Athletic department videos with HBO-worthy production qualities have become a staple at the University of Oregon and other big football schools—one of the more obvious ways elite programs have separated from the rest of the DI pack. But a new NCAA proposal could eliminate videographers and other noncoaching jobs deemed nonessential to the athlete experience, The Chronicle reports today.
The proposed cutbacks—which also would reduce the number of football and women’s basketball scholarships athletic departments can give—may be setting the stage for some interesting skirmishes in Division I.
A speaker at this week’s IMG Intercollegiate Athletics Forum said DI athletics budgets range from $5-million to more than $150-million a year. (Hat tip to anyone who knows which DI program spends $5-million a year, which is what Texas, on its $153.5-million-a-year mantle, spends on Mack Brown’s salary alone.)
Big football is not happy with the suggested cuts, which include five fewer FBS football scholarships and new regulations limiting noncoaching football employees to a dozen. (Peer down the sidelines at many games, and you’ll see two or more times that many athletic-department workers.)
Gene Smith is one of the unhappy ones. The Ohio State AD is disappointed that the NCAA would consider eliminating scholarships so soon after its move to add $2,000 toward players’ cost of attendance.
The NCAA’s Resource Allocation Working Group, which put forth the latest proposals for the Division I Board of Directors to consider next month, was charged with finding ways to trim spending at the elite level. But it’s hard to see how any of the proposals would do much to adjust the huge imbalance of spending in Division I.
The NCAA may have the legal standing to limit the number of employees in departments. But as Ryan Squire, the compliance director at the University of Illinois, tweeted this morning, getting rid of $30,000-a-year video staff doesn’t do much when those Mack Brown-size salaries aren’t coming down.