expense of the poor.
 

UcMiami

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So, they lose money meaning that the University has to spend some money from the general budget? All those athletic experiences, the fans involvement, and the advertising for the University has some meaningful benefit--doesn't it? There are revenues from multiple sources that pay the freight for much of that.
What about the academic activities? Or art/music/political activities? Who pays for them? What revenue is generated?
Aren't athletes experiences equal to political experiences on a college campus? Should all activities be terminated because of a budget crunch? Or only sports? Who decides? From the beginning of time (Greek Philosophy), I believe it was always --mind and body!
What about the academic activities?!! That was the core reason for the universities to be founded and remains their core reason for existence.
Art, Music - if you mean concerts and exhibits and such, they are self funding, but they are also seen as adjuncts to their core academic studies in those same subjects. As are the student intramural athletics and facilities as adjuncts to physical education departments (though students now typically pay an additional separate fee to cover some of those costs.)
Not sure what you are terming 'political activities' - the administration certainly spends money on 'lobbying' of their local and state and perhaps federal governments for support, etc. but I don't think that is what you are referring to. Whatever you are referring to I suspect is self funding by student organizations.

There is no clear calculation for how much of the moneys coming into the university's general fund or to any of its academic departments are generated directly or indirectly by sports teams - most of the large donations that are received specifically because of sports teams are directed specifically to the team or the athletic department or to a specific sports building. There is no doubt that good sports teams generate 'good will' and that has some monetary value but the exact monetary number is unknowable.

What is knowable is that the vast majority of D1 schools lose significant money on their sports teams and infrastructure - MD and Rutgers were close to melt-down with the extravagant and mismanaged spending. And much of that shortfall for public universities is passed on to their state tax payers and the rest to their students.

I like the mind body reference - but the body part should really not be portrayed by big time college sports programs but by the intramural and physical education departments.
 
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What about the academic activities?!! That was the core reason for the universities to be founded and remains their core reason for existence.
Art, Music - if you mean concerts and exhibits and such, they are self funding, but they are also seen as adjuncts to their core academic studies in those same subjects. As are the student intramural athletics and facilities as adjuncts to physical education departments (though students now typically pay an additional separate fee to cover some of those costs.)
Not sure what you are terming 'political activities' - the administration certainly spends money on 'lobbying' of their local and state and perhaps federal governments for support, etc. but I don't think that is what you are referring to. Whatever you are referring to I suspect is self funding by student organizations.

There is no clear calculation for how much of the moneys coming into the university's general fund or to any of its academic departments are generated directly or indirectly by sports teams - most of the large donations that are received specifically because of sports teams are directed specifically to the team or the athletic department or to a specific sports building. There is no doubt that good sports teams generate 'good will' and that has some monetary value but the exact monetary number is unknowable.

What is knowable is that the vast majority of D1 schools lose significant money on their sports teams and infrastructure - MD and Rutgers were close to melt-down with the extravagant and mismanaged spending. And much of that shortfall for public universities is passed on to their state tax payers and the rest to their students.

I like the mind body reference - but the body part should really not be portrayed by big time college sports programs but by the intramural and physical education departments.
UC & Bags - If you go back and read my original post I have numerous questions. Even the few declarative statements finished with a question. The purpose of my post was not to specifically choose a side. I wanted to bring up issues that were not clear or were controversial.
I don't know what the answer is. I asked questions to see how others see the issue and to listen to their solutions or reasoning.
IMO - Asking a question means I need more info and I am not locked into a certain side or mindset. Also, questions kind of pokes the bear to see what will happen.
 

BigBird

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BigBird according to this: USA TODAY Sports your University of Illinois is one of the losers.
I never said that the U of I operates sports at a surplus. They are losers (in sports) in more ways than one. The chart you sited does nothing to refute my point that tax dollars are not used directly to fund sports. There are multiple other ways that a program can fund the shortfall. Of course, some sports expenses can be, and probably are shifted to the general campus budget. My guess is that every school does this to some extent. Is an academic advisor for (mostly) athletic programs an expense to be charged off to sports or academics? What if the advisor has a faculty position? See what I mean?

But there are folks out there who think that a coaching contract buyout (and Illinois has had quite a few) comes out of the taxpayers' wallet. It doesn't.

Don't mistake my post as support for the weird world of collegiate sports economics. I find it as appalling as many others do.
 
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I'm sure this is not going to be a popular topic here, or on any college fan board but. . . For those of us who get HBO the recent episode of Real Sports ran a piece on college sports costs. Here is a link to the trailer:
Ep. 229 Trailer: Arms Race

The trailer does not do justice to the whole piece. Even as an active college sports fan or because of it, I found the piece deeply disturbing and thought provoking.

In the past I have seen investigating reports of how colleges spend whatever they have to to make their sports departments a loser, allowing them to request more $$$ in their operating budgets. In almost every state the highest paid state employee is a college coach. Gumbel's piece goes one step further, one giant step.

The report questions why. Why do colleges spend absurdly high amounts of money in their athletic departments? Is that the mission of the university? When the university was founded was that their vision?
What happened to the goal of providing the best possible college education at the lowest possible cost to the student?

The way it is now the general student population directly or more insidiously supports the athletic departments in almost all universities. A tax if you will.

One has only to look within the borders of Connecticut to see costs of big time athletics. Forget the costs of building a Gampel. What about the costs of maintaining it through its lifetime - as we plainly see in another current thread on the subject.

Somewhere we got off the track. Our priorities are misplaced. The education of our children has to be Job 1. Leaving them with suffocating debt when they graduate is one hell of a legacy.
Giant Bumble as he is know around the circuit has had a life time of missed targets. This one is an old miss.
 
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Let's grant mens sana in corpore sano, the issue is whether varsity athletes are entitled to access to greater resources. The closest we could come would be to compare the total athletic budget to the total non-athletic activities budget (travel for the debating team, etc). In D-1 schools, I think we can guess who commands the (considerably) greater budget. Frankly, we all know deep in our hearts that getting rid of D-1 football would be a boon in every way, but no one (except most famously the U. of Chicago; Hofstra most recently) has the courage to do it.

And point of fact, those participating in competitive varsity athletics are not necessarily healthier (in corpore sano) than those who do a moderate amount of exercise. A healthy body doesn't require 1-2 hrs of weights in the morning followed by 2 hrs of practice in the afternoon. According to Aristotle: meden agan: nothing above the mean.
With fooball gone, look at the brain damage that could be saved and the trillions of dollars saved on medical treatment and dementia housing and not to mention the stress and horrors families find out much too late--and it all begins and end with Pop Warner foot ball. Those unknown facts related to head bumping/bashing are now partially known--this to me is bigger than any budget spending--I leave that to the senate budget office and investigative reporter (who actually investigate and don't reprint)
 
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I'm sure this is not going to be a popular topic here, or on any college fan board but. . . For those of us who get HBO the recent episode of Real Sports ran a piece on college sports costs. Here is a link to the trailer:
Ep. 229 Trailer: Arms Race

The trailer does not do justice to the whole piece. Even as an active college sports fan or because of it, I found the piece deeply disturbing and thought provoking.

In the past I have seen investigating reports of how colleges spend whatever they have to to make their sports departments a loser, allowing them to request more $$$ in their operating budgets. In almost every state the highest paid state employee is a college coach. Gumbel's piece goes one step further, one giant step.

The report questions why. Why do colleges spend absurdly high amounts of money in their athletic departments? Is that the mission of the university? When the university was founded was that their vision?
What happened to the goal of providing the best possible college education at the lowest possible cost to the student?

The way it is now the general student population directly or more insidiously supports the athletic departments in almost all universities. A tax if you will.

One has only to look within the borders of Connecticut to see costs of big time athletics. Forget the costs of building a Gampel. What about the costs of maintaining it through its lifetime - as we plainly see in another current thread on the subject. I thought it was funny that Trump said he could build the 'wall' for 4 billion when the government estimated it would be 10. Eventually he revised his number a few times and ended up at 10 also. But that isn't where it stops. One of the news networks hired engineers to estimate the cost of what he was proposing AND what it would cost to maintain after. Their numbers 23 billion to build and OVER 25 billion to maintain per year. It suddenly is less funny when you consider the amount of money being thrown at building facilities and then having to maintain them.

Somewhere we got off the track. Our priorities are misplaced. The education of our children has to be Job 1. Leaving them with suffocating debt when they graduate is one hell of a legacy.
\
A trend that is starting, to get off of the hell for fire college trend is to send kids to technical colleges--they can get actual jobs that will allow them to pay off loans---and they can breath from the day they enter post high school. Too many kids are in college who really don't belong there and are racking up sack time and pops dollars to no good end. Tech colleges tend to be closer to home with much less cost.

We have way too many lawyers already, no enough doctors or real engineers but those are demanding and long time endeavors--
 
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UC & Bags - If you go back and read my original post I have numerous questions. Even the few declarative statements finished with a question. The purpose of my post was not to specifically choose a side. I wanted to bring up issues that were not clear or were controversial. I don't know what the answer is. I asked questions to see how others see the issue and to listen to their solutions or reasoning.IMO - Asking a question means I need more info and I am not locked into a certain side or mindset. Also, questions kind of pokes the bear to see what will happen.
Thanks, PhillyCoach. I think we agree that it's a difficult situation. The first great American historian was Frederick Jackson Turner (the famous Frontier Thesis), and he complained to the Regents of the University of Wisconsin, where he then taught, about the overwhelming influence of college football...in the 1890s!!!

Let's be truthful: there is often a vast social schism at most colleges between the general student body and those students who play football, hockey (and yes, women's hockey, too), and sometimes lacrosse; in other words: the contact sports. I find this schism deplorable. Everyone is part of the community and should be welcome and included. Part of the schism has to do with a perception that contact sports create a different culture of social behavior among those students; whether this is true or not, it is a perception. Another part of that schism is the fact that these sports, especially football, absorb a disproportionate amount of the (now dwindling) university resources.

No easy solutions here, I know. I'm a big believer that a college should take pride in its symphony orchestra, but also in its sports teams.....
 
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UC & Bags - If you go back and read my original post I have numerous questions. Even the few declarative statements finished with a question. The purpose of my post was not to specifically choose a side. I wanted to bring up issues that were not clear or were controversial.
I don't know what the answer is. I asked questions to see how others see the issue and to listen to their solutions or reasoning.
IMO - Asking a question means I need more info and I am not locked into a certain side or mindset. Also, questions kind of pokes the bear to see what will happen.
This above is one reason I read everything you write. Intelligent, provocative and interesting but mostly on topic. Giant Bumble (Gumble) is not noted for his professionalism--he'd rather be a showman so when he shows or writes I try to avoid them. Colleges spend money, state college spend some tax dollars--we don't know where it all goes--now I have just presented Bumbles program/writings--DAAAA, who'd a thunk it" as a guy from Fla said. Your--I DON"T KNOW THE ANSWER. Is probably the most intelligent thing written on this thread/ You would have made a great professor when I went to school--questions were then to make you think and question--not to inject their opinions.
 
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With fooball gone, look at the brain damage that could be saved and the trillions of dollars saved on medical treatment and dementia housing and not to mention the stress and horrors families find out much too late--and it all begins and end with Pop Warner foot ball. Those unknown facts related to head bumping/bashing are now partially known--this to me is bigger than any budget spending--I leave that to the senate budget office and investigative reporter (who actually investigate and don't reprint)
I wish I could like this a million times.

Having said that, there's at least one study on high school athletes that reported the traumatic brain injury rate at 3.66 per 100 player-seasons in boys' football, 1.58 for boys' wrestling, 1.14 for girls' soccer and 1.04 for girl's basketball.

(Other sports show lower rates for both sexes. Interestingly, boys' basketball's rate was 0.75 percent -- not sure why there would be such a difference between it and gorls' bb.

The study estimates that there are nearly 63,000 cases of MTBI annually among high school varsity athletes. Because football is so poular, it accounts for about 63 percent of cases overall, the study said.
 
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(Other sports show lower rates for both sexes. Interestingly, boys' basketball's rate was 0.75 percent -- not sure why there would be such a difference between it and gorls' bb..
Maybe because there is a greater difference between highest and lowest stature of male players, and so the heads of the tallest men are out of the reach of the swinging elbows of the smaller players?
 

CL82

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This seems counter-intuitive and may no longer be true, but a study around 20 years ago found that even winning football teams do not increase alumni/ae contributions.
Never read it, but the success of the men's and woman's basketball programs, led to a renaissance of investment to the university, beginning with UConn 2000.
 

BigBird

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Never read it, but the success of the men's and woman's basketball programs, led to a renaissance of investment to the university, beginning with UConn 2000.
Yes. I'd think that it is likely to be situational. Such cause-effect relationships need to be analysed within the context in which they occur. Some schools experience an outpouring of alumni goodwill (and coin). Others, perhaps already successful at other and multiple levels would not have so much to gain, as their graduates are already loyal and committed.
 
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Never read it, but the success of the men's and woman's basketball programs, led to a renaissance of investment to the university, beginning with UConn 2000.
Not being argumentative here, because I really don't know. But let me query the assessment of "renaissance": what exactly does that mean? How much and how sustained? Did it tend to be one-time gift (principle needs to be spent out) or endowment (only interest is spent)? How much of that went strictly to athletics and not to the general funds? how much of those private donations allowed the state to reduce its share? how much went into new building for which there wasn't also put aside money for maintenance (such as Gampel's roof currently)? Funding a relatively large public university is like funding a medium size city, with all the complexity and competing needs. Like increased revenue to cities (usually, taxes) money may come into a university, but it doesn't always go where intended nor even in the end really move the needle. Development offices (now called Advancement) love to trumpet their success with big, big numbers. But the complexity of an institution like UConn usually means that these figures are highly exaggerated in relationship to direct and lasting impact.
 

UcMiami

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I wish I could like this a million times.

Having said that, there's at least one study on high school athletes that reported the traumatic brain injury rate at 3.66 per 100 player-seasons in boys' football, 1.58 for boys' wrestling, 1.14 for girls' soccer and 1.04 for girl's basketball.

(Other sports show lower rates for both sexes. Interestingly, boys' basketball's rate was 0.75 percent -- not sure why there would be such a difference between it and gorls' bb.

The study estimates that there are nearly 63,000 cases of MTBI annually among high school varsity athletes. Because football is so poular, it accounts for about 63 percent of cases overall, the study said.
The scary part of the numbers you quote is the average kids are playing from say age 12 onward and one suspects the numbers would track about the same in junior high/middle school. so multiply those rates per 100 player seasons by 6 to get an individual child's chances - for football the number is 22/100 - or slightly more than 1 in 5 - so look at the offensive line and defensive line in any particular contest and 2 of those 9 players are likely to suffer TBI.
For soccer the rate at least drops down to a little under one per team of 11

I think the difference between boys and girls in similar 'non-contact' sports is mostly to do with greater muscle mass from shoulders through neck, reducing the amount of whiplash action of the head, and thus reducing the the amount and frequency of accelerations/decelerations of the brain mass within the skull for the boys.
 

UcMiami

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Not being argumentative here, because I really don't know. But let me query the assessment of "renaissance": what exactly does that mean? How much and how sustained? Did it tend to be one-time gift (principle needs to be spent out) or endowment (only interest is spent)? How much of that went strictly to athletics and not to the general funds? how much of those private donations allowed the state to reduce its share? how much went into new building for which there wasn't also put aside money for maintenance (such as Gampel's roof currently)? Funding a relatively large public university is like funding a medium size city, with all the complexity and competing needs. Like increased revenue to cities (usually, taxes) money may come into a university, but it doesn't always go where intended nor even in the end really move the needle. Development offices (now called Advancement) love to trumpet their success with big, big numbers. But the complexity of an institution like UConn usually means that these figures are highly exaggerated in relationship to direct and lasting impact.
No idea about the outside contributions and how they have been distributed, but a large portion of the 'renaissance' was in fact CT State funding and most of it went into academic buildings and student facilities - the athletic infrastructure investments were mostly funded by specific gifts and gift drives for those structures. And the State funding was not just politicians making a choice, but that they understood being seen as pro Uconn and investing in the school was popular with the voters that elected them.
 
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