Economy has NCAA tightening belt
Posted: Thursday, June 4, 2009 4:41 pm
By: By MICHAEL MAROT, AP Sports Writer
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The NCAA wants member schools to get a little extra cash.
So college sports’ largest governing body is cutting back.
On Wednesday, the NCAA announced it would suspend membership dues for the next school year, plans to give schools an additional $5 million and intends to trim about $500,000 in travel expenses for committee meetings.
How much the moves will help isn’t clear.
Annual dues run from $900 to $1,800, depending on which of the NCAA’s three divisions the school participates. The NCAA calculates the collective savings to be roughly $1.3 million.
And with about 1,000 member schools, the total pool of $6.3 million being returned averages out to roughly $6,300 per school — though the payouts will not be done evenly across the board. Still, those numbers pale in comparison to the multimillion-dollar athletic department budgets at many Division I schools.
It’s just a start, though.
“There’s a multi-pronged approach to help schools and these are the beginning steps in a plan to relieve some of the financial pressure,” NCAA spokesman Erik Christianson said. “Our members believe every bit helps.”
The NCAA will do its part, too.
It has already implemented a “soft” hiring freeze, meaning the organization will wait longer to fill vacancies, though there have not been any layoffs — and none are planned. The NCAA will also use video conferencing and teleconferences more frequently to conduct meetings, and will hold future in-person meetings primarily in Indianapolis where flights and hotels are usually cheaper.
The governing body pays travel costs for committee members.
Plus, the NCAA is reviewing legislative measures that could produce far greater savings.
Among the possibilities: Eliminating non-traditional sports seasons, like fall baseball, and shortening seasons in some sports. No formal proposals have been made.
Christianson said some schools also have discussed traveling with fewer players and scheduling road trips in combinations that would reduce costs.
The NCAA joins a long list of sports organizations and teams to announce cutbacks.
Among organizations that have announced job cuts in the past nine months are Major League Baseball, the NFL, NBA and the U.S. Olympic Committee. This week, the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury announced its jerseys will carry a sponsor name rather than the traditional city name or nickname.