LETTER TO THE DN EDITOR: Where will it end?

The Daily News

The changing of coaches for the BSU basketball team causes me to wonder, when will the crazy expenditures on intercollegiate athletics end? It seems to be a given that the new coach will have to be awarded a contract in the $250-300,000 range. Of course this person will require that his assistants receive at least 25% more than the recently fired guys received. Further it is assumed that the new person will insist on a recruiting budget of at least $100,000 more than the current budget. Further, these escalations will cause the women’s BB coach/assistants to receive more as well. You can bet that the football coach and assistants will be watching the contracts. These numbers are lunacy at a place that barely gets 1,100 bodies into the seats including less than 150 students for men’s bb games and far far less for women’s games. Recently, it has been noted that BSU has lost nearly 78 million dollars in state funding since 2009.  

Another startling statistic [from the Delta cost project] is that Mid-American conference schools in 2010 spent four times more [$52,537] on each athlete than spent on its’ other students. Where does all of this fit into the educational mission of BSU and other “mid-major” schools which have miniscule ticket revenues and must rely on student fee money to fund these sports? If one was starting a university and all programs/expenditures had to be justified, what would the argument be for spending millions of dollars on 400 athletes? At some point the mid-major schools will have to step back and justify all this. At a time when schools are struggling to maintain their teachers and other staff as well as maintaining the physical plant, how can we pay head coaches nearly $300,000? [Payoffs to the fired football coach, two basketball coaches and the woman’s tennis coach plus legal fees are likely pushing over 2 million dollars]. It is a pleasant fantasy to envision what these millions spent on athletics could do to bolster teaching and academic programs. The payback would be great...

- Richard Harris


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