I can’t believe this is not the case in this economy. I recently read in the Berkeley Daily Planet that the UC Berkeley Academic Senate is mulling over a proposal to force its athletic program to become self-sufficient.
Like many public universities across the country, UC Berkeley is starving for money. From the Daily Planet:
The resolution requests that the chancellor of the Berkeley campus require the school’s intercollegiate athletic program to become self-supporting.
This program has tens of thousands of followers, who gather at Memorial Stadium, Harmon Gym, and Edwards Track to support Cal Bears teams. At a time when UC is suffering a severe financial crisis, the fans’ enthusiasm, which consists not only of cheering but also of gift-giving, is certainly welcome. Team spirit brings thousands of Berkeley alums to the campus, some of whom might not donate to their alma mater if it were not showing its athletic excellence.
But recently a group of faculty at Cal have made a discovery: It turns out that Berkeley’s athletic program has been running in the red for years. The resolution that is being submitted to the Academic Senate provides evidence that the cost of the program exceeds the sum of its economic benefits.
One author of the resolution, UC Berkeley Computer Science Professor Brian Barsky, has written a letter to The San Francisco Chronicle stating that “all the revenues and donations to Cal intercollegiate athletics fall short by millions of dollars annually to cover excessive expenditures of this program, which is propped up from the campus’ coffers with funds that could instead keep the library open on Saturdays, for example.“ He adds that “It is a myth that intercollegiate athletics earns money for the university; even the NCAA reports that increased spending on athletics does not increase alumni donations to the university, prompting its president to advise college presidents to reconsider their institutional spending on sports.“
The Academic Senate resolution also proposes to tie coaches’ salaries to Intercollegiate Athletics’ net income. This would address the situation at Cal where, despite the university’s fiscal shortfall, football coach Jeff Tedford receives a $2.3 million annual salary—higher than the pay of any other California public official.
This to me seems like a no-brainer. Am I missing something?