A recent press release from Bowling Green State University announced the dropping of their baseball program, even though the A.D. at that university was a scholarship baseball player when he attended the same school. The University of Akron dropped men's cross country along with men's golf and tennis. All this seems to have been the result of projected lost revenues due to the world health crisis. If medium sized schools are being forced in this direction, the smaller schools may soon be taking even more draconian measures. And the big schools, the major conferences we are certain are shuffling pages, talking to their accountants and business managers, looking at projected budgets and making huge revisions as you are reading this. When Major League Baseball is looking at total losses of $640K per game played before an empty stadium, we know our sport is in dire straits or is it straights? Multiply that $640K by 41 home games in this abbreviated season, you are talking about $26,000,000 of unsold tickets per team this year. Admittedly college track is but a microcosm of these numbers, yet still, a sport exists on its budget large or small. These facts stimulated some talk amongst old coaches recently which I share with you and hope that you will not be too depressed to think about and perhaps share your own thoughts. You can post comments at the bottom of this page. I'll screen them when they come in before putting them on the blog. Or you can write directly to the email listed at the top of the page. If you send an opinion we will consider that you have given permission for us to post it here.
Sad times for many in many fields. George
We can always tighten the budget belts and keep any program going. But everyone is worried about image and not finishing in the lower half of the conference. In the 60's track rarely had a paid assistant coach. There was one trainer for the whole sports program, no strength coaches, no psychologists, a few academic counselors (grad students who worked in the study hall), and a dining hall that fed the football players steak every night and other sports steak for a pregame meal including the distance runners, and dare I say it? No women's sports. In the 1930s the NCAA was dominated by a few wealthier schools or ones that dumped the majority of their budgets into football. Oh yeah we still do, but today we have to support an incredibly long list of sports programs. Football is still king in the minds of alums and basketball the pretender to the throne. The rest get the table scraps. I'm sure there are some exceptions and contradictions here, it's just what is coming off the top of my head at the moment. Bill, you and Steve are probably the last of an era of coaches who can coach more than one event. You can probably make your way through all the running events, the jumps and most of the throws. Even I know that you don't throw the discus off your little finger. George
Lee Labadie did some very good work at Akron including coaching up the bronze medalist in the 800 meters. Div. II or III? That will not happen. Sports other than football are so much under the radar that they really don't greatly affect most schools in enhancing their profile or in the life of the average student. They are just there and little more. Dropping to II or III would indicate failure in the eyes of most people and that is probably true.
BGSU is in a almost impossible position of raising revenue with sports. They are surrounded by OSU and UofM, to the point where even the students do not pay close attention to Falcon football and basketball. In the MAC the student fee funds sports to a great extent, over 50% I believe, so when times are tough and that fragile student fee goes to athletics, there is an outcry. Hence the dropping of baseball and coaches in other sports. These are tough times and I'm glad to be retired.I believe there will be a reset with college athletics to the point where they will start to do intelligent things rather than "wish list" things. For instance the MAC just decided to do away with staying at hotels the night before home games. Decisions like that make a lot of sense. UC basketball usually plays only Xavier among Ohio teams but yet they play all over the country against teams who are not as good as these Ohio teams. They need to look at scheduling too.Bill
Checked the web page of my old school. Their track and xc coaching staff is
1. Head coach
2. Assistant (Women's sprints, hurdles, relays)
3. Assistant (Vertical Jumps)
4. Assistant Throws)
5. Assistant (horizontal jumps)
6. Assistant (distances) and Head XC
7. Volunteer Assistant (throws)
8. Volunteer Assistant (Distances)
9. Volunteer Assistant (Men's Sprints)
10. Volunteer Assistant (Men's Sprints)
11. Strength and Conditioning coach
12. Director of Operations
13. Grad assistant
I assume these numbers relate to keeping up with the Joneses in their conference.
In the 60's as I mention above we had a head coach and a retired former head coach to assist, and a secretary. We haven't even mentioned compliance people on the athletic staff. In those days I remember when European coaches looked at the way we ran things in those days, they asked how a full time coach could be expected to coach more than 6-8 athletes total. I think we have arrived at that point now in American universities. And we don't even know if we'll have a season next year in Fall sports. Obviously some room for belt tightening.
Reminds me of the old Willie Nelson or Kris Kristofferson song, "Mothers Don't Let Your Little Boys Grow Up to Be Cowboys".
I'm reminded when my son went to a DIII college. He was a good high school baseball player, but didn't want to devote all the time to team practice and the cold weather season in Chicago. I suggested he try throwing the javelin. Nope. Next thing I know he is playing rugby. It's not an NCAA sport, but instead was a club. When I asked him why the choice, his response was, "Dad, can you name an NCAA sport where you are allowed to have a keg of beer on the sideline during practice?" The University gave the club a few dollars for some trips around the midwest. One Spring they went to North Carolina to play in a tournament including playing against the London School of Economics. The next year they went to Las Vegas, played a tournament there. I think they had to pay their plane ticket for that trip. I doubt they went to bed the three or four days they were out there. He had a great team experience with a great bunch of very intelligent young men. George