Debates about bail outs, entities too big to fail, over spending and budget cuts are taking place in athletic departments as well as congress.
And despite how much the NCAA likes to promote its member schools as academic institutions, college sports is big business. The recent conference realignment carousel reinforces this as colleges athletics have started to mirror any other billion dollar industry.
In an opinion piece for College Sports Business News, Robert Malekoff an associate professor of sports studies at Guilford College, wrote about how athletic departments have been fiscally irresponsible. He pointed to the Maryland and Rutgers’ move to the Big Ten Conference.
“Not coincidentally, athletic departments at both schools have been bleeding money for years (funny how that happens when you spend what you don’t have) and were facing severe financial crises. But no matter, the Big Ten – making like Congress and happy to include the Washington DC and metropolitan New York markets into their growing and lucrative broadcasting empire – was there to offer, “please, we’ll bail you out.”
Melakoff continued, “apparently his administration never considered responsible spending or even pursuing a more fiscally realistic athletic model. And so what if Maryland and Rutgers athletes will be forced to give up traditional regional rivalries and miss class to travel to places like Iowa City and Minneapolis – there is revenue out there to be had.”
He likened the big conferences like the Big Ten Conference, are similar to the “one percent” and big time conference commissioners to the character Gordon Gekko in the movie Wall Street. His motto: “Greed is good.”