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May 18, 2009 - Commission All Ears on Spending Fears

A May 18 article published in Athletic Management reported on much of the ground covered in the May 12, 2009  meeting of the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics. The article led with a discussion of the current economic recession and that runaway costs prior to the recession had a similar affect on the current concerns in college sports:

The Knight Commission meeting came on the heels of the release of an NCAA-commissioned report detailing recent spending in major college athletics, which continued to rise despite the current economic conditions. The report showed that major college athletic programs increased their operating budgets by 11 percent annually, bumping up expenditures by well more than a third between 2004 and 2007. Meanwhile, only 19 NCAA institutions reported generating more money than they spent on operations in 2006 and only six of the athletic programs that generated a profit have done so consistently for the past five years. Across all Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly Division I-A) institutions, the average net operating deficit was $8.9 million in 2006, a figure that rose 25 percent in just two years.

"The recession is accelerating the need to make hard choices about college athletics, but the fundamental problems will not abate when the economy improves," said R. Gerald Turner, co-chairman of the Knight Commission and President of Southern Methodist University. "The struggling economy presents a prime climate for all stakeholders in college sports to take action. Through innovative solutions, we can take measures to rein in ever-increasing athletics spending and preserve all that is good about college sports."

John Colombo, a University of Illinois law professor, addressed the commission on the complicated issue of the tax-exempt status of intercollegiate athletics. He also presented policy recommendations for those seeking Congressional involvement.

For the complete article, link here.