It seems incongruent that a CEO of any company would warn his subsidiaries against profiteering. Margins are why we exist, right?
But the NCAA is not your typical business (well, technically it isn’t a business, but read on…), and its featured employees are not even employees. Their work is pro bono, and while some claim to be tired of doing charity work, the majority are content with a discounted, and sometimes free, education of the higher sorts.
The CEO in question is Myles Brand, the man many thought would clean up the NCAA the way he cleaned up Indiana University: by firing one of the best college basketball coaches ever – Bob Knight.
In his State of the Association address on Jan. 8, Brand warned universities across the nation of over-spending in the interest of increasing wins. Perplexingly, his warning comes just weeks after announcing that there will be a fifth BCS game that will make more BCS schools richer.
With increased revenue from events like these, not to mention the cash they rake in from media rights sales, Brand’s subsidiaries will be richer than ever in the coming years and the propensity to spend will be tantamount.
Oh, and when I say subsidiaries, it isn’t to be confused with non-BCS conference schools. The system is in place to serve the BCS schools that rake in serious cash – each school in the conference can earn upward of $1 million – when a team from their conference plays in a bowl game.
No ifs, ands or buts about it.
Last year, Brand ventured to say that the NCAA is not a business, a condescending white lie that brought criticism from around the country. This year, he was a little more careful with his words, but just by using terms like “revenue sports,” Brand admitted the parallels between corporations and collegiate athletics.
Here in idyllic Santa Barbara, the athletic programs mirror the scenery. Coaches coach for the right reasons; student-athletes compete for the right reasons; and professors and students are treated no differently than coaches and athletes. UCSB is the prototype Brand would like everyone to believe he strives for at every school, but something is amiss.
The NCAA’s implementation of the BCS will have dividing consequences for the landscape of collegiate athletics while the rich get richer and the mid-majors all become bottom-majors (or does mid-minor have a better ring to it?). While Brand says he is trying to curb this trend, his actions lend counterthought.
I guess I just wish words were louder than actions.