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Archive for Friday, January 26, 1990

T FAVOR PAYING ATHLETES

January 26, 1990

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Kansas University athletic director Bob Frederick told a group of faculty and staff members he "philosophically" favored freshmen ineligiblity, revealing student-athlete graduation rates, granting tenure for head coaches, and not paying college athletes.

However, he said attaining some of those objectives isn't practical at this time.

Frederick made the remarks during a forum sponsored by the executive vice chancellor's office Friday in the Kansas Union.

Frederick said he did not favor paying student-athletes who play high-profile sports such as football and basketball because the money those athletes bring in helps pay for comparatively low-revenue sports.

"People say that all this money is generated by these football and basketball players, therefore they (players) should get it back. But what they forget about is that these football and basketball players, who are bringing in revenue to the institution, are providing the opportunities for the swimmers, and the golfers and tennis players . . .," he said.

HOWEVER, he said financial aid for student-athletes should be increased.

When asked about revealing graduation rates in college sports programs, Frederick said, "I philosophically favor that."

However, he said revealing graduation rates based on the "consumer's right to know," could backfire.

"The perspective student-athlete has a right to know what kind a situation he or she might be getting into with a particular university. The thing that worries me here at the University of Kansas . . .where there is a fairly high attrition rate, is that our graduation rate is about 46, 47, 48 percent.

"And what has happened at other institutions such as at Michigan (University) is that they have created a special program for student-athletes . . .which has been taken over by the athletic department."

FREDERICK said universities could claim to have much higher graduation rates with the creation of such "separate departments," which could result if graduation rates were revealed by a mandate.

On another topic, he said granting tenure for coaches would be a "great" idea. "I wish there were a way for both sides to feel more secure."

However, Frederick said he was concerned about current salaries of university coaches, which in some cases are more than $500,000 per year.

Concerning freshman eligiblity, Frederick said, "Philosophically, I'm in favor of freshman ineligibility for football and basketball. From a business standpoint . . . I'm opposed to it."

Frederick also said he was opposed to a college football playoff system, but feared big-dollar television contracts eventually would create college football playoffs.

"Since the one-billion dollar contract was signed with CBS for the NCAA (basketball) tournament, I think that probably will force a football playoff because I think the TVs are going to come to the table and say `Hey look, here's a billion dollars if you guys play a playoff.' And, unfortuantely, once again TV and money will dictate it, and we'll end up with a playoff."

Standardized regulations for practice times, he said, are needed to help avoid the "abuse" of student-athletes occuring at some institutions.

"I think that we are going to see some drastic changes in the next three to five years in intercollegiate athletics, all of which are going to be extremely positive."

Frederick said KU has been able to attract head coaches "who will run their programs honestly," and that other universities will follow in KU's footsteps. "I think everybody else is going to head in the direction that we're headed right now."

FREDERICK said, 92 percent of university athletic departments are operating at a deficit.

"There's one quote I wanted to read to you from an Ivy League trustee in the early 1900s talking about the football team. It said `If we could turn out a first-class football team, we'd have no trouble getting all the students we could admit and in getting the friendship of men with money. But as long as we dub around with a fourth-rate team, nobody is going to pay any attention to us.'

"Some things never change," Frederick quipped.

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