Big changes to Power 5: NCAA sports could see accelerated wealth gap – August 30, 2014 5:00AM ET by Ray Glier

ATLANTA, Georgia — The middle and lower-tier schools of college athletics — Fresno State, Brigham Young and Memphis, among others — are supposed to be bum-rushed out of big-time football and basketball any month now.

Screen Shot 2014-08-31 at Aug 31, 2014 2.42

They are not among the 65 schools in the Power 5 conferences that will now make their own rules on student-athlete welfare, and allocation of funds, as per a vote by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Board of Directors on August 7.

The thinking is the bigger conferences — Pac-12, Southeastern, Big Ten, ACC and Big 12 — could use their vast television money from regional sports networks and the new College Football Playoff to expand coaching staffs, throw money at recruits with stipends, pay for disability insurance for athletes, and on and on. Smaller revenue schools like Boise State in the Mountain West, UConn in the American Athletic, and other colleges in Conference-USA, Sun Belt and Mid-American would fall further and further behind.

Under this scenario, the big schools could offer full cost of attendance to athletes, a sum between $2,000 and $5,000 that meets expenses outside the athletic scholarship. The smaller schools, with budgets less than 50 percent the $100 million at big schools, would find their finances stressed.

There was even an ESPN survey of the several dozen football coaches in the major conferences in which almost half of respondents said they did not want to play football against schools outside the 65. That would deny significant revenue to the other schools. Ominous news of the Power 65 “breaking away” hovers over the start of the 2014 college football season, with a doomsday split scenario beckoning for the smaller programs.

Conflicting opinions

But a funny thing may happen on the way to the feared demise of those Cinderella schools. Not all of the 65 relatively high-resource schools want to go along with the plan pushed by their brethren from Alabama, Florida, Ohio State, and other behemoths with deep pockets. Schools like Wake Forest, Indiana, Syracuse and Pitt may not want to start pumping vast sums into athletics.

“I have talked to athletic directors across the country and they have the same concerns we have,” said Mark Coyle, the athletic director at Boise State, whose football team was in Atlanta on Thursday night to play Mississippi State in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game. “There are just a handful of [big] schools who want to make some of these changes. Not everybody does.”

There will be 80 voting members (which includes 15 current players) for the Power 5, but there could be voting blocs organized to keep the high-wealth schools from controlling the room. One of the other things the big schools might do is expand the four-team playoff to eight teams at the behest of television moguls, and further erode the mission of the colleges. Yet they cannot do that without support in the room.

Think about the vote strategy. Indiana, in the Big Ten, has an athletic budget of approximately $76 million. Ohio State’s is approximately $140 million. Are the Hoosiers going to allow the Buckeyes, a conference rival, to use superior funds to get further ahead? Suppose a vote comes to the floor about expanding coaching staffs to 12, or allowing additional recruiting staff. Will Minnesota and Illinois side with Ohio State? Doubtful.

Here is one more thing to consider about the demise of schools like Boise State. The Broncos’ wide receiver Matt Miller is a senior from Helena, Montana. He was offered scholarships by Stanford, Arizona State, Arkansas, and Oregon State. Those schools are in conferences with plenty of television money. With a federal judge ruling that schools can give athletes at least $5,000 for every year of eligibility (to be paid when they leave school) and also money to meet full cost of attendance (which could be $2,000 to $5,000 a year), Miller could pocket an extra $40,000 by going to an SEC or Pac-12 school. Boise might not be able to match that.

“I’d still go to Boise,” Miller said. “I can go and work as much as I can, as a ranch hand, to get money. The atmosphere around our program and school makes a lot of difference. Going to another school just for the money would not be for me.”

The atmosphere around our program and school makes a lot of difference. Going to another school just for the money would not be for me.

What Makes Ohio State the Most Unequal Public University in America? – Jon Wiener on May 19, 2014 – 5:41 PM ET

Ohio State

The Ohio State University library (Courtesy of Bob Hall, CC 3.0) 

“Congratulations, Class of 2014, you’re totally screwed”—that was the graduation message offered this season by Thomas Frank, Salon columnist and author of Pi

“Congratulations, Class of 2014, you’re totally screwed”—that was the graduation message offered this season by Thomas Frank, Salon columnist and author of Pity the Billionaire. The average student-loan borrower graduating in 2014 is $33,000 in debt, according to The Wall Street Journal—the highest amount ever. And a new study of public universities shows that student debt is worst at schools with the highest-paid presidents.

The “most unequal” public university in America, according to the report, is Ohio State. Between 2010 and 2012 it paid its president, Gordon Gee, a total of almost $6 million, while raising tuition and fees so much that student debt grew 23 percent faster than the national average.

The only people on campus worse off than students with loans are the part-time faculty members—and they too were worst off at schools with the highest paid presidents. OSU, while paying its president $5.9 million, focused its faculty hiring on low wage part-timers, hiring 498 contingent and part-time but only forty-five permanent faculty members.

At the same time that the regular faculty has been shrinking, the number of administrators has been growing. During the period when OSU hired forty-five permanent faculty members, it hired 670 new administrators. A similar pattern is found throughout American universities.

Article continues:


What’s your favorite College Football rivalry…which is the best?

Ohio State-Michigan May Be Sports’ Best Rivalry But Alabama-Auburn Means More Saturday

Two of college football’s biggest rivalry games – Ohio State-Michigan and Alabama-Auburn – are on tap for Saturday but only one has national championship implications for both schools as No. 1 Alabama travels to No. 4 Auburn. Meanwhile, Michigan will try to play spoiler in ending No. 3 Ohio State’s title hopes in Ann Arbor.

Michigan and Ohio State have met 109 times with the Wolverines holding a 58-45 advantage with six ties. Paul M. Banks, author and founder of web site, thinks Ohio State-Michigan is not only the best rivalry in college football but in all of sports.

He ranks Duke-North Carolina basketball, Green Bay-Chicago, the Red Sox-Yankees and the Cubs-Cardinals as his other Top 5 sports rivalries. “There are a lot of elements in a great rivalry,” Banks said. “First, it has to have balance. It can’t be lopsided. Then there has to be a regional component – a border war or in-state rivalry. Finally there has to be an emotional component that a team can define its season by beating the other team.”

One rivalry Banks didn’t mention is Army-Navy, a traditional game that has been played 82 years in a row. Navy holds a 57-49-7 edge with the game having been played in Philadelphia 84 times. They’ll play for the 114th time on Dec. 14.

Like Ohio State-Michigan used to be to the Big 10 Conference, the Duke-North Carolina basketball matchup pitting two teams located nine miles apart on what is known as Tobacco Road generally decides the champion of the powerful Atlantic Coast Conference. UNC leads the series 132-104.

The Packers-Bears rivalry is the longest in the NFL with Chicago leading 93-88-6. Amazingly, they are less than 100 points apart in points scored with the Bears at 3,195 and the Packers with 3,109. Meanwhile, the Cubs and Cardinals are only 36 games apart in wins after more than 2,000 games played with Chicago holding a 1,110-1,074 advantage.

As far as Alabama-Auburn, known as “The Iron Bowl”, the Crimson Tide lead the series 38-33-1 dating back to 1893. Between them, they have captured the last four BCS championships with Alabama winning three, including the past two.

Banks thinks colleges produce stronger rivalries than the pros. “The rivalries in the pros are really related more to who you have to beat in your conference in that particular year like the Pacers-Heat,” he said. “But college has tradition especially when teams stay in their conferences. It’s a game that’s always going to matter to alumni and boosters.”

It won’t just be people in Alabama who will be watching the Tigers and Tide battle on Saturday.

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