November 19th, 2012 at 1:08 PM ^

lol who "speculated" that? it wasn't negative at all. it wasn't even really about michigan. it was more about the fact that college football is a broken business model with only 20 cash-flow positive programs out of 100-something, and how they're all chasing elite status like the Michigans and Alabamas of the world.


November 19th, 2012 at 3:47 PM ^

It is money before everything else. Look at the Cal example they used. There's a school with limited football success that dumped $300 million into their stadium. Why? Because it wasn't up to par with the rest of the Pac-12 schools. 

Football success = higher profile = donors giving big bucks and increased enrolment.

But football success costs $$$$$$. You cannot compete for the top players if your facilities suck. So you get lots of schools spending big bucks hoping to stay relevant.

User -not THAT user

November 19th, 2012 at 4:11 PM ^

...and this is why Hawai'i sucks more years than not despite contuing to play all of their home games in Hawai'i.  It's why June Jones left after they went to the Sugar Bowl a few years back (and got killed); they weren't putting any of the money they got back into the program, although if their experience was anything like UConn's last trip to the Fiesa Bowl they probably lost a boatload of money in the bargain.


November 19th, 2012 at 1:14 PM ^

Cast UM in as positive of a light as it could given the subject matter (unbelievable pressure on student athletes to generate department-saving revenue for AD offices, which in turn generate broader donations for universities).


November 19th, 2012 at 1:17 PM ^

Thought it was a balanced report.  Interesting that alumni giving peaks during football season (did DB say about 70%??)

Also, try explaining Title IX to foreigners.  Explain how athletic departments (particularly football teams) generate revenue, and these athletes see nothing.  it's a really odd system where the denard robinson's (or dare I say Marcus Lattimores, Fitz Toussaints) pay for other sports.  Most people on this board think it's okay, because they get an "education", but I always challenge that notion, insofar as, how able are these student athletes to take advantage of this education they receive?  To me, this problem transcends college athletics, and really is indicative of a much larger problem in the education system.

/end Rant.


November 19th, 2012 at 1:37 PM ^

I think really the majority would agree that a certain subset of players (mostly the football stars) are under compensated, assuming we go by marginal value to the athletic department.

The disagreement shows up because the large majority of student athletes are overcompensated (certainly the softball team and even the Brandin Hawthorne types who play a little but don't really have vast potential value as a pro). So in large part the people exploiting the student athletes are in fact other student athletes, and I think there's a legitimate concern about tossing the baby with the bath water if you try to pay the Lattimores their true value.

Of course all that really only applies to the athletic departments. Those guys at EA making a ton of cash and giving nothing to the students and next to nothing to the schools are a bunch of dicks.


November 19th, 2012 at 1:48 PM ^

Say what you will about the Hawthornes, but he's still putting his body in significant harm's way.  With concussions, spine injuries etc.  

I really struggle, because if you pay players, there are many reasons it would get messy, and jeopardize parity in college football.  On the other hand, in soccer, baseball, hockey, and other sports around the world... you have the option to go pro without having to go through college athletics.  Why should football and I suppose basketball players be forced to essentially "work for free" (if you agree the majority of these players that are professional calibur are typically unable to compete in the classrooms.)  Why shouldn't they have an alternative vehicle through which to prepare for the big time?


November 19th, 2012 at 5:07 PM ^

No minor league team can compete with UM or OSU in terms of fan support.  It also must be noted that the vast majority of players get more out of the university than the university gets out of them. Most players are either mediocre-to-poor starters, backups, or benchwarmers.If not for subsides from the university and sponsorships there is no way a school like Eastern or Western could field a team. There isn't enough interest.

Most schools are not profiting at all from these kids.  UM, OSU, Bama, and the rest of power conference teams certainly are, but not at the lower rungs.


I went to a school in that lower rung of FBS. Exploitation is not what is going on. Not when your program struggles to draw 10,000 a game, is almost never on television, and  never goes to a bowl. Frankly, I'am trying hard to find a reason for why my Alma Mater(EMU) fields a team. About the only ones who benefit are the student-athletes.

French West Indian

November 19th, 2012 at 1:18 PM ^

...are often not good business.  Hell, even a lot of professional teams struggle to make money. 

I'm slightly baffled as to why anybody should expect college sports to make money.  I'd think the real goal for most schools would just be to avoid losing large sums.  That's not to say they can't make money, but it's not their only objective.


November 19th, 2012 at 1:23 PM ^

I think what differentiates college sports from other sports, such as professional teams/leagues, is that college sports are attached to schools, many of them public. If a public university's athletic department is operating in the red, there is some amount of tax payer burden to keep that department going. There is also the issue of what colleges and universities exist for, which many people would argue is strickly education, and that this level of attention to athletics simply diverts attention and funding away from the real reason the institution exists.

Compare that to professional organizations, which are private entities that look to make money. There are a lot of emotions wrapped up in professional sports teams, but they are also organizations that look to make money and do not have the additional burden of being a large school.


November 19th, 2012 at 1:35 PM ^

Sports is just a line item. Cry me a river on programs in the "red".

Universities are making money hand-over-fist:…

Some points:

U.S. colleges have built investment behemoths and rainy day funds of more than $408 billion

In 2011, 74 U.S. schools had endowments of more than $1 billion

Nearly 40% of the largest endowments are at public schools

"Colleges and universities are sitting on more wealth than has been amassed by any other group of non-profit institutions in the history of our nation — including private foundations,"



November 19th, 2012 at 2:12 PM ^

My comment about public institutions with money-losing athletic departments was more about the principle of spending money on sports. I think a lot of people would say that any dime taken away from the academic side to keep the athletic department afloat is money misspent for an academic institution.

Personally, I don't think universities are rolling in the money quite the way you're claiming*, but I also think universities like to play up how much their struggling for the purposes of fund raising and gaining leeway to make cuts where and how they want. But like I said, my original point was that, on principle, people will argue that money should not be directed away from academics at a public academic institution.

*A lot of the endowment figures you tossed out, to me, aren't terribly meaningful without some context. What's the return on a $1 billion endowment? Plus, 74 is only in the neighborhood of 2/3 of FBS schools, so another 51 FBS schools are below that figure. Also, by your own numbers, public schools make up less than half the "large endowment" schools by a considerable margin, but what portion of college students are at public institutions? Those numbers all seem big, but I suspect that when put into the proper context, they don't seem so monstrous.


November 19th, 2012 at 1:47 PM ^

Hate how CBS doesn't allow their videos to be streamed on an iPad. Want to send this video to the dad, but his only "computer" is an iPad and the CBS site re-directs you to their $5 app and this link doesn't display the video at all. 

Guess I'll wait til it hits youtube.