Maryland state lawmakers have "proposed a bill that would upend the college athletics model across the state and give athletes the right to unionize and collectively bargain over issues related to health and safety, as well as compensation," according to Rick Maese of the WASHINGTON POST. Delegate Brooke Lierman proposed the measure last week and said that recent events on college campuses, including the death of former Maryland football player Jordan McNair, have "highlighted a growing need for an independent advocate who can work on behalf of athletes." She also cited the "hundreds of young Michigan State athletes who suffered sexual abuse at the hands of Larry Nassar." The bill "would cover all of the universities in Maryland that field athletic teams and highlights four primary areas that would be open to collective bargaining: scholarship terms, insurance benefits, use of an athlete’s image or likeness and the establishment of an independent advocate to work on behalf of athletes." The bill "probably will face a long, steep climb in the Maryland legislature." Maryland is also in the process of "implementing a variety of health and safety measures in the wake of McNair’s death" (WASHINGTON POST, 2/9).
Univ. of Indiana athletics reported revenues of almost $123M in FY '18, an "all-time high in one-year revenue" for the school and "more than double" the $61M-plus the department reported in '09 when AD Fred Glass took over, according to Zach Osterman of the INDIANAPOLIS STAR. IU’s athletic department reported $122,933,136 in revenues and $116,277,652 in expenses last year. Both are "record highs, and substantial increases" on IU’s '17 totals. The $6,655,484 net profit is IU’s "largest in terms of hard dollars" since the NCAA began distributing the financial reports more than 10 years ago. Ballooning TV contracts, conference-specific networks and other factors have "exploded revenues across the college landscape in the last decade-plus." Last year, IU reported nearly $41M in media rights, almost $5M in NCAA distributions and a further $12.62M in conference distributions. Glass’ department "coupled that" with almost $10M in royalties and licensing revenues. Contributions, which have increased every year since '12 and last year "clocked in at almost double what they were 10 years ago, were reported" at nearly $25.5M. The new college landscape has "allowed Indiana to couple aforementioned revenue streams to those contributions, and either renovate or replace nearly every athletics facility on IU’s campus." Assembly Hall and Memorial Stadium have both "undergone significant renovation." IU athletics "finished its fiscal year in the black" for the 13th straight year (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 2/9).
The Univ. of Hawaii is asking state lawmakers to renew the $2.7M appropriation the school has gotten since '17 as a "recurring annual feature of the budget," which would raise the "amount of annual support athletics receives from the combination of state and school coffers" to approximately $17.2M, according to Ferd Lewis of the HONOLULU STAR-ADVERTISER. UH is also asking that the legislature "begin picking up the tab" on approximately $1.5M in "fringe benefit costs for 30 current athletic department staffers." UH athletics received $15.68M in "direct external support" for the fiscal year that ended June 30. UH athletics closed the last fiscal year with a deficit of approximately $1.9M, its "seventh consecutive deficit finish and ninth in the past 10 years." The continuing deficits have "forced athletics to 'borrow'" from the rest of the school's budget so that "bills are paid." UH President David Lassner has charged the athletic department with "eliminating the net loss and becoming fully self-supporting" by '20. UH said that the percentage of all external funding it receives is "less than the majority of its competitors" (HONOLULU STAR-ADVERTISER, 2/11).
Washington State AD Pat Chun in his first year has "turned over" 25% of the athletic department's staff, overseen a "record year in fundraising and been the grateful witness to a charmed football season," according to John Blanchette of the Spokane SPOKESMAN-REVIEW. WSU football under Chun's predecessor Bill Moos was on "sound footing, but basketball was foundering." The facilities Moos had built "left an Everest of debt," and personnel and culture issues "were festering under the surface." Chun had to "formulate a plan to draw down his department’s monstrous cumulative debt" --projected to reach $85M by '22. In September, former WSU QB, radio analyst and fundraiser Jason Gesser "resigned after charges of sexual misconduct." Men’s basketball fortunes -- and attendance --"sank to further lows." But WSU's remarkable 11-2 football season "generated an era of good feelings and national buzz the school couldn’t buy." Blanchette: "And now the Cougars have to capitalize on it." There is "debt to pay, yes -- but the reason there’s that debt is because the Cougs didn’t build on their success of 20 years ago." Chun: "Building again is a lot harder than sustaining" (Spokane SPOKESMAN-REVIEW, 2/10).