Blog Entry

NCAA looking to cut football scholarships

Posted on: January 13, 2012 3:51 pm
Edited on: January 13, 2012 5:17 pm
Posted by Bryan Fischer

INDIANAPOLIS -- As part of sweeping changes stemming from a Presidential retreat in August, an NCAA working group will recommend to the organization's Board of Directors that FBS-level football scholarships be cut from 85 to 80 starting in 2014.

The proposal was among the most controversal to be discussed at a Division I session Friday morning at the annual NCAA convention, with several school leaders quite outspoken about the issue.

"What you see with these proposals is an effort to restrain spending at the expense of student-athletes," Harvey Perlman, chancellor of Nebraska, said. "The working group says if you reduce scholarships and other expenses you can reallocate it to other things for student-athletes. But the problem is, I don't know of an athletic department that won't spend every penny it has.

"I just think this is bad publicity and I think it's bad policy."

Georgia president Dr. Michael Adams chaired the group responsible and was put in the precarious position of leading the charge of several unpopular measures.

"Of all the things I've done the last 30 years at the NCAA, this is the most unpopular. I have the scars to show for it," Adams said. "There's a notion that we are a runaway train in Division I with less regard for student-athletes than the people who are making the exorbitant salaries. We need to put a stake down somewhere."

A good portion of the administrators speaking at a Q&A session about the new proposals - at large schools and small - sided with Perlman and cited issues with taking away opportunities not only to play football but earn a degree.

"It's pretty hard to see it any other way," said Perlman. "There's public concern about universities generating all these resources and not giving it to student-athletes. So the response is we're going to cut scholarships and other kinds of things? It doesn't make sense to me."

Adams is an interesting choice to lead the charge to cut spending at schools across the country. The Bulldogs have one of the healthiest athletics departments in the country and the football team was the second-most profitable in the country behind Texas last year. He understands that while others disagree with some of the details, there is a reason why the working group has been tasked to do what it has been working on.

"I think we've been running headlong into a cliff and now is a time to start pushing things back a little," he said. "I'm first of all an academic. I'm a big sports fan but I want the academic process to drive things and not the athletic process."

Coaches have been outspoken about the cuts as well. It was discussed at the AFCA Coaches Convention prior to the NCAA meetings and it's opposed in greater numbers among their ranks than those that headed to Indianapolis.

"The divide between presidents and AD's on one side and coaches is a pretty wide gulf," Adams said. "I don't want to fight with anybody. But on some of these issues I think there needs to be reasonable compromise to protect the academic process and, secondly, deal with the economic realities of the world we're now living in. My faculty hasn't had a raise in three years and a lot of them think what they see in athletics has a lot of excess in it."

The scholarship proposal also calls for a cut in the number of FCS scholarships by three - from 63 to 60 - and will be sent to the Board of Directors on Saturday to be voted on.


Since: Jan 16, 2010
Posted on: January 14, 2012 5:38 pm

NCAA looking to cut football scholarships

I for one would like to see a complete audit of these public universities as to where all of the money has gone. Tuition has gone up faster than any good or service we purchase in this country. Buildings and facilities have been bought and paid for by alumni, the business community, and perhaps some state subsudies yet out of state tuition is on average over $40,000 per year. 

If you have 20 kids in a class which is really small paying on average 25,000 per pupil which is really low you have $500,000 in fees. If you pay the professor 100K per year where does the other $400k go? The only thing I hear from these schools is that they need more and more yet are sitting on endowments in the hundreds of millions.

The Pac 10 TV contract pays each program roughly 20 million per season plus the conference will split nearly 50 million from the bowl season. In addition this does not include the revenue generated at the gate, merchandise sales, food and beverages. If these University Presidents cant make it work charging $275 for the 85th edition of a Latin Textbook maybe they are the ones that need an education more than your student off the street.

If this is about leveling the playing field then you should allow kids to transfer from a BCS program to a non BCS school without having to sit out a season like they can do with an FCS program.

Since: Dec 29, 2006
Posted on: January 14, 2012 3:07 pm

NCAA looking to cut football scholarships

The real way to save money is to limit the amount a head coach can earn in benefits and salaries from the university. He can earn all he wants from other venues.  Limit the number of coaches on a staff. Every prospective player offered a scholarship, if that scholarship is withdrawn, must be given an academic scholarship in its place if the student wants it. That would allow him or her to at least get their freshman year paid for, while they make new plans to attend somewhere else if they want to change schools in the future. That will either be ok with the school, or the coach will have to change his ways. Perhaps student athletes could then get $50 a week per diem for the length of the school year (or say 9 months). Schools like Ohio St. cannot give players memorabilia until after they leave the school. A school could set up a fund that boosters can pay into if they wish, but boosters paying individual athletes is verboten.

Since: Oct 20, 2011
Posted on: January 14, 2012 2:45 pm

NCAA looking to cut football scholarships

This has politics written all over it under the cover of expense reduction. The do gooders with the noble idea of title 9, with no concept of how to pay for it, the redistribution of wealth crowd, you know the type. Take a look at all sports at every institution and act surprised at what you see, when you debit and credit each sport at each school. Taking scholarships from young people in any sport is not the answer. Adams says this one was hard to contemplate; the right answer is much harder to deal with. We can't pay it forward anymore. The insitutions have to take fiscal responsibilities in their own hands; if you can't afford it, you should't have it. The NCAA needs to govern, but, stay out of the accounting and budgeting side of the business. It's a dangerous crossroads where education and athletics intersect. College football subsidizes so many things already and I for one don't correlate the NCAA and Robin Hood.

Since: Jun 5, 2011
Posted on: January 14, 2012 2:28 pm

Why not just end sham-ateurism?

All the NCAA has to do is allow its "student-athletes" to take money from outside sources like any other student.  Some say it would make the "rich get richer," but I have breaking news: the rich already ARE richer.  
They could forget about the stipend and just allow the free market to compensate the athletes whose labor puts all of that money in the athletic deparment coffers.  If come car dealer wants to give athletes free cars and publicize it to make sales, great.  If some rich booster wants to be able to brag to his friends about how stud lineman Billy Bob Peterbilt is on his payroll, more power to him.  
If the NCAA wants to save money, all they have to do is get rid of 95 percent of their rulebook.  This would allow them to get rid of most of their selective "enforcement" staff,  and it wouldn't open the possibility of an employer/employee relationship between the schools and their players.  The only downside is that they would have to stop pretending that the players are actually amateurs and that it isn't about the money.  

To me, that isn't a downside at all. 

Since: Mar 18, 2009
Posted on: January 14, 2012 1:38 pm

NCAA looking to cut football scholarships

Until the NCAA and its college presidents address and FIX the real disparity, the one about how certain programs get down to the 85, 80 or any limit each August, reducing that limit won't really matter from an ethical and moral standpoint.  The pressing question that never seems to be addressed is how a team/program/organization/business reduces their "active scholarship" roster down to that number. 

All the usual suspects who are known to sign to scholarships by double digits more players than they supposedly have room for, somehow ALWAYS dramatically exceed any reasonable average attrition numbers compared to the rest of the NCAA majority.  Why is that?  Do they know going in that 10 or 12 existing players will be injured or flunk out or ask for a transfer?  How do they know that?  Likely because they CONTROL that.  Only as an example, everyone's oversigning whipping boy, Nick Saban (gleefully supported by his employers), will not make his roster management details available to the media nor to fans.  Per Saban, the media have "no business knowing" and even his own fans have "no need to know."  None of his assistant coaches or staff members are even allowed to talk to the media.  Transparancy is not your friend, Alabama.  Deacon Blue's day is coming.

Since: Mar 18, 2009
Posted on: January 14, 2012 1:23 pm

NCAA looking to cut football scholarships

So using that same logic, we should also prefer that there be only the largest and most profitable restaurant chains and/or retail chains to choose from?  Lets' say we pare down the options to McDonald's and Wal Mart for all our eating and shopping needs.  They have the most customers and the most profit, so they must be doing it correctly, right?  Power dose not make right.

Since: Sep 6, 2008
Posted on: January 14, 2012 1:14 pm

NCAA looking to cut football scholarships

Great idea.  Lets make the playing field more level for teams like Idaho and New Mexico State, where football is so huge.  And lets make it harder for traditional powers that consistetly sell out 85,000 seat stadiums to win games and make money for the NCAA.

Thats completely fair.  While we're at it, lets take it down to 60 or so and make those games like Alabama vs Alcorn State alot more interesing to watch...

Who is the jagoff who thinks this is a good idea????   

Since: Jan 16, 2010
Posted on: January 14, 2012 12:07 pm

NCAA looking to cut football scholarships

Im sure kids that are given academic scholarships do better than those students given money because they play a sport. I played golf in college and money was handed out based on need not talent. My son is a baseball player colleges carry 35 players on the roster yet have only 12 scholarships at their disposal. The money is cut up based on both talent and need.

As a member of the golf team it was not uncommon to be on the road a month at a time playing tournaments not to mention what we were required to do as far as practices went. These teams play year round and make no mistake the team owns you so it leaves little time to complete your work and no time for a job to earn some beer money.

 My daughter had many offers as a softball pitcher however took her academic scholarship over the athletic one because she knew there was not a professional league and she wanted to enjory her college experience rather than have the team dictate her routine over four years. Sports teams do have academic advisors but in general those not playing sports have a tremendous time advantage to focus on academics.

Since: Jan 1, 2007
Posted on: January 14, 2012 11:47 am

NCAA mulls cutting FB scholarships from 85 to 89

As per the headline. Interesting...

Since: Jan 9, 2008
Posted on: January 14, 2012 11:07 am

NCAA looking to cut football scholarships

Can't argue with your points with one minor exception.  Half the freshman class are not on scholarships.  A real apples to apples comparison would be how many students awarded academic scholarship complete their degree and how does that compare to 69%.  Either way, your points are well taken.

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