To the editor:
As a former student-athlete at KU, I’ve noticed little discussion of the impact the “super conference” transformation will have on non-revenue sports.
To remain competitive in their conference, they need to compete against those schools during the regular season. How will they travel across time zones with limited budgets, missed classes and part-time jobs? Most non-revenue athletes are not on full scholarship. There were very few times we traveled by plane. This means a more limited number of athletes can travel. Basketball and football fly on private jets; non-revenue sports fly commercial or take long bus trips.
Will each sport affiliate with a different conference, such as women’s rowing joining Conference USA? This will destroy any unity within the school. Resentment occurred when I was competing. It’s understandable that revenue sports are more popular, generate money and fund non-revenue sports. We knew it, but that didn’t mean resentment didn’t exist! The rift still occurred; separating teams to different conferences will make it worse.
I can’t write off these mergers as being bad yet. Portions of the increased revenue could improve funding for non-revenue sports. However, after also being a graduate student in the sports administration program, instructed by the late Bob Frederick, and former KU athletic administrator Bernie Kish, it’s saddening they put forth the time and passion to teach the best and most ethical practices of improving the quality of all student-athletes, when most days will consist of TV contracts, revenue sources, and making sure all tickets are accounted for.