TheContested Values of College Sport: How Economistsand Other Social Scientists CanHelp Lawyers andPolicymakers
Physical, social, and mental benefits of athletics participationAccess to a better education for dedicated and gifted student-athletesPositive contribution to campus life and social bonding among students, faculty/staff, alumni, and the larger communityHugely popular consumer entertainmentHuge commercial success to allow universities to spend surplus on worthy causes
Intrinsic Benefits to Athletes
How do we measure these benefits?What are the essential attributes?How do Division I student-athletes’ benefits compare to those obtained from elite club competition or Division III competition?In addition to Title IX concerns, are universities driven by equity/fairness between football and other men’s sports?
Law/Policy re Athlete Benefits
More cost-effective spending on intercollegiate athleticsReconsideration of bi-polar model of Division I and recreational athleticsMore flexible and nuanced approaches to Title IXReconsideration of NCAA rule requiring minimum # of sports for D-I football/ basketball participation
Enhanced Access to Higher Education
What kind of students benefit from admission to colleges primarily based on athletic talent?Where would these students go without special athletic admission?Are athletic scholarships still necessary given growth of need-based aid?To what extent does this goal cause investment by families in efforts to obtain an athletic scholarship? Are these investments prudent?To what extent does this goal provide increased impetus for upward mobility, especially for disadvantaged minorites?
Law/ Policy re Wider College Access
Huge benefits may justify antitrust exemptionDistorted family investments may justify strict limits on non-need scholarships and special admission to universitiesRethink need for special athletic admissions in non-revenue sports where schools can compete against academic peers
Positive Contribution to University Life
Precisely which attributes of intercollegiate athletics contribute to university life, and in precisely which ways?Are there ways to evaluate claims that athletics provide special national exposure and enhance a school’s reputation?Are there ways to evaluate claims that the university benefits from a stronger emotional connection for students, staff, alumni, the community, and the state?Can we identify negative aspects of athletics?Fan/student misbehavior?Excessive time away from studies?Are athletic-driven academic rivalries positive?Do schools seem to make the right call (compare Michigan/Penn State to MIT/Cal Tech), or is there a public choice distortion from alumni spectators?Could schools facilitate greater contribution from non-revenue sports?
Law/Policy re University Life
See athlete benefitsInhibit public choice distortions by requiring Trustees to explicitly approve budget for non-revenue sports in lieu of counter-proposal by academic deans for money to be spent on academic programs
Precisely what are the attributes of college football and basketball that make it so much more popular than minor league baseball?Does the college sports entertainment “industry” provide greater macroeconomic benefits to local economies that consumer spending in other markets?Would measures to significantly increase competitive balance within conferences boost consumer appeal?Are huge salaries for coaches prudent investments resulting in higher revenue or past of an inefficient ‘rat race’?Is there a huge consumer surplus among avid fans?Would consumers prefer a “Superleague” of 20-30 programs?
Law/Policy re Consumers
Antitrust/regulatory review of paying playersInternal/external pressure to resist or increase balanceAntitrust exemption for agreements re coaches’ compensationStructuring sport: regulatory review of conference re-alignment
What are “real” expenditures for college athletics programs?Are “scholarships” really subsidies of the general academic program?Are sports facilities subsidized by general revenues?Is athletic budgeting in accord with general university budgeting policy?Do universities use sound policies in measuring spending in academic departments? Can metrics used to compare sociology and classics be used to compare history and lacrosse?
Law/policy re Worthy Causes
Mandatory uniformity in athletics accountingAntitrust exemption to use football/ basketball profits for desired endsSerious internal university reconsideration of spending priorities