A new survey by the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics found that leaders of athletic programs in Division I of the National Collegiate Athletic Association are generally dissatisfied with current revenue and competition models for their institutions. The survey shows that “college sports leaders are troubled about the growing divide between the have and have-nots athletic programs,” the commission said in a press release.
Around half of the 360 college athletics leaders, including college presidents, athletic directors and conference commissioners, who responded to the survey in June and July said they “highly agree” that Division I rules created by the NCAA and the division’s organizational structure should change, according to the survey report. Fifty-seven percent of respondents “highly agree” that the coronavirus pandemic presents a “perfect” opportunity to achieve this change, the report said.
When asked about specific problems in Division I rules and structure, about half of respondents disagreed with the heightened voting power and representation granted to institutions in the Football Bowl Subdivision, or FBS, which includes the most competitive teams in the nation. But 65 percent of respondents from “Power Five” conferences and institutions, which represent powerhouse football and other athletic programs, “highly agree” this setup is “appropriate,” the report said.
Over all, 64 percent of all respondents “highly agree” there is currently too much difference in financial resources across institutions in Division I, and 47 percent said the athletics department at their individual colleges rely too much on student fees or general university funding, the report said. The survey also asked about spending on football and men’s basketball, and found that nearly 60 percent of FBS leaders believe they overspend on football “to keep up” with wealthier colleges and 53 percent believe they do the same for basketball, the press release said.
The survey is part of an ongoing effort by the Knight Commission, an organization that advocates for NCAA reforms focused on prioritizing athlete education and well-being, to explore an “overhaul of the current NCAA model.”