In a big-time sports version of the “99% vs. 1%,” the University of California-Berkeley recently opened its plush Simpson Student-Athlete High Performance Center (SAHPC). The “One-Percenters” in this case are members of 13 varsity sports teams on campus. Not only is the general student body (36,142 total students) barred from using the new facility but 16 other varsity teams on campus have been basically locked-out of the $153 million project as well. (See “Cal’s Student-Athlete High Performance Center Should Show Us the Money,” by Brian Barsky).
The grand opening comes at a time when budgets are being slashed across the Berkeley campus. One report identified 63 chronic roof leaks and antiquated laboratory facilities on campus.
Cal’s administrators are telling the public that the SAHPC has been funded by private donations. However, according to an analytical report by Berkeley professor Brian Barsky, it was disclosed at a February 3, 2009 Cal-Berkeley Regents’ meeting that the construction cost had jumped from the original estimate of $111.9 million to $153 million, with $136 million funded by debt. This is in addition to $321 million in debt for a reconstruction of Cal’s football stadium, for a grand total of $457 million in athletic facilities debt. Factoring in the interest on these loans and it results in about a $1 billion commitment for upgrades to the facilities for varsity athletics.
According to Barsky, the Cal athletic department already falls short in covering its own annual expenditures. The athletic department was $88.4 million short from 2003-2011. So, to expect the athletic department to cover the debt payments for the new athletic facilities is pie-in-the-sky thinking. The University of California will ultimately be responsible. Reuter’s reported that a key rating driver for the bonds is the university’s “ability to increase tuition and fees.” This can’t be good news for students who’ve seen tuition fees quadruple over the last decade.
As of now, about 29% of the construction cost for the SAHPC was raised from donations. Given this overall financial situation, it’s particularly shocking that Cal’s head football coach will receive a quarter-million dollar bonus when the football team completes its move into the SAHPC, AND a second bonus of equal size when the team plays its first home game in the reconstructed stadium.
“Ultimately, this is a potent example of the misguided priorities that emphasize Intercollegiate Athletics rather than the core educational mission of UC Berkeley,” concluded Barsky.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
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Episode #13 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: A Conversation With Long-Time MLB Exec Dan Evans About What’s Right With Baseball and What Could Be Better – Evans is a former general manager for the Los Angeles Dodgers and is currently a consultant for Go the Distance Baseball, which owns the Field of Dreams movie site. We discuss his experience at the MLB game at Field of Dreams; his thoughts on the appeal of the Field of Dreams, and baseball in general.
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Episode #12 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: A Fun Chat With Dan Gutman, Author of the Baseball Card Adventure Series for Kids
Episode #11 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The Latest on Brain Trauma, Concussions and CTE with Dr. Chris Nowinski – Nowinski is CEO of the Concussion Legacy Foundation.
Episode #10 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: An Issues Discussion With Paul Dolan – Dolan is the Cleveland Indians Owner and CEO.
Episode #9 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Talking Sports Issues With Ralph Nader – Nader is a consumer advocate and was named one of the “100 Most Influential Americans of the 20th Century” by Time magazine. He is the founder of League of Fans.
Episode #8 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: How Can We Save College Sports From Overcommercialization and Professionalization? – The guest is Dr. David Ridpath, a sports business professor and past president of the Drake Group
Media"How We Can Save Sports" author Ken Reed appears on Fox & Friends to explain how there's "too much adult in youth sports."
Ken Reed appears on Mornings with Gail from KFKA Radio in Colorado to discuss bad parenting in youth athletics.
“Should College Athletes Be Paid?” Ken Reed on The Morning Show from Wisconsin Public Radio
Ken Reed appears on KGNU Community Radio in Colorado (at 02:30) to discuss equality in sports and Title IX.
Ken Reed appears on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour (at 38:35) to discuss his book The Sports Reformers: Working to Make the World of Sports a Better Place, and to talk about some current sports issues.
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.
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