Thursday, November 09, 2006

WHB Raises Questions About Football and Profit

Women's Hoops Blog has some good commentary on the JMU cuts (see under Nov. 7). I think Ted's conclusion is persuasive; he writes: "The bottom line is this: In a world of limited resources, Title IX sometimes does force schools to cut men's teams. That sucks. It doesn't happen as much as the anti-Title IX folks say it does, but it happens. We Title IX supporters need to be honest about that fact. Maybe this is simply the price of equality. But maybe we should also try to find ways to spread the cost."

Along the way to this conclusion, Ted points out that achieving proportionality by cutting football can deprive schools of the profits from football. He graciously links here (thanks, Ted!) for the counterargument that football is not as profitable as it's given credit for. I'll take that as invitation to add to some numbers to back up my claim. According to Professor Nancy Hogshead-Makar (quoted from here)
Among NCAA football programs in all competitive divisions, 78% spend more money than they raise, including donations by a school’s boosters. Among the most competitive programs in Division I-A (DIA) 36% of football programs are running deficits averaging over $1 million annually. 81% of DIAA football programs are running deficits averaging $630,000 per year.
Also, when I talk about the limitations of the "football is profitable" argument, I always like to stress that it's not law professors who think this: actual economists say so. Economists are much more believable than law professors on such matters. I kid, of course, at my own (and Ted's) expense. But in case you actually are more persuaded by economists than law professors, here is one such economist.

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