Take, for instance, the new college football playoff system that will begin in 2014. You might have thought that the big issue is that only four schools will get to participate — so there is still going to be a lot of dissension over who gets in and who doesn’t.
But no, that wasn’t it at all. The college sports executives were perfectly sanguine about the likelihood of controversy; it would help drive ratings. The real issue is how to divvy up the $470 million that ESPN has agreed to pay annually for the right to televise the playoffs. “The smaller schools all want a bigger piece of the pie,” said Wood Selig, the athletic director at Old Dominion University. Good luck with that, Wood.
Universities switching conferences — so-called conference realignment — was a constant topic of conversation. With conference realignment, there isn’t even a pretense that it is about anything but the money. Just a few weeks ago, the University of Maryland and Rutgers joined the Big Ten, which now has 14 schools. Though neither school is what you would call a football power, they give the Big Ten, which has its own cable network, entrĂ©e into the New York and Washington media markets. So what if it means increased travel demands on the athletes?
Meanwhile, Maryland has its own issues: Its athletic department is broke. Having failed miserably at ramping up its football program, it had to abolish seven sports and was facing a large deficit. It was in such a hurry to move to the Big Ten — and get hold of its bigger pot of television money — that it didn’t even tell the other schools in its old conference, the A.C.C., that it was bolting. When someone asked how Maryland could afford the A.C.C.’s $50 million exit fee, the answer came back: the exit fee was probably unenforceable. Who knew conferences had exit fees?
Like businessmen everywhere, the college sports executives bemoaned the high cost of doing business these days. Multimillion-dollar salaries for coaches had gotten out of hand, it was generally conceded. Even worse were the buyouts being paid to fired coaches. Auburn had recently fired its football staff — and faced the prospect of paying out $11 million in contractually obligated buyouts to its former coaches. And the University of Tennessee had paid $5 million to get rid of its football coach, Derek Dooley, after three losing seasons.
Indeed, Tennessee had already paid out a $6 million buyout to another former football coach, Phillip Fulmer — as well as to a former baseball coach and an ex-basketball coach. The buyouts at Tennessee for coaches totaled at least $9 million. When the athletic director, Mike Hamilton, finally resigned in June 2011 — with the athletic department on track to lose $4 million that fiscal year — he got, naturally, a big buyout. You will perhaps not be surprised to learn that the athletic department has been forced to suspend an annual $6 million payment it made to support the academic side of the university. This at a school where the state has cut its funding by 21 percent since 2008."
Summing Up

As I said in the earlier post, there is something very troubling about all this.

Aren't colleges supposed to be about education?

And why should students faced with increasing tuition costs get hit with increased "fees" to support their athletic departments?

If we want to privatize big time college sports and let it become self financing, assuming it can do so, that's fine with me. But let's stop the charade about the big time schools and their big time teams. Start paying the student-athletes a competitive salary, too. Why should the coaching staff  get all the big money?

And if we don't want to privatize college sports and keep them part of the genuine college experience, let's stop pretending that all Division I programs are the same. Because they're not, never have been and never will be.

It's time to acknowledge reality and go from there in both men's and women's programs, and revenue and non-revenue sports alike, including athletic facilities and coaches' pay.

For taxpayers, it's all about the money, and We the People already have more than enough people with their hands out now.

Thanks. Bob.