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Archive for Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Team values

Putting a dollar value on the nation’s college basketball teams draws attention to the unseemly amount of money being dedicated to athletics at U.S. universities.

March 25, 2009

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Especially when the Kansas Jayhawks still are advancing through the NCAA basketball tournament, it’s hard to measure how much the team is worth to its fans and to Kansas University.

Last year’s national championship and this year’s surprisingly competitive team create many good feelings for the university. Those good feelings are said to translate into additional financial support for the KU athletics department and the university as a whole, but some recently released figures make university athletics spending look a little out of whack.

The value of a college basketball team may be hard to quantify, but Forbes magazine has given it a shot. According to an analysis released last week, the business publication ranks KU’s men’s basketball team as the fifth most valuable college team in the nation. In making its ranking, Forbes considered how much the basketball programs contribute to their universities, their athletic departments, their conferences and their local communities.

Unfortunately, the magazine didn’t break down all of those factors so they could be compared from school to school. The KU program was valued at $21.7 million and had operating income of $12.9 million. Licensing royalties for Final Four products alone totaled $2 million last year.

That contributed to $2.55 million in royalty revenue in 2007-08, Associate Athletics Director Jim Marchiony told the Journal-World last August. Of that amount, he said, about $700,000 would go to non-athletic scholarships at the university. By comparison, the University of North Carolina, which topped the Forbes ranking with a basketball team worth an estimated $25.9 million, dedicated $3.7 million in licensing royalties to non-athletic scholarships, according to the Forbes report.

Those contributions are nice, but they raise some questions about the relationship between athletic and academic funding. If the KU basketball team is worth $21.7 million, how much is the KU engineering school worth? How about the business school or nursing school? KU athletic teams obviously attract many financial contributions that help support non-revenue sports, but it’s not clear exactly how much those contributions add to the academic excellence of the university or the well-being of the state. At some point, it seems that the money being spent on athletics could actually detract from a university’s academic mission.

There’s no question that the Jayhawk basketball team brings considerable positive attention to KU and Kansas, but putting a dollar value on it and other college basketball teams across the country draws attention to what a big-money game college athletics has become. It’s a game in which KU has proven to be quite competitive in recent years, but the size of the investment it and other U.S. colleges are making in athletic programs could make some observers wonder just what those schools see as their primary mission.

Comments

jaywalker 5 years, 9 months ago

"At some point, it seems that the money being spent on athletics could actually detract from a university’s academic mission."

How? Athletics is entertainment and diversion, something we all need. Athletics instills pride into a university and the surrounding community. They bring money into the community and attract increased numbers of tuition paying students who also contibute to the ecomonics of the surrounding community. Boosters contribute millions to other aspects of the university due to the success of a team.
So I ask again, how does any of that detract from the academic mission?

63BC 5 years, 9 months ago

Another whine about how much attention is paid to the 'cool kids' who are good at sports. Get over it.

People choose to pay the money [tickets, merchandise, concessions] and watch the TV that generates this revenue.

Successful athletic programs are money-makers, not detractors.

In addition to the profit and loss statements, they generate huge amounts of publicity and provide opportunities for community building through shared experiences.

People don't pay as much attention to the Honor Roll as they do to the NCAA Tournament. That's human nature. Get over it. The program is good for KU.

cthulhu_4_president 5 years, 9 months ago

"KU athletic teams obviously attract many financial contributions that help support non-revenue sports, but it’s not clear exactly how much those contributions add to the academic excellence of the university or the well-being of the state."

KU Athletic teams (and the contributions that keep them going) also attract quality young people to Larence who get a chance to attend a university in a state or country where they might not have even considered, or had the resources, to attend. Their success furthers the academic excellence of the University (atheletes have continuously posted a lower drop-out rate than the general student body for years), and all the money they spend and resources they use generate income for the state in the form of taxes. Hence, money enters this state that would have likely gone to another state where the athlete used to live.

Is it clear yet?

nobody1793 5 years, 9 months ago

"... how much is the KU engineering school worth? How about the business school or nursing school?"

Or the Kansan, Lawrence's finest newspaper?

Jersey_Girl 5 years, 9 months ago

Maybe Dolph needs to take some classes at the business school to find out its worth since he's trying to compare the amount of money the university makes from money spent by people in support of the basketball team with schools, that to my knowledge, only get money from supporters who are alumni making donations to the university. Maybe he should check those figures and can get back to us when he's done.

jaywalker 5 years, 9 months ago

I've got no by-line on my site; ya'll certain Dolph wrote this?

geekin_topekan 5 years, 8 months ago

I see no by line either. I don't believe this to be Dolph's work.This piece actually sites sources,rather than presenting them as original brilliance.It also asks some relevent questions about current and LOCAL happenings,instead of rehashing the past week's Neocon talk show rhetoric. None of these can be found in Dolph's work.

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