NCAAF  > General NCAAF  > Cal cuts 5 sports programs
September 29, 2010, 03:29 AM
I am a high school teacher and coach in the state of Missouri. The state cut school budgets by 18.5% last year alone to make up for state budget losses. My school had to cut more than 12 coaching positions. Educators fear that this year's cuts might be even higher (Maybe 25%?). Twenty-six schools were shut down in Kansas City alone. Art programs, PE, music, foreign language and other educational programs have been cut to save money.

According to the article, Cal has been hit hard by financial crisis. They were hit hard enough to cut at least five sports, including baseball and their 25-time national champion Rugby team. I'm just wondering if this will be the first domino to fall? Will other schools follow? Will the tight financial times force the NCAA to make tough decisions that could negatively affect sports (additional meaningless bowl games, 16 team conferences, continuation of the current B.C.S. Bowl System, etc...)? What do you think? Is Cal just one of many programs that will make similar cuts?


For the actual story on Cal, see below:
http://www.kansascity.com/2010/09/28/2258726/cal-to-cut-f ive-sports-teams-including.html
September 29, 2010  03:59 AM ET

Just MHO, but unless the sport in question can bring in revenue to a school then that sport should be in line for cutbacks if the budget gets tight. Huge student activity fees and/or higher state taxes (paid by thousands or millions of people) to pay for a few hundred scholarships and coaching staff positions seem like poor choices.

I have no problem with anyone playing any sport they wish, however if the sport doesn't appeal to a wide enough audience to bring in the bacon then the sport should be a club sport though.

On the plus side, if revenue gets tight enough for enough schools then perhaps fiscal greed/need will bring us to a CFB playoff.

September 29, 2010  07:45 AM ET
QUOTE(#1):

On the plus side, if revenue gets tight enough for enough schools then perhaps fiscal greed/need will bring us to a CFB playoff.

Not sure traveling for 2 or 3 rounds of a playoff saves a school any money compared to a bowl game, but that's another debate.

Cutting sports at any level should be an absolute last choice. I do understand the costs involved, though. Few schools out there can afford all the non-revenue sports they offer. Title IX didn't help this, but again, another debate. I'm not sure how this gets fixed. On the one side the educator is saying sports is secondary to the schools mission and on the other the AD is saying you'd go bankrupt without us and in the middle is a kid just trying to get better at what he/she does. Maybe the Ohio States, Texas' and Alabamas of the world share the wealth a little more? Not that they should. Personally, I think we see a contraction of the number of schools at the highest level and the creation of a another division. At least for football, that follows the NFL model. I don't want to see it because then it's just another version of the NFL and one of those is enough.

One last thing. There is no such thing as a meaningless bowl game ;)

September 29, 2010  07:54 AM ET
QUOTE(#2):

Not sure traveling for 2 or 3 rounds of a playoff saves a school any money compared to a bowl game, but that's another debate.Cutting sports at any level should be an absolute last choice. I do understand the costs involved, though. Few schools out there can afford all the non-revenue sports they offer. Title IX didn't help this, but again, another debate. I'm not sure how this gets fixed. On the one side the educator is saying sports is secondary to the schools mission and on the other the AD is saying you'd go bankrupt without us and in the middle is a kid just trying to get better at what he/she does. Maybe the Ohio States, Texas' and Alabamas of the world share the wealth a little more? Not that they should. Personally, I think we see a contraction of the number of schools at the highest level and the creation of a another division. At least for football, that follows the NFL model. I don't want to see it because then it's just another version of the NFL and one of those is enough.One last thing. There is no such thing as a meaningless bowl game ;)

Two things:

- Title IX was made, it can be un-made...

- The TV revenue from an 8 or 16 team playoff would be insane. I would assume that the revenue would be split up amongst the NCAA I-A schools. For the schools involved in the second round and beyond there would be some costs associated with it, but those costs would probably be dwarfed by the added sales in tickets and merchandising, merchandising, merchandising. *In my Yogurt voice* "Space balls, the playoff".

September 29, 2010  08:01 AM ET

I'm new to this board and I'm sure you all have debated the playoff thing. One of my many concerns is that a school such as Texas that doesn't share equally with it's conference now, won't in a playoff scenario either. Not all conferences split their pies equally. This puts more pressure on the less financially secure schools to either drop some of their sports or bleed themselves in other areas to keep up. If it were Ford vs. Chevy I'd say go for it, but we're talking schools here.

Comment #5 has been removed
September 29, 2010  08:40 AM ET
QUOTE(#5):

My flippant answer has been to let Victoria's Secret design uniforms for women's tennis and volleyball teams, and they would become huge revenue producing sports.

The shorts for the Women's volleyball teams are already "well designed" in form and function.

September 29, 2010  08:46 AM ET
QUOTE(#5):

I suspect that if the NCAA thought a football playoff system would generate more revenue than the current bowl system, there would be less resistance to such a system. 16 teams would be getting unwieldy; more than that an impossibility. So you go from 60 teams in post-season play down to 16. From 30 games (and associated TV revenues) to 15 (or, more likely, 8 teams and 7 post-season games).I'm not sure what the solution is. Athletic departments can't run in the red very much without sucking away educational resources, and that would be wrong. Schools with highly profitable "money sport" programs (football and men's basketball, basically) can afford to carry more non-revenue sports. Other schools, not so much. My flippant answer has been to let Victoria's Secret design uniforms for women's tennis and volleyball teams, and they would become huge revenue producing sports. The NCAA could take a harder look at how TV revenues are shared, maybe to have some sort of national formula, rather than leaving it up to individual conferences (or, in the case of independents, schools) to negotiate TV contracts and determine revenue allocation. I suspect you'd see serious resistance from the top couple of dozen programs. Does the Big 10 want to share TV contract revenues with Central Michigan and/or New Mexico State? Do we want to see CFB morph into "NFL Lite"?

To make it work I would imagine the lesser bowls would stay in business and the playoff teams would carry on smartly. Pretty much the same as the NCAA and NIT in CBB. In a way we already make the distinction with BCS and non-BCS bowls.

September 29, 2010  08:57 AM ET
QUOTE(#7):

To make it work I would imagine the lesser bowls would stay in business and the playoff teams would carry on smartly. Pretty much the same as the NCAA and NIT in CBB. In a way we already make the distinction with BCS and non-BCS bowls.

Except that we already know that few teams actually make money off of the lesser or December bowls. They are more of a reward and a recruiting tool. I can't see a playoff driving enough money into the schools to change what is going on at Cal and other schools across the country. It could just be the way things go and tough cheddar for the schools that can't keep up. The world is not obligated to be fair.(hear that Boise fans?) I'm not sure the big schools that do make obscene amounts of cash are in any way obligated to help the smaller schools. But if they don't....who would the SEC teams play pre-conference if all the directional schools dropped sports?

Just kidding, people. Just kidding.

September 29, 2010  09:44 AM ET
QUOTE(#2):

One last thing. There is no such thing as a meaningless bowl game ;)

Nice to see that. You read the opposite so often on these boards. I agree completely.

Comment #10 has been removed
September 29, 2010  10:55 AM ET
QUOTE(#6):

The shorts for the Women's volleyball teams are already "well designed" in form and function.

I do love that sport.

September 29, 2010  02:37 PM ET
QUOTE(#11):

I do love that sport.

It is one of the few women's sports on ESPN. Not rocket science to figure out why....

September 29, 2010  02:40 PM ET
QUOTE(#8):

Except that we already know that few teams actually make money off of the lesser or December bowls. They are more of a reward and a recruiting tool. I can't see a playoff driving enough money into the schools to change what is going on at Cal and other schools across the country. It could just be the way things go and tough cheddar for the schools that can't keep up. The world is not obligated to be fair.(hear that Boise fans?) I'm not sure the big schools that do make obscene amounts of cash are in any way obligated to help the smaller schools. But if they don't....who would the SEC teams play pre-conference if all the directional schools dropped sports? Just kidding, people. Just kidding.

There is a lot of truth to what you say though. If all the minor schools (including the Dukes and Vandies of the CFB world) dropped out you would be left with about 30-50 larger programs.

Guess what, they can't all then have winning records and go to the postseason like they do now if they had to play only themselves, so being too miserly would be a lot like cutting off your nose to spite your face.

September 29, 2010  02:41 PM ET

This whole topic is the one good thing of having a $4MM head coach. Your football program brings in 20 times that money and funds all other programs.

Maybe the problem at Cal is more business than the ecomony and they need to make the needed investment in the infrastructure of the business and the profits will follow.......it takes money to make money idea.

Comment #15 has been removed
September 29, 2010  04:37 PM ET

Very true, also hurt by USC historically dominating the state (like your team, and mine)

September 29, 2010  05:32 PM ET
QUOTE(#2):

On the one side the educator is saying sports is secondary to the schools mission and on the other the AD is saying you'd go bankrupt without us

The AD would be grossly mistaken. Using University of Texas' budget for this year, here is where the money comes from:

tution, room & board 31%
research grants 22%
state funding 16%
alumni gifts 9%
auf (investment income) 8%
athletics 6%
Continuing ed 6%
other 3%

Even if ALL alumni gifts were because of their outstanding athletics program (very much open to debate), the AD can only point to 15% of the overall income for the school.

September 29, 2010  06:05 PM ET

A 15% loss of income could bankrupt many insitutions. Also, that 15% is spent however the University chooses, most of those other sources of income are limited to how they can be used.

September 29, 2010  06:09 PM ET
QUOTE(#15):

The economics might be different in California. Your program is riding high in on-field performance (including a NC win over my team, drat your hide), it's located in a part of the country where football is extremely popular, and it has a longstanding tradition of a rabid fan base. I think that's coloring your perspective.

Your example would be valid for a program like Tennessee, who's seeing some drop-off in attendance and revenues because they've been struggling for a half dozen years. A coach with recruiting and on-field coaching skills could come in there, start winning 10-11 games a year, and their attendance, alumni support, merchandising, etc. would go thru the roof. If Cal started winning 10-11 games a year, would they get the same instantaneous financial benefit? I'm skeptical.

You are right that Cal fan base is pretty much limited to alumni who live in the Bay Area, where the Alabama fan base is statewide and includes many fans who never went to school at Tuscaloosa.

I was surprised to discover that Cal attendance averages 60,000 per game, which is comparable to the 49ers and significantly better than the Raiders. Of course ticket prices are much lower. They recently convinced the state to pony up $300 million to upgrade Memorial Stadium (said it was a seismic retrofit, but they plan to add luxury suites, lol)

IMO, their financial problem comes mainly from the awful Pac10 TV contracts and bowl lineup. Of course, Pac10 TV contract likely would be better if their was more fan interest in the games, so it's sort of a chicken and egg thing, I guess.

 
September 29, 2010  06:35 PM ET
QUOTE(#10):

All volleyball players have lean legs that are roughly 1/2 mile long, and butts so firm that you'd break your hand if you spanked one of them.

Yeah but that would be a great way to break one's hand.

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