Righting a wrong

I mistakenly deleted a perfectly reasonable comment on the last post I wanted to publish, so I'll rehash the point so it gets seen.
The person wanted to bring up that athletics programs, especially smaller ones, shouldn't "waste money" on sports.
She had perfectly reasonable studies, but I'd point out that many studies have shown that schools that have big years in sports often see their applications sky rocket, allowing them to be more selective and get better students, actually increasing their profile.
And, right or wrong, whenever a place like CCSU (it could be any school for that matter) is mentioned in the paper, it gets the school's name out there. Schools that don't have sports teams don't get mentioned as much, making it harder to promote their academic programs to anyone except students who were already interested in them.
I'm not saying any of this is good or bad, and I'm pretty sure this isn't the right place for the discussion, but I didn't want the person who left the comment to think I was censoring it. I hit the wrong button through instinct since I thought it was the spam I often get until I got to reading it.
Feel free to leave it again if you'd like.


  1. Only a handful of NCAA Division 1 (D1) athletic programs at public institutions run in the black. Almost all of them rely on University funds that come directly from a combination of student tuition and state tax dollars. According to the USA Today NCAA athletic finance database, in 2008 UConn spent over $5.6 million to compensate its athletic program which cost $58 million to run a year (or 10% of its budget) and CCSU spent a whopping $8.5 million for a $11.2 million dollar program (or 76% of its athletic budget). When 76% of the costs to run a program are subsidized by diverting funds that can be used to teach all the students, then I ask: Who is responsible for this decision, who is watching this, and how many diverted education dollars is too much? The rise in the expense of athletics over academics was recently reported by the Knight Foundation in “Restoring the Balance”- a report that has gone unnoticed. I love sports as much as the next guy; but it is time to scrutinize the amount of money paid by colleges on non-academic activities.

  2. (Part 2)

    The Flutie Effect you mention is a myth... or at best a marginal effect. The NCAA itself has studied the effect and stated that there are too many factors.. To quote the a press release at http://fs.ncaa.org/Docs/NCAANewsArchive/2006/Association-wide/the%2Bflutie%2Beffect%2B-%2B7-31-06%2Bncaa%2Bnews.html:

    "The Flutie effect emerged recently in a study the NCAA commissioned to examine spending trends in intercollegiate athletics. Jonathan Orszag, the senior managing director of the consultant group Competition Policy Associates, was among researchers who studied whether investing heavily into athletics translated into economic growth for the institution. The study, conducted over an eight-year period, found — on average — little, if any, correlation. It was an important finding that positioned data to refute the common myth of an athletics "arms race" — that spending more surely meant more wins on the field and more profits off the field. The study, even when it was updated to include data on capital expenditures, found that for the majority of Division I schools, a dollar spent doesn’t produce much more than a dollar earned."

  3. This is exactly what CCSU is doing.... You can go to the University's web site and try to mine our own Flutie Effect data to no avail. Why? Because these effects have more than just sports success as a factor. BC is in Boston. CCSU is in New Britain. BC is a Ph.D. granting research school. CCSU grants Ed.Ds. Many more effects than our two trips to the NCAA tourney.... which were exciting... esp the one against Iowa State... are not, IMO, over 8 million a year.

    Finally, as the Knight Report and NCAA press release warn.... colleges are in an arms race- spending more on more on athletic programs rather than academics. Even the NCAA knows this is bad news for their long term survival. The question simple becomes.... when you need to take 8 mill to run an 11 mil program when is it too much?

  4. I don't have the numbers in front of me, but I can tell you that there have been many studies and stats to show that schools get a big popularity boost from athletics.
    As I said, it might be a poor reflection on our society, but a school is going to get on TV a LOT more often if it has a good basketball team than a good teacher. Remember, you have to get the students to want to come to your school to teach them, and if you don't play sports, your name isn't out there.
    I personally know someone who went to UConn so he could get cheaper basketball tickets.
    Is that the main reason people go to a school? No. But there are plenty of times where someone sees a school and it causes him/her to check it out.
    I first heard about Northeastern through the Beanpot. It's not why I went there, but if the Beanpot wasn't on TV I never would have looked at the school.
    There are a LOT more people like that than you might think.

  5. You also have to consider the players as advertisers. Was there a better spokesman for Central's engineering school than Joe Seymore?
    There are things the NCAA should do. Academic restrictions should be tighter, and they should be ENFORCED. Kids shouldn't have to play so many games. But do I think athletics are a HUGE part of what gets a school's name out there? Yes. And you know what? People a lot smarter than me have told me that.

  6. To that end, while I wanted to repost your comment because it was fair (even if I don't agree) and wasn't insulting in anyway and I didn't want to seem like I was censoring you, I do have to say that I feel this isn't the right place for this discussion. I suggest you e-mail Paul Schlickmann, whose e-mail is on CCSU's site, or Dr. Miller, who feels very strongly that athletics are important to a college for a number of reasons, and can probably easily point you to the studies I was referring to but don't have access to.
    It's a good debate, but I'm not the guy to have it with. You want to know whether or not Central needs a center, however, and I'm your guy.