The NCAA’s power schools in the power conferences are getting just what they wanted when they formed the BCS: separation from the smaller Division I schools who are desperately trying to keep pace. Ironically, most BCS schools are themselves unable to keep pace with a small group of big-time college sports powers.
Take the University of Texas, for example. Texas’ athletic program is one of only 22 Division I programs across the country that generates enough revenues to cover expenses. According to a USA Today report, no college athletics program has out-earned or outspent Texas.
While a small group of big-time college sports institutions can keep pace in the college sports arms race, the vast majority of Division I schools can’t, especially during these tough economic times when university budgets are being slashed and professors are being laid off.
“At Texas it may be sustainable,” according to former University of Arizona president Peter Likins. “But think about the schools that are desperately struggling to stay in the game and are dramatically increasing the university’s subsidy of intercollegiate athletics and aren’t succeeding in improving their financial position.”
Apart from athletics, the University of Texas is also struggling financially — just like most colleges and universities across the country. Texas cut 200 jobs in fiscal 2011, and 400 more are set to go in 2012, including 95 teaching positions, meaning larger class sizes and fewer course offerings for students. Meanwhile, Texas’ athletes enjoy more and more amenities in the athletics department.
By almost any measure, big-time college athletics programs are out of control. NCAA leaders can’t slow down the arms race, and neither can school presidents. As such, it’s time for the government to step in. Likins sees that day on the horizon.
“Somebody’s going to decide, either out of anger or just out of good government, that this is an unrelated business enterprise and has to be treated as such in terms of tax policies and that kind of thing,” Likins predicts.
That day can’t come soon enough.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
Episode #28 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: A Chat With Mano Watsa, a Leading Basketball and Life Educator – Watsa is President of PGC Basketball, the largest education basketball camp in the world, with over 150 camps in 30+ U.S. states and Canada. We discuss problems in youth sports today, including single sport specialization, the growing gap between the “haves” and “have-nots,” the high drop-out rate in competitive sports, and the growing mental health challenges young athletes are dealing with today.
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Episode #27 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Kids’ Sports: How We Can Take Back the Game and Restore Quality Family Time In the Process – Linda Flanagan is author of “Take Back the Game: How Money and Mania Are Ruining Kids’ Sports and Why It Matters.” We discuss how commercialized and professionalized youth sports are hurting kids and their families.
Episode #26 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: How Can We Fix Youth Sports? – John O’Sullivan is Founder and CEO of Changing the Game Project and author of “Changing the Game: The Parents Guide to Raising Happy, High Performing Athletes and Giving Youth Sports Back to Our Kids.”
Episode #25 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Physical Education Should Be a Critical Component of K-12 School Design – Michael Horn is co-founder of the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation.
Episode #24 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Mental Health and Athletes: Ending the Stigma – Nathan Braaten and Taylor Ricci are the founders of Dam Worth It, a non-profit created to end the stigma around mental health at colleges and universities through sport, storytelling, and community creation.
Episode #23 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Olympian Benita Fitzgerald Mosley Talks Title IX, Youth Sports and the Olympics.
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.
- League of Fans Sports Policy Director Ken Reed quoted in Washington Post column titled "What happened to P.E.? It’s losing ground in our push for academic improvement," by Jay Mathews
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.
Vanderbilt Sport & Society - On The Ball with Andrew Maraniss with guest Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director for League of Fans and author of How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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Ken Reed’s Author Page on Amazon