Thursday, September 29th, 2011
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
THERE ARE BIG BUCKS IN COLLEGE SPORTS! BUT WHO’S GETTING THEM?
With TV income at an all-time high, and with attendance breaking records nationwide, the college football season is off to the most successful start in its history. Football in my home state of Louisiana is the major subject of discussion as the LSU Tigers were ranked number one in the nation by the Associated Press poll for this week. But out of the euphoria and excitement, scandals seem to be breaking out at new schools weekly, with top players being accused of selling memorabilia, and taking cash from adoring fans for a little spending money. Is there something wrong with the present system?
There certainly is a rapidly growing pot of money throughout the college system. Fans pay through the nose to attend major college athletic events. As an LSU football season ticket holder, I personally pay $840 just for the right to buy my season tickets. The seat ticket, itself, is $54 per game. Similar surcharges are also applied to basketball tickets. So there are big bucks coming into major college programs all over the country. Top-level college sports are big business. LSU, for example, receives some $100 million in revenue each year from ticket sales, television rights, concessions, parking, and logo sales, which is about five times what the school receives from tuition.
In a recent edition of The New York Times, conservative columnist David Brooks, who generally is on the mark with his observations, yearns for a return of what was portrayed as “the golden age of the amateur ideal.” According to Brooks, “The amateur ideal was a restraining code that emphasized fair play and honor. It held that those blessed with special gifts have a special responsibility to hew to a chivalric code. The idea was to make sport a part of the nation’s moral education.” Continue reading “Jim Brown”