SBD/July 22, 2013/Colleges

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  • Orange Crush: Tennessee AD Hart Says Athletics Programs On Verge Of Major Rebound

    UT officials are confident the athletic department will break even this year

    Univ. of Tennessee AD Dave Hart "believes his department is back on the right track, even though the Volunteers’ recent results show there’s plenty of work left to do," according to Steve Megargee of the AP. UT "placed 37th in the 2012-13 Directors Cup standings, its lowest finish in the 20-year history of the award given annually to the nation’s top overall college athletics program." UT also posted a $3.98M "budget deficit in the 2011-12 fiscal year." But Hart "believes recent moves such as the hiring of football coach Butch Jones will help turn things around." One of Hart’s "first jobs was to consolidate the men’s and women’s athletic departments." Since that process "started, two gender discrimination lawsuits have been filed against the university -- one by former Lady Vols media director Debby Jennings and another by three current or former Lady Vols trainers and strength coaches." Hart believes UT has "better days ahead now that it’s gotten through all that transition." He said, “We have a lot of positive energy right now." Hart also said that the school has "taken steps to correct the athletics department’s financial problems." UT officials at a BOT meeting last month said that they were "confident the athletics department would break even in the current fiscal year." Hart: “I feel good about where we’re going. That’s not on my future concern list.” Meanwhile, Megargee noted progress on other fronts has been "overshadowed by the Vols’ football struggles." But Tennessee in April unveiled the $45M Anderson Training Center, and Hart said, “The NFL scouts who come through here tell me this is as fine a facility as they’ve seen at their level.” Hart also hopes to "add outdoor practice fields at the site of the recently closed Stokely Athletics Center." Other future projects include a "new residence hall and a television studio to accommodate the SEC Network" (AP, 7/20).

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  • Arizona State President Says For-Profit Grand Canyon Should Not Be Competing In NCAA D1

    Arizona State Univ. President Michael Crow on Friday said that he "welcomes new competition in the Valley from Grand Canyon University but added that he doesn’t believe in competing in athletics against a for-profit university," according to Richard Obert of the ARIZONA REPUBLIC. GCU President & CEO Brian Mueller on Thursday said that he "believes Crow is leading an effort by Pac-12 CEOs to try to block the school’s move into NCAA Division I athletics." Crow responded, "It’s about what we want the NCAA to be. ... It’s contrary to what we’re trying to do." GCU "will be the first for-profit university in Division I." Crow said that he has "instructed his athletic-department personnel not to schedule games in any sport against Grand Canyon." Crow said that he "feels a for-profit school doesn’t line up with the NCAA principles on academics and doesn’t enhance the value of student-athletes." Crow: "We want to play local schools, but not local schools that are doing it to make money for their shareholders" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 7/20). In Phoenix, Bob Young wrote, "Trouble is, the argument is fraught with hypocrisy. Eventually, ASU and virtually all public and private universities are headed toward the same model." The future of higher education "is a hybrid, in which some students live and study on campus and others get their education through the same institution on-line." All of this "could set up a clash of Valley titans between" Crow and USA Basketball Chair Jerry Colangelo, who is "serving as a consultant" to Mueller. It was Colangelo who "helped smooth the way for GCU’s entry to Division I, thanks to his strong relationship with NCAA President Mark Emmert." Colangelo said, "It seems a little short-sighted, especially when so many schools in the community are developing other sources of revenue to supplement state aid" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 7/20).

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