WASHINGTON – In the wake of conference expansions largely predicated on lucrative television contracts, the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics called Thursday for a new set of financial reforms in big-time college sports.
A federal judge's ruling last week that a Connecticut university cannot use competitive cheerleading to meet its federal Title IX requirements has only indirect immediate implications for the other 10 or so colleges that now sponsor cheerleading as a varsity sport, since none of them include the teams in their calculations to meet gender equity standards.
In a case highlighting how the National Collegiate Athletic Association is cracking down on the predatory recruitment of teenage basketball players, the association on Thursday punished the University of Arizona for major recruiting violations that took place during the tenure of Lute Olson, the legendary head men’s basketball coach who recently retired.
Hoping increased transparency will encourage head coaches to take seriously their players’ academic performance, the National Collegiate Athletic Association has released a searchable database of the Academic Progress Rates of all teams coached by current and former Division I coaches in six major sports since the NCAA introduced the scoring system in 2003.
A sports conference that always scheduled weekday basketball doubleheaders in which women’s teams played the first game — letting the men play in the later time slot — has altered the practice, after an anonymous sex discrimination complaint charged that this made the women’s games appear to be a “warm-up” act for the men’s games.
Now, hoping to avoid possible gender equity suits, other athletic conferences are considering similar scheduling changes.
When campus budgets are tight and athletics departments are under the microscope, college and university administrators use a variety of methods to determine which teams to cut and which to keep. Some look at downsizing from a purely financial perspective, cutting sports that cost the most to operate, either overall or on a per-athlete basis. Others consider the win-loss records and popularity of their teams, trimming those it seems few on their campus will miss. That all goes to say that there is no tried-and-true method for determining a sport’s value to an institution.