It's Friday, it's Friday, gotta get fetch on Friday! If you haven't already taken my advice and registered for the Guinness promo why don't you do the world a favor and go knock that out right now. Need somewhere to enjoy your Guinness after registering for the St. Patrick's Day Party? Check out the pub finder. Let's blow this thing out folks.
Now some boogie tunes for your fetchness:
And now it's time to get a little heavy. After yesterday's fun discussion of why guys doing their job isn't necessarily good or bad, it just is, with respect to NCAA investigation I took some time to read the athletics portion of the most recent results from the Inside Higher Ed survey series. We've got some graphs, some red paint circles and some commentary coming after the jump.
Inside Higher Ed got surveys returned from 1,002 university presidents across the nation with responses on everything from finances, decision making, financial aid and, yes, intercollegiate athletics. While I definitely recommend you read the entire piece to get a look at how university presidents view the landscape as a whole, for our purposes we'll focus on the issue at hand; their sports responses. Here's the graphs you need, I held out the full survey graphs opting for the ones pertaining to the NCAA schools as opposed to the overall picture but you can find those in the pdf file here.
Table 5 Table 6
Click the table number to see the graphs.
So we've got responses from a gang of NCAA university presidents where they give their thoughts on the two biggest issues, with respect to sports, scandal and finance. Scandal has colored the landscape in the last year plus and with both NCAA rule breaking and legitimate criminal activity occurring the idea of the collegiate scandal is fresh on folks minds. As for finance, with conference realignment and television revenue forcing their way into everyone's choices for the future the dollar signs are sitting front and center for the decision makers at universities.
Where scandal is concerned we see the reason university leaders are "blindsided" by the NCAA investigations that happen upon them. 63.3% of presidents surveyed said that they did not believe a scandal like Miami, Ohio State or Penn State could occur at their school. I don't think it is a stretch to say that prior to the news breaking in Coral Gables, Columbus and State College that their presidents would have said the same thing.
This largely serves to speak to the point that it isn't just fans that think, "It happens other places, but not here" when scandal is concerned. The people running the show think the same way. Those same people believe that only 25.2% of their colleagues are in control of the athletics at their institution. Which I think speaks volumes about the "it only happens other places" mindset. Everyone thinks they're the good guys, doing the right thing, that it is the other guys who are screwing up.
Basically that result tells us that at the top; not the coaches, not the fans, not the athletic directors, the presidents don't think much of the job that their colleagues are doing at peer institutions. In a twelve team league like the Pac-12 that's like Arizona's president saying, "We're cool over here, Oregon State and Cal are good too but USC, UCLA, Colorado, Utah, Arizona State, Stanford, Washington, Washington State and Oregon ain't shit."
That's how screwed up the system is, that people think 75% of their peers are doing a crap job and/or are incapable of being in control of their athletic programs.
Just over half, 51.3%, think that scandal, which couldn't happen at their school, is inevitable. Heh.
Another intesting tidbit regarding the inevitability of scandal is the lack of faith presidents have in the governing body when it comes to actually fixing anything. Under a third, 31.9%, actually believe that the NCAA's recent reforms will achieve any measure of meaningful success. Damn near 70% of the presidents have the same amount of faith as I do in the system that they voluntarily allow to govern their athletic programs, that is to say, not much faith if any at all.
The difference between them and me? They actually get a say, they can effect change, they can make a push for something that would alter the course that we're currently on. But no, they're content with believing their peers stink at their jobs and scandal is coming regardless of what they do.
Which brings us to the power of the dollar. 68.9% of the presidents think universities spend too much money on their athletic programs. Not just "too much" but "way too much" money, to be specific. However, when it comes to their specific university we come to the "it's the other guys" mentality all over again. Only 34.2% actually believe their own institution is guilty of overspending with respect to athletics.
Now as an observer I see two things wrong here; first and foremost the idea that the people in charge think they spend too much money on athletics, yet we've seen no measures to dial back budgets, secondly the comforting delusion that it is always "the other guys."
Over a third of the people in charge think that they are spending too much cash on athletics yet all we see is a money hungry push to get more cash to pump back into their programs. A third of the NCAA institutions aren't scaling back their budgets to operate in a more efficient manner. The climate of today is make this money, take this money, ain't no way you can take this from me and it resonates all over the nation.
Folks signing up to travel across the country or up and down the seaboard and play games on whatever day gets them on television to make a couple extra bucks to help fund their programs and upgrade some facilities, buy a better coach and win more games. The nature of the beast isn't let's not spend so much, the nature is to figure out how to get more money so we can spend it.
The point here is that for guys like William C. Friday, who believes reform must be school-sided, are fighting a battle that's already been lost. Most presidents don't believe their schools are spending too much and the ones that do aren't doing anything about it. TV says jump and the schools, like it or not, say how high.
As far as the cozy misconception that "we're the good guys" goes, can you blame fans? I mean as a blogger I've grown weary of fans of school A being shocked that their program could be the one in trouble but when the presidents perpetuate this same thought process is it any wonder that fans live in that same dreamworld?
Presidents don't think that scandal can happen to their school. Presidents don't think that their school is part of the money spending problem that revs up the importance of the almighty dollar in collegiate athletics.
Pass the buck. Point the finger.
"It's not my fault, it's the other guys' deal."
"Nope, not me, but yeah they're totally screwed up over there."
If the people at the top don't acknowledge their problems then how is anything positive going to happen? If the people at the top don't believe that the "reform" steps taken by the governing body they submit to are worth a damn then how will there be a positive change? If the people at the top don't think their colleagues are capable of doing their job then how can the public believe in the leaders?
At best the school leaders have too much on their plate to take a proper look at their athletic programs. With a little benefit of the doubt they're incompetent and unable to take positive steps to enact change. At worst they're wholly incapable of controlling the beast that's been built. Regardless of where you believe your school's leader and school leaders in general fall on that spectrum the fact is there is not much to be confident about with respect to the path of intercollegiate athletics.