Paul L. Caron

Monday, July 22, 2013

PAC-12 Tries to Block For-Profit Universities From NCAA Division I Athletics

Pac 12AZCentral:  Grand Canyon CEO Brian Mueller: Michael Crow, ASU Try to Block Move to Division I:

Grand Canyon University President and CEO Brian Mueller said he believes Arizona State President Michael Crow is leading an effort by Pac-12 CEOs to try to block the school’s move into NCAA Division I athletics.

Mueller said he felt inclined to open up after reported that Pac-12 CEOs had sent a letter to the NCAA questioning whether a for-profit university should be allowed to compete in Division I athletics.

The NCAA and all Division I schools are not-for-profit, tax-exempt entities. The private, publicly traded Christian school has been accepted into the Western Athletic Conference. ...

Azcentral sports obtained the Pac-12 letter, dated July 10 and signed by all the schools’ presidents and chancellors, that was sent to Dr. Lou Anna K. Simon, chairperson of the NCAA Executive Committee. In a May 2 meeting of the NCAA Board of Directors, the committee said it would consider granting NCAA Division I membership to for-profit institutions. Grand Canyon is the first for-profit school to move to Division I.

“Our major concern is how athletics fit within academic missions of for-profit universities. The Pac-12 believes the academic mission of our 12 universities is paramount above all else,” the letter states. “We stand firmly behind the NCAA’s commitment to integrate athletics into the fabric of higher education and view the success of our student-athletes as the ultimate metric of how well we are doing as a Conference. ... Beyond just being reinforced by philosophy, our not-for-profit status ensures it. The resources generated by our Conference support our universities and our student-athletes first and foremost.”

On the issue of whether PAC-12 resources "support our universities and our student athletes first and foremost," the most recent PAC-12 tax return reports that its commissioner was paid $1,859,492. But at least he reported that he worked 40 hours per week for the conference. The twelve Pac-12 directors reported that they worked 1 hour per week for the conference, and received compensation ranging from $390,039 to $1,963,710. In comparison, the total amounts distributed to the member universities ranged from $6.8 million (Washington State) to $12.4 million (Stanford).

Update:  Inside Higher Ed, Share Prices and Big-Time Sports

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Government and not-for-profit college administrators want to claim moral superiority over schools run to make a profit, but have no grounds to do so, especially when they try to bring down a potential competitor established to make a (gasp, choke) profit!

I suspect that these PAC-12 CEOs are not being honest about their real reasons for wanting to block Grand Canyon University from competing with them. Maybe they are embarrassed that a school in their division can actually be profitable with a football program, whose purpose might be to entice students away from the other schools with a similar college experience. And, for what -- a profit (there's that terrible word, again.)

Link: "It's a profit deal!"

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Okay, now in reading the update from Inside Higher Ed, get this:

“In contrast, the incentives for for-profit colleges are not aligned with their students, and even less so with their student-athletes,” according to the letter. “For-profit colleges are owned and operated by businesses and are not accountable to their students or faculty. Their primary responsibility is to their shareholders.”

Funny. I never considered the incredible tution increases and bloating of administrative staffs at univesities to be aligned with student needs, and I never saw them accoutable to the students or faculty. The heads of most colleges believe that they are accountable to no one -- especially not the taxpayers who constructed their campuses and who subsidize their inefficiencies and ineffectiveness.

Maybe goverment universities could use some competition from for-profit institutions, whose heads, at least, are accountable to shareholders rather than no one and can be replaced very quickly. And, what head of a for-profit business doesn't want to take care of its customers -- in this case, the students and their parents?

Heads of government universities have no claim to moral superiority, are fooling themselves with elitist snobbery, and certainly, have no right to consider themselves financially responsible. Let the competition begin!

Posted by: Woody | Jul 22, 2013 8:37:00 AM