By Vince Nicastro*

April 27, 2016

  1. Using student fees and/or tuition dollars to finance college athletic programs is not a novel strategy. It has been happening for decades, and has been a key source of funding for many outstanding programs over time. The more salient issue is how responsibly the money is being invested.  Are schools funding irrelevant programs with unrealistic ambitions?  Or are these funds supporting high-quality, well-respected programs that align with the university’s educational mission and values?  Two very different scenarios.
  2. A school recently created a position titled “Associate Athletic Director for Ideation.” As the industry drifts toward these types of initiatives no clear connection to the university’s primary mission, should we wonder why there are many who believe college sports is too “professional”?
  3. Remember when it was a great accomplishment to play in a football bowl game or post-season basketball tournament? Well, there are now 40 college bowl games, meaning over 60% of the teams in Football Bowl Subdivision will qualify.  Unless “qualifying” means you have to have at least a .500 record.  This year, a few teams with 5-7 records played in bowl games. College basketball now has 5 post-season tourneys, including the NCAA Tournament. All told, 150 men’s basketball programs will be invited to participate—nearly half of the teams in Division I.
  4. Watching the various football and basketball coach hiring cycles is great theatre. Of note are the pundits who immediately proclaim a “great hire” or a “terrible hire” shortly after the introductory press conference. In reality, hiring is simply an inexact science—an educated guess, at best. You really won’t know how it will turn out for about three years.
  5. Transfer rules in college athletics have come under greater scrutiny of late. In the more student-athlete friendly regulatory climate, it is certainly worth evaluating the existing transfer rules.  The fact that coaches are permitted to move from job to job without restrictions certainly bolsters the argument for giving students more flexibility.

*Vince Nicastro is the former Athletic Director for Villanova University, and currently serves as Associate Director for the Jeffrey S. Moorad Center for the Study of Sports Law.


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