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SBD/June 29, 2012/Colleges
Pressure Of Financial Losses Force More Colleges To Consider Cutting Sports
Published June 29, 2012
MOUNTING PRESSURE: College sports reform advocacy group The Knight Commission reported that spending on sports is “rising at nearly twice the rate of spending on academics.” Coaching salaries and construction costs are “up dramatically.” Meanwhile, state appropriations for higher education “are declining, which heightens pressure on athletic departments to sell out venues and boost fundraising.” In this environment, a “downturn in ticket sales, coupled with a heavy debt burden, can be catastrophic.” At Maryland, those factors “converged in a perfect storm in recent years.” The school’s athletic department deficit, now $4.7M, "is projected to reach $17.6 million by 2017 if not addressed.” Coalition on Intercollegiate Athletics co-Chair John Nichols said, “The people who could and should be responsible for fixing what almost certainly is going to be a train wreck are either unwilling or unable to do it. Unless you assume that television money is a bottomless pit -- and there are no limits to the amount of money that television networks will invest -- there is going to be a day of reckoning” (WASHINGTON POST, 6/29).