Moody's: NCAA Changes Will Add Expenses, Hurt Less-Wealthy Programs

The recent restructuring of the National Collegiate Athletic Association's governance and the ruling against the NCAA in an antitrust class action will lead to new expenses for college sports and disproportionately affect the competitiveness of less wealthy programs, Moody's Investors Service predicted in a new report.

Earlier this month, the NCAA granted a greater level of autonomy to the Atlantic Coast, Big Ten, Big 12, Pacific 12, and Southeastern Conferences. The five richest conferences can now more easily adopt changes like allowing cost-of-attendance stipends, moving to four-year scholarships, and improving medical coverage. Colleges outside of the five conferences will not have to adopt those same rules, but they will be allowed to if they choose. In addition, the judge's recent ruling in Ed O'Bannon lawsuit against the NCAA means colleges will be able to pay athletes for using their name and likeness. 

Moody's estimated that the changes would create an additional $3.5 million in expenses per school.

"The power five conference members may be well equipped to absorb incremental costs, but other universities with less profitable programs will become less competitive," the report stated. "The cost-of-attendance stipend, for example, will give the powerful conference members an additional recruiting tool that others will lack. Other expense pressures relating to amateurism, such as those rising from litigation, could impact lower resourced athletic departments as well."

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New presidents or provosts: Brown Carroll Lehigh Carbon NIU Salus Scranton Vanguard TTU

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  • James Ball, vice president of academic and student affairs and dean of the faculty at Carroll Community College, in Maryland, has been promoted to president there.
  • Ann D. Bieber, interim president of Lehigh Carbon Community College, in Pennsylvania, has been named to the job on a permanent basis.

Roosevelt U. Will Shrink Suburban Campus

Roosevelt University, facing financial difficulties, has decided to shrink its suburban campus down to one program (pharmacy) and to focus on its main campus in Chicago, Crain's Chicago Business reported. The move comes amid faculty complaints about the university's financial decisions, and declines in enrollment.


The New Food Truck on Campus Is Starbucks

A pilot program from Starbucks this fall is testing a new way for the coffee giant to reach students and faculty members: through mobile trucks. Starbucks is launching the food truck approach on three campuses: Arizona State, Coastal Carolina and James Madison Universities. The company says that the trucks will have food and drink selections "nearly identical" to what can be found in a traditional Starbucks shop.


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Group wants to help professors fight against sexual assault on campus

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Some faculty members want to play a bigger role in the fight against campus sexual assault. A new national advocacy group aims to help them do that.

New Mexico Investigates Hazing Claims by Soccer Players

A member of the University of New Mexico's women's soccer team was hospitalized this weekend after she and other freshman players were allegedly hazed by some of their teammates. The woman was taken to the hospital late Sunday from her dorm room, where she was found heavily intoxicated and having trouble breathing. She had taken part in "some kind of 'initiation' event," a report filed by campus police stated. During the event, the team's freshmen were allegedly forced to strip and drink large amounts of alcohol, and they were sprayed with urine, according to KOB, an Albuquerque news station that spoke with a player's parent. A spokesperson at the university's athletic department said that members of the team are being interviewed about the allegations.

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Conference Signs New Broadcast Deal with ESPN

The Mid-American Conference has signed a new deal with ESPN that will give the sports network exclusive broadcast rights to MAC games for the next 13 years. The deal covers football, men's and women's basketball, and all Olympic sporting events. The agreement guarantees that all MAC football games will be broadcast on at least one of ESPN's television channels, as well as on the network's digital platforms.

In a conference call announcing the deal Tuesday, Jon Steinbrecher, MAC commissioner, said he couldn't reveal exactly how much the deal was worth but said that it was in a "totally different area code" than the MAC's existing agreement with the network. ESPN's Brett McMurphy reported that the deal amounts to more than $100 million, or about $8 million per year. That's about $670,000 for each school every year. The previous deal was worth about $1 million per year for the conference. 

The agreement moves the MAC closer to some of its FBS conference peers, but it still trails behind the American Athletic Conference, which has a broadcast agreement reportedly worth $130 million.

While the deal has been in the works since at least 2012, Steinbrecher said recent changes to how the National Collegiate Athletic Association is governed was a factor in the agreement. Earlier this month, the NCAA awarded a greater level of autonomy to the five wealthiest conferences, leading some less-wealthy conferences to fret over a growing gap between the so-called power five conferences and the rest of the colleges in Division I. "We've been forecasting where the world was going for a couple of years now, so that's why it was critical for us to bring this together now," Steinbrecher said. "It's certainly one part of bringing our membership forward in whatever this new world of collegiate athletics looks like."

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New report calls for trustees to take more active role

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Panel urges boards to become more involved in everything from presidential searches to the curriculum.


Student groups unhappy with Columbia's new sexual assault policy

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Columbia University unveils a new sexual assault policy, but student groups say the changes don't go far enough to address their concerns. 

Controversial Saint Joseph's President Plans to Retire

The Rev. C. Kevin Gillespie, president of Saint Joseph's University for the last two years, has announced plans to step down in June. Father Gillespie and his administration have been the subject of numerous faculty protests and votes of no confidence, with professors saying that the administration has pursued unrealistic and unwise solutions to financial problems, in part for failing to consult with the faculty.


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