With spending on big-time college sports continuing to escalate and TV networks lining up to break the bank, a group of university presidents and campus leaders says it’s past time for that money to wind up in the classroom.
The Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics on Thursday released its latest call for a range of financial and academic reforms. Among its recommendations: NCAA schools should set aside at least 20 percent of the postseason money received from the football Bowl Championship Series for academic use.
The timing of the report, entitled “Restoring the Balance: Dollars, Values and the Future of College Sports,” couldn’t have been better.
Just this week, the Big 12 Conference staved off a Pac-10 raid that would have meant not only the league’s demise but the likely creation of at least one 16-team megaconference based on the ability to attract lucrative television deals rather than regional links and historic rivalries.
For now, the Pac-10 will grow by just two teams (Colorado and Utah), with the Big Ten luring Nebraska from a leaner Big 12.
“This report is particularly timely given the commercially driven agenda of conference realignment,” said William Kirwan, chancellor of the University System of Maryland and co-chairman of the Knight panel. “There is every reason to believe that the current direction of big-time college sports is leading us to even greater imbalances in the fiscal priority for athletics over academics.”