College ‘arms race’ is out of control

An unsustainable spending “arms race” is occurring among the 130 colleges that belong to the NCAA’s Football Bowl Subdivision. It is compromising their integrity and is often at odds with their academic missions.

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Opinion

April 15, 2021 - 8:34 AM

An unsustainable spending “arms race” is occurring among the 130 colleges that belong to the NCAA’s Football Bowl Subdivision. It is compromising their integrity and is often at odds with their academic missions. Because of booster and fan pressure to remain competitive, the arms race has led to, in just the last year, paying head coaches an average $2.7 million salary and awarding failed coaches buyouts that average nearly $8 million. This is in addition to the seemingly constant construction of new facilities, among other excesses.

This arms race will only intensify if the Supreme Court rules in NCAA v. Alston to allow colleges to award unlimited educational expenses to student-athletes. In oral arguments last month, the court seemed poised to back such payments.

The cost of maintaining a big-time athletic program is growing at an alarming rate — as a result of this arms race.

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