Cost of Attendance

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Prices go up each year for everything from milk to car insurance. That is a given. It is also a given that the cost to attend a professional sporting event is also going up. These price increases and lack of disposable income are making many families choose to stay home instead of head to the ball park. Students in our Professional Sports Administration course looked at this problem and commented on the alternative of attending a minor league team. Read a few responses below.

By: Jordan Belfiori

Luckily, I have never been one that believes I have to attend an event or game to be part of the action.  Now, I have been to my fair share of Detroit Lions and Tigers games over the years; however, my participation to these stadiums is becoming more and more obsolete. The reason for this is because of the outrageous cost to attend a sporting event live. Last year, I took my girlfriend to the Week 17 Lions vs. Packers game at Ford Field. The total cost for both of us to attend the game was nearly $400. When you combine the cost of tickets, parking, food and beverages I do not see how people can consistently go to sporting events.

When it comes to other alternatives, I believe going to Minor League games will be a growing trend for families. In Utica, Jimmy John’s Stadium just opened last summer and it has been a huge success. I know many people that frequently attended multiple games at the stadium and spend less than $75. I plan on going to a game or two this summer and checking out the venue.

When it comes to a professional sports bubble, I believe many fans are already at a tipping point with rising ticket prices. I know many individuals that rather watch the game from their home rather than going downtown. If a team doesn’t provide a good product on the field or court and you accompany that with high ticket prices, you get fan frustration and a lack of care for attending the game live.

By: Kelly Riegler

I believe the cost of attendance of sporting events has gotten out of hand. It is near impossible for an average family to attend a game, but maybe once a year as an extravagant expenditure. This would explain the shift in popularity to minor league baseball. Families, and individuals alike are searching for a low cost alternative. While I understand prices need to be raised for overall financial success of a team, there is a difference between profit to stay afloat and be successful, and excessive profit. It may be difficult however, to find the balance in creating a better fan experience all-the-while maintaining acceptable ticket prices. According to the FCI, it cost a family of four an average of $213.03 in 2015 to attend a Tiger’s game. While I believe in cost and demand, prices like these (which are mild in Detroit compared to some luxury areas), I also believe in equitable access to these luxuries. Simply put, ticket prices ought to be more reasonable. (I am not advocating either way for a cap or intervention – simply expressing my thoughts!)

I suppose as long as fans are attending games, then there isn’t anything that can currently be done about rising ticket prices. However, ethically speaking perhaps games should be more affordable for people by providing family discount initiatives as many teams have done. The sports industry is a luxury industry overall, but pricing tickets so high will inevitably drive away fans to more cost effective alternatives, and hurt leagues when the next inevitable economic downturn occurs and tickets are first cut in the family budget.

By: Robert Anshila

Fans want to enjoy the full in-game experience but the high costs for attending games are deterring the organizational progress of growing their fan base. Individual tickets don’t seem like so much, but once an entire family is considered into the cost, expenses for MLB are soaring up to $360 per game! There was a time when a more affordable option was to purchase less favored seats for a lower price which inevitably meant lower in-game experience. But these days, all seat prices are inflated resulting in fans seeking alternative sports entertainment.

I think there are advantages to fans attending Minor League ball games rather than Major League. But essentially people want to be part of something bigger and more attractive. The Major League Baseball teams offer a larger crowd generally in a populated area which adds transportation and other local attractions as a convenience. The Major League facilities cater to the experience which is something that Minor League teams and their venues necessarily don’t have the financial backing to make a priority. There are several Minor league teams that are not located near downtown of any major city. The communities surrounding these suburban teams have a better chance to take advantage of the opportunities the Minor Leagues has to offer. The price is much more affordable for them and there are more opportunities for locals to familiarize with the players.

The sports industry as a bubble is far from bursting. Professional sports has so much to offer as far as entertainment and live experiences. Professional sports offer a wide range of pricing and offer to which it can make adjustments before critical issues arrive. For the bubble to burst there would need to be a sequence or combination of negative factors. I think organizations would have to abuse subsidies incorporated with the local communities among other issues. For example, if prices significantly exceeded affordable fan expectations, in an impoverished area where the organization has accrued large government subsidies. Also, if several teams in each league were operating with the same negligence without the appearance to compromise for the cities, then I believe the bubble would absolutely burst with consequential backlash.

Title IX, ADA, and Collegiate Athletics

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Students in our Sport Leadership course looked at the following scenario and responded with an initial post and then commented to their peers. “You have just been named athletics director at a high-profile university. It comes to your attention that your institution may be in violation of Title IX  and ADA regulations. What actions would you take as the newly hired athletics director?” Discover a few of the responses below and think about how you would respond.

By: Erica Cora

Title IX ensures that women have an equal opportunity as men to participate in sports at institutions that receive federal money and was enacted by congress in 1972 (Pedersen, 2014). This is an important change in the sports industry because it pushes the acceptance of women into the community that was otherwise dominated by men. This law allows women to get equal opportunities for scholarships, Olympic chances, and health benefits (10 Key Areas of Title IX, 2017). As the Athletic Director at a high-profile university, It has come to my attention that we may be in violation of Title IX and need to correct this by allowing more participation opportunities for female student-athletes. With limited resources, I would consider cutting unnecessary funds and raising money rather than cutting another sport. After looking into what sport to add for interested athletes, I would assemble a team made up of representative from each the many teams at the university to come up brainstorm ideas of how to cut cost from their team. They come up with a list that includes, condensing travel expenses, sharing practice facilities, offering incentives to fans to increases ticket sales, and fundraisers.

Some of the athletics facilities are not compliant with ADA regulations and are outdated. The Americans with Disabilities Act was passed in 1990 and prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities, who consist of a vital part of our university population and will be included in our athletic facilities (Pedersen, 2014). This would also require an assemble of special volunteers willing to work with me and lead up fundraisers and sponsors to gain funds and make the necessary changes to our facilities. Something that I would consider to get students with disabilities who are not already involved with the athletic department of the university would be to host a athlete ran day event, where we open of the gyms/ pools and use adapted equipment to get any one who want to be involved. This will help to create a welcoming environment for all prosperous student athletes and potential fans that will create loyalty to the teams and athletes.

Pedersen, P. M. & Thibault, L. (Eds.). (2014). Contemporary sport management (5th ed.). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.

10 Key Areas of Title IX. (2017). Retrieved March 30, 2017, from http://www.titleix.info/10-Key-Areas-of-Title-IX/Athletics.aspx

By: Brandon Craig

If I was the newly appointed AD the very first thing that I would do would be to have a meeting with the President, my assistant AD, and whomever else needed to be there in order to discuss the athletic department budget. I would send out an e-mail to every program and require them to submit a income/debt ratio report. I would want to know exactly what each program is costing the university annually, as well as if any program is bringing in revenue and how much. From there I would start to have some very stern discussions about how we can adjust the budget in order to add another women’s program. There are two things that I would refuse to do. First and foremost, I would never, ever ask the student body to increase what they pay each year in order to fund a program that they may or may not give one crap about. To me, that is unethical, immoral, and just wrong. I would start by asking the coaches, teachers, administrators to take a pay cut. This might not fly with many but I would still push for it before charging students. I would shift money, I would cut cost from other programs, I would look very closely at exactly where I could shave enough money to start a new program. As reported in The Washington Post, “These students are being forced to pay for something that they may or may not take advantage of, and then they have to bundle this into student loans they’ll be re-paying for 10 or 20 years,” said Natalia Abrams, executive director of the nonprofit Student Debt Crisis…“It’s a huge problem in higher education,” said David Catt, the former Kansas golfer. “You think you’re paying for a degree and you wind up as a piggy bank for a semi-professional sports team” (Rich, W. H.). The second thing that that I would refuse to do is cut a men’s program. This seems to continue to be the go to approach and I believe it is undermining the very protections that Title IV is supposed to protect. Most people see Title IV as a protection of women’s rights and opportunities, however, more and more cases are being brought forth from men’s programs citing discrimination. The New York Time ran an article on this topic. Although Title IX has typically been invoked to protect the rights of women, cases alleging discrimination against men are not unheard of, said Russlynn H. Ali, the assistant education secretary who heads the civil rights office. Of the 96 Title IX complaints related to athletics received in the 2010 fiscal year, 11 involved allegations of discrimination against men, according to the office. In the previous year, they made up 10 of the 80 athletics-related Title IX complaints. Ali noted that women now made up a majority of enrolled students at colleges and universities.“Title IX protects against sex discrimination,” Ali said. “Traditionally, the underrepresented sex in institutions of higher education has been women. That is changing” (Thomas, K.). Again I would do anything and everything I could to avoid making students pay, or making problems worse by having to eliminate programs. I would dig up whatever money I could, pay people less, cut cost somewhere until I had enough in the budget to support what needed supporting. When it comes to facilities not being compliant with ADA regulations. Again I would have a meeting as the incoming AD and start asking questions. These regulations are ones that absolutely have to be met in order to host events and practices alike. If that means the university has to shift money once again in order to cover the cost of updates so be it. To me, it sounds like my fellow administrators have some serious budget concerns that may be able to be fixed of people weren’t so lazy and/or greedy.

Rich, W. H. (2015, November 30). Why Students Foot the Bill for College Sports, and How Some Are Fighting Back. The Washington Post. Retrieved March, 2017, from http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P2-39029092.html?refid=easy_hf

Thomas, K. (2011, May 01). Colleges Cut Men’s Programs to Satisfy Title IX. Retrieved March, 2017, from http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/02/sports/02gender.html

By: Liz De Souze Ghellere

First, I would like to describe what the Title IX is, “The Title IX, law since 1972, ensures that women have the equal opportunity as man to participate in sports at institutions that receive federal money.” (Pedersen and Thibault, 2014). As a new Athletic Director, I would not do anything by myself. I would contact all the staff and coaches, have meetings, discuss options, and try to find solutions. I believe that cutting a men’s sport is not the right decision, because it would be unfair with the students-athletes of specific sport, with their coach and any employee that the sport involves. After contacting the staff and coaches, I would meet with the president or board of trustees to discuss what we came up with. Therefore, one of the best ways to deal with the problem, in my opinion, is to raise the student fees, do some fund raising with the athletic department, and try to contact as many donors as possible to ask for help, so we could fund an additional women’s sport. Also, the idea of adding more girls to the teams seems good as well. Maybe the university cannot afford scholarships, but I know for a fact that many girls would like to join the teams as walk-ons. This last idea gives opportunities to girls to join in sports, increasing the number of women participating. However, I do not know if just this last solution would be enough. That is why I believe the option of contacting the president and the board would be the best one.

Related to the ADA regulations, the first thing I would do is estimate how much money is needed for all the change necessary. Michael Williams, CMAA, coordinator of athletics of the Howard County Public School System in Ellicott City, stated that some of the implications to have a regulate facility is, “Budget – Boards of education and superintendents will be forced to increase spending to accommodate athletes with disabilities (preferred) and/or cut existing programs (discouraged). A 10-percent increase in spending can be expected if no existing programs are cut.” I agree with him, I believe cutting programs is not the best option. This is why, one more time, I believe addressing the president and trying to find different solutions is the best option, maybe a bank loan would be a good possibility, depending how much money is needed. Another option I would handle it would be by cutting some spends from each sports, such as expensive travels, new uniforms, new equipment, etc. And try to find organizations and associations related to ADA which can help to fund raise for these accommodations that need to be done.

References:

Pedersen, P. M. & Thibault, L. (Eds.). (2014). Contemporary sport management (5th ed.). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics

Williams, M. (2014, July 27). Accommodating disabled students into athletic programs. Retrieved from https://www.nfhs.org/articles/accommodating-disabled-students-into-athletic-programs/

Issues in Professional Sports

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We try to expose our students to an array of topics in the Intro to Sports Administration course. This past module looked at professional sports and students were asked to debate one of four different topics. Posted here is a sampling of that debate.

Yes, Salary Caps Are Necessary

By: Marcia Lovett

There has been non-stop debate on whether salary caps are necessary in professional sports. The topic of salary caps has caused many heated conversations on the topic. Each side presenting their reasons to support their stand on this issue. I am here to provide reasons to support the use of salary caps. A salary cap is the maximum amount of money that can be paid in salaries to all members of a professional sports team. The maximum amount is the collective total of everyone’s salary. An article from Investopedia states that enforcing a limit to how much a team can spend on their athletes has been around at least since the Great Depression. This implies that this debate has been ongoing for a very long time.

There are several reasons to support the continued use of salary caps. According to USA Today, one advantage of having salary caps is that salary caps could help small-market teams because having salary maximums can prevent big-market teams from acquiring all of the available talent on one team. This could create a “sports monopoly” where the teams with the money would thrive and the teams without would wither away and disappear.  Additionally, spreading the talent around increases competition by leveling the playing field. Mark Wallace believes that increased competition sparks regional and national interests because it can attract a larger television audience. This in turn attracts advertisers (with deep pockets) that are willing to sign lucrative contract which will generate more revenue. Larger viewing audiences draw advertisers that are willing to pay top dollar to advertise their products the viewing audience.

Salary caps can dictate how a player is paid. Although the player had signed a multi-million dollar contract, they may not began to receive the “big” checks for a year or two (or three). This could encourage the player to continue to play at their best to work towards the big payday that they have always dreamed of and draw the crowds to witness the athletic ability of the athletes.

There are some very good reasons to support the continued use of salary caps in professional sports. Trying to ensure that there is equity amongst the various teams is beneficial to the team’s fans and surrounding community. A fan base that is proud of their team will show their support for their team by purchasing team gear and attending the sporting events.

Salary caps are good. Salary caps are bad. Salary caps are needed. No, they are not. The debate goes on…

USA Today. (2004, September 1). Pros, cons of salary caps. Retrieved from  http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/sports/2004-09-01-pros-cons-salary-cap_x.htm

Neiger, C. (2010, September 28). How Salary Caps Changed Sports. Investopedia. Retrieved from http://www.investopedia.com/financial-edge/0910/how-salary-caps-changed-sports.aspx

Wallace, Maxwell. (nd). The Advantages of Salary Caps. Chron. Retrieved from http://smallbusiness.chron.com/advantages-salary-caps-18682.html

No, Salary Caps Are Not Necessary

By: Lauren Bluhm

I do not believe professional sports should have a salary cap. The first thing that comes to my mind about player salaries is if a team wants to pay you that much money to be on their team, then you must be doing something right. Baseball has shown us that when there is no salary cap, teams are more aggressive to go after the players they want in order to build the impeccable team they desire. With this being said during free agency you can expect to see some player salary contracts soar because of how coveted they are.

There are some people believe salary caps would take the fun out of the game and we would always have the same team winning the championship. The MLB has proven this to be untrue. According to the article “We Don’t Need Salary Caps,” over the past 11 years, nine different teams have won the World Series. This shows that you do not need salary caps for your league to survive and they really have no affect on creating competition. In reality salary caps really only affects on profits of ownership (Perry, 2013).

Even though I believe players should be paid based on their success, money doesn’t always buy success. Salary caps wouldn’t necessarily hurt the players, but are they getting all that they are worth? At the end of the day players will still make money aside from what they receive in their contract. Highly recognized athletes, who are usually the ones making the big bucks, also make money aside from what they receive in their contract. Players make plenty of money doing advertising, by having their apparel sell in stores.

The public may be under the impression that higher player contracts on their team means higher ticket prices. This is also a misconception that leads people to be more in favor of player salary caps. Ticket prices are determined by the consumer demand, not by how much a team wants to pay their players.

Whether or not there are salary caps really only affect team owners and add a little spice to trades. If the MLB were to establish a player salary cap the only ones really benefiting from the change would be the owners.

Yes, Fantasy Sports is Good for Professional Sports

By: Aron Adamovich

Fantasy sports are good for the professional sporting industry in many aspects in regards to ratings, attendance, and sponsorships. More people than ever are involved in fantasy leagues or daily fantasy sports, which is the growing trend in the United States.  Picking daily fantasy players based on  skills and match up in any sport is an easy way for sports fans to get involved in every game, while potentially making money off of their players production.  Fans are no longer only drawn to favorite local sports teams, as daily fantasy sports (DFS) has opened up the eyes of people to watch teams from all over the country.  Up to date statistics on I-phones have revolutionized the way fantasy sports are played and the manner in which people view them.  Professional sports teams have reaped the benefits of fantasy sports recently, the only downside is fans constantly checking their phones during live events instead of watching the event itself.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver is a big advocate for fantasy sports as he showed in 2015 by becoming an equity investor in FanDuel. “If there is a statistic that puts dollar signs in the heads of league commissioners, it’s this one: Fans consume 40% more sports content across all media once they start playing FanDuel.” In professional sports, money is what makes everything move, so when owners see these statistics about increased fan consumption, they will get on board with fantasy sports in a heartbeat.  I think the draw to fantasy sports is also displayed by the amount of professional athletes who are involved.  Forming fantasy leagues with your teammates, while following which player has the most daily points can be a fascinating experience for those directly involved in the game.

Fantasy sports are at the highest level of participation that we have ever seen, with daily fantasy sports becoming popular in golf majors, NBA, and MLB.  Of the 56.8 million fantasy players, more than 40 million play fantasy football, which is by far the most popular fantasy sport.  The NFL leads the way in fantasy interest due to their short season of 16 games with games only being played once a week and their overall popularity across the United States. When playing fantasy sports it really can become a skill of what player to choose and knowing when to choose them. The NFL will recognize the importance of fantasy sports as people continue to tune in to random games in hopes of their fantasy players having break out games and winning money for them.  NFL RedZone is one of the beneficiaries of fantasy sports due to their showing of all touchdowns and big plays every Sunday, as they bounce from game to game.  Fantasy sports will continue to grow in popularity in the coming years as more females and youth are getting involved, which should help professional teams viewing numbers.

No, Fantasy Sports is Not Good for Professional Sports

By: Zach Bryon

As an avid fantasy football guy, it kills me to say that I don’t believe fantasy sports is good for the professional sports industry. It is completely fine to have a group of 10 of my buddies, putting $20 each in a pot and the winner takes it all. But once you have NFL players having their fantasy teams, or involved in daily fantasy sports, then it becomes a problem. Fantasy sports, if putting money on the line, is gambling. I don’t care what anyone says; I was in a $100 buy in league, and every game (ask my girlfriend), I was a roller-coaster of emotions, because I felt like I had so much riding on these games. If you have football players having fantasy teams, and having buy ins in fantasy leagues, they can potentially control the outcomes, which in itself is scary not only for fantasy owners, but to the real NFL owners, who put millions and millions of dollars into these players to perform. Instead of rooting for one singular team, I find myself rooting for one or two players from many NFL teams. I found myself at a Lions game, rooting the Lions to victory, while hoping that Jordy Nelson of the Green Bay Packers caught a touchdown; It becomes a total conflict of interest.

This also causes a lot of drama and hate toward players. An instant with Eagles running back Brian Westbrook proved how crazy people get over fantasy football. He took a knee at the one yard line, to secure a win, instead of running in for a touchdown, people were mad that he made the smart play to help his team win. Players have also received death threats from people whose fantasy teams lost because of a player’s poor performance. Fantasy sports have created a monster with fans, and as a fantasy football player, it kills me to say this, but fantasy football is killing the professional sports industry.

Negligence in School Sports

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We have all heard of a lawsuit that was filed for one reason or another. Whether it was over hot coffee spilled at McDonald’s or lying to the EPA from Volkswagon, lawsuits happen. Students in our Interscholastic Sports Administration course were asked to research a negligence lawsuit related to school sports and comment on the implications to athletic administrators. Read a few of their responses below.

By: Samantha Bohy

The case I chose to summarize deals with a high school football player catastrophically injured after suffering a minor injury in the same game.  The athlete injured his ankle early in a high school football game and continued to play. Several plays later, the coach made the athlete go get evaluated by the athletic trainer. The certified athletic trainer was not present, so the volunteer student athletic trainer evaluated, taped, functionally tested the athlete, and released him to return to play.  He later sustained a debilitating spinal fracture and spinal cord injury.  The lawsuit was filed against the coach, certified athletic trainer, and athletic training student for negligently returning the athlete to play after the ankle injury, leading to the athlete suffering the spinal cord injury.  The court ultimately ruled in favor of the school district, claiming that the California Interscholastic Federation’s sports medicine handbook should outline the standard of care provided to the student, not the National Athletic Trainers’ Association, since California does not regulate athletic training standards.  There are many issues with this case, even more than are outlined by the article, but basically the athletic trainer was not found negligent because of the lack of athletic training standards and regulations in the state of California.

The implications for athletic administrators are to be aware of the standard of care necessary to different groups of people and to know the standards of care provided by any national or certifying agency regarding a healthcare professional.  These are outlined explicitly in this case since the jury was allegedly not provided a descriptive enough standard by which to determine if the athletic trainer acted as a reasonably prudent person would have.  When there are higher standards of practice set forth by certification agencies (Board of Certification), the athletic trainer or healthcare provider at the school may be held to a higher standard than a lay person.  Also, California is one of few states without regulation of athletic trainers.  This means a person must only obtain a certification to practice as an athletic trainer and the profession is unprotected.  In other states, it is a requirement that the athletic trainer be certified by the Board of Certification (BOC) as well as be licensed by the state they practice in.  This means not just anyone can call themselves an athletic trainer and the athletic administrator should know exactly what training the individual has had.  Student athletic trainers are bound by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE) and may not perform any duties without direct supervision of a certified athletic trainer.  It is important for the administrator to be aware of these issues to protect themselves against future or current lawsuits.

Wolohan, J.T. (2014). Negligence, Athletic Trainers at Heart of Football Lawsuit. Athletic Business. Retrieved from http://www.athleticbusiness.com/civil-actions/negligence-athletic-trainers-at-heart-of-high-school-football-lawsuit.html

By: Ashley Long

Donna Andreozzi PPA Nicholas Andreozzi v. Town of East Haven et al., 2015 Conn. Super. LEXIS 854.

While at practice, a middle school cross-country runner fractured his wrist after tripping over a bench that was placed in the middle of the track. His mother sued the coach and school for negligence, citing the school handbook’s statement that all coaches are to provide safeguards for their athletes. She claimed that the coach should have removed the bench prior to allowing the students to run, as it is his job to provide a safe and secure environment for his team. The court ruled in favor of the school, claiming that the coach had governmental immunity in this situation. Several exceptions could have been met to remove immunity from the coach, but the court found that because the event was voluntary and occurred after school, none of the exceptions could be met.

The implication for athletic directors is that we need to be very aware of the “small stuff.” A bench in the middle of the track seems like an obvious obstacle for an athlete to both see and run around. A coach may not see that as a liability. However, it’s also an obvious obstacle that should not be on the track while kids are running in the first place; which means the coach should have noticed it and moved it—if only to make the run less annoying. We can never assume that students will do the “right” or common sense thing.

By: Zach Johnson

Rios v. Grossmont Union High School District is the first negligence court case that I decided to look at. This case revolves around a junior varsity football player at Grossmont Union High School in California in 2008. The player, Colton Rios, felt his ankle pop when he was tackled but was left in the game after telling a coach what happened. After a couple plays he was sent to see the trainer as get his ankle taped. The head athletic trainer was not present so Rios saw an athletic training student and after an examination was cleared to return to play. After returning to play Rios fractured two vertebrae. Rios’ mother then filed the law suit stating that the athletic department was negligent in allowing her son to return to the game after his initial ankle injury.

During the case, Rios fought that the National Athletic Training Association (NATA) standards should have governed in this situation because athletic training certification is done exclusively through NATA. The school district argued that the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) should be the governing standards because the state of California does not require high schools to have a certified athletic on staff, and the CIF has their own sports medicine handbook.

The court found that the district was not negligent in this situation, but Rios appealed the decision. During the appeals process it was also found that the district was not negligent. The thing that was learned from this case is that it is always important to know the standards that you are working under. (Wolohan, 2014)

Wolohan, J. T. (2014, August). Negligence, Athletic Trainers at Heart of Football Lawsuit. Retrieved March 29, 2017, from Athletic Business: http://www.athleticbusiness.com/civil-actions/negligence-athletic-trainers-at-heart-of-high-school-football-lawsuit.html

Concerns in College Athletics

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With the NCAA Men’s and Women’s basketball tournaments nearing their respective ends, all eyes are focused on college athletics. Students in our Intro to Sports Administration course looked at college athletics this past week and some of the problems that have arisen around it. Take a read through a few of their comments below.

By: Christina Harris

Academic neglect in collegiate sport has spiraled so far out of control that the lines of priority has become blurred. Sports for many provided a gateway to higher education. It was supposed to be an added benefit to the poor whom otherwise may not have been able to afford to go to college. Athletics was supposed to “even the playing field” of academics by providing minorities with the same opportunities as white students. Conversely, somewhere the focus of education got lost in the bright lights of football fields and screaming basketball fans. Somewhere, the colleges and universities dropped the ball and failed student-athletes by shifting the focus from academics to athletics. By any means necessary, the NCAA have undermined education and robbed student-athletes of the fundamental requirements needed to be productive citizens.

Most college athletes do not go on to play professional sports and those that do, careers are short. Therefore, the ability to read, write and comprehend is essential to their time spent at a prestigious university. According to Mary Willingham, Sixty percent of the University of North Carolina’s football and basketball players read below the 8th grade level. After the lights fade and the cheering stops, what is left for the students that generated billions for colleges? Nothing. No secondary skills to fall back on and no compensation for the athletes who never go pro.

It has become a culture for athletes to care about sports more than their studies. The culture is within the schools and among the players. Therefore, new student coming in who want to make a good impression will adopt that same culture just to fit in and be a part of the team and school that is failing them in the real world.  Schools should be held accountable for not educating athletes at the highest level.

The NCAA should adopt a #StudentBeforeAthlete movement to show their commitment to students getting a proper education. We have become a nation obsessed with sports while the rest of the world are producing global leaders in technology and medicine. This way of thinking is hurting us all and needs to change for the sake of American culture.

By: Sydni Clark-Harley

O’Bannon Vs. NCAA was a supreme court lawsuit filed against NCAA in June of 2013. Ed O’Bannon was a former UCLA basketball player whose lawsuit sought to end the NCAA’s control over the rights to athlete’s names, images and merchandise without the proper compensation.Universities all over the country are able to sell collegiate paraphernalia displaying the athlete’s name, picture and other merchandise related to players without paying them a single dime.

Today, this is one of the most controversial topics that involve the NCAA and student athletes. “The NCAA as a whole makes $6 billion annually but the players themselves don’t see any of that money, even as they risk career-ending injuries every time that they step onto the court, field or rink.” (usnews, 2014). In fact, collegiate athletes are forced to wait until they turn professional to receive any form of payment for services rendered.

Wilkens, the US District Court Judge ruled, “the NCAA and schools are allowed to cap the amount, but it can’t be lower than $5,000 for every year an athlete remains academically eligible.” ( Solomon, 2014) Wilkens suggested that the compensation be put into a trust fund, but she did not stop the NCAA from enforcing its regulations and restrictions on the issue. After a five-year battle, in August of 2014 the ruling was over ruled because it violated the federal antitrust law.

The significance of this topic is the amount of money circulating throughout collegiate sports and how that money is distributed to the schools and athletic programs based on how well the athletes perform. It seems as though television sponsors, colleges and universities, as well as the NCAA are making a profit due to apparent free labor.

The O’Bannon ruling because of the on going conversation about college athletes and receiving compensation could impact the future of college athletics. In the future this could alter the way scholarships are funded, who can receive scholarships, and raise labor law concerns.

https://www.usnews.com/debate-club/should-ncaa-athletes-be-paid

https://www.forbes.com/sites/bdavidridpath/2015/09/30/this-just-in-the-ncaa-violates-anti-trust-law/#4a5d77f81099

http://www.cbssports.com/college-football/news/qa-what-the-obannon-ruling-means-for-ncaa-schools-and-athletes/

By: William Wheat

Out of all the different topics brought up I find that athletics and crimes is the most important topic that needs to be discussed. One may be able to say an athlete accused of criminal activity and ending up with a clean record is not uncommon. Athletes who have faced charges against them or were named as suspects at the University of Florida were not prosecuted 56 percent of the time from 2009 to 2014.  From the many articles that I have read, top Division 1 schools are the Universities that you hear about athletes getting away with committing crimes the most.  As a college athlete I have learned that there is much more that goes on behind the scenes that a person who is not an athlete would know.

In the article http://education.findlaw.com/higher-education/college-athletes-and-crime-what-happens-when-players-break-the-l.html it talks about “college athletes who commit crimes are subject to prosecution just like everyone else, but they often face additional by college administrators and athletic departments as well”.  If a college athletic is accused of a crime they may be suspended from all activities while the investigation is going on.  Most times at Universities there is an extra judicial process for addressing an alleged violation of the code of ethics.  Or even more importantly a lot of the time the Athletic Director often decides the fate of student athletes.  From what I have seen from both high school athletics and college athletics, the Athletic Director and normally football or basketball coaches are really close.

Former Oklahoma University basketball player Darrell Williams was convicted of sexual battery and rape in 2012. Later on down the line the convictions was overturned due to improper actions by jurors. According to sources that were interviewed by ESPN, “head coach Travis Ford allegedly told Williams and other teammates to get their stories straight, in effort to protect the accused”. Officers from Stillwater Police Department stated that coach Ford made every effort to block them from locating Williams.  This is just one of the many examples of athletes being protected from crimes that they commit.

The article http://www.whio.com/news/crime–law/rape-charges-dropped-against-stanford-swimmer/m4XnVb2R9fcOlbvzgjIpPN/ talks about former standout Stanford University swimmer, Brock Turner that was charged with rape of an intoxicated person and rape of an unconscious person. Both of these charges were later dropped. “According to the Stanford Daily, the woman Turner is accused of raping gave a full recount of the afternoon and evening of the alleged assault, including what meals she consumed and what she wore at the part”. Based on my career in Law Enforcement I have dealt with cases where women have been raped and the initial report they told me one story, but when they went to testify more things were added to the story. That does not mean that person is lying at all. All victims do not remember everything that has happened right after, sometimes it takes time.  Athletes should be treated just like everyone else when it comes to committing crimes.

I believe this will impact the future of college athletics in a negative way. The more athletes continue to get away with committing crimes, the more they are going to think its okay to continue to commit them. For example if you are a store owner and you catch the same teenager stealing from your store once a month, but you refuse to call the police or contact the teenagers parents, the more likely he will continue to steal from your store, because he knows there will not be a punishment for his actions. I personally know a current NFL player who constantly got in trouble at the University he attended for public intoxication. He told me because he was an athlete he was never seriously punished. Four years later he plays for an NFL team and once again got in trouble for public intoxication. Only this time he was suspended and fined. He told me he wish he would of gotten a serious punishment back in college because if he did he wouldn’t be in the situation he is today.

Advertising in Professional Sports

hockey-jerseys

Ads are everywhere. You can’t drive down the freeway, open Facebook, or watch TV without being bombarded with advertisements. One place that has been left untouched is the uniforms of professional athletes. Players in the MLB, NHL, NFL, and NBA are not allowed to have logos of sponsors on their jerseys. Students in our Professional Sports Administration course were asked for their thoughts on where teams should not be allowed to place corporate logos. Check out a few of their thoughts below.

By: Kelly Reigler

For professional sports teams it is essential to find the balance between bringing in enough sponsorship revenue and retaining the integrity of the game. Larger professional sports leagues in the united states limit sponsorship sales to places such as inside the stadium, on digital and print media, and giveaways where uniforms are untouched by sponsorship dollars (disregarding the apparel sponsor). In contrast, NASCAR and the MLS are able to sell sponsorships on uniforms, cars, and other places left free of sponsors in other leagues such as the MLB and NHL.

Personally, I believe that integrity of the game should be maintained but that there are new avenues that can be explored as far as sponsorship activations are concerned. In the MLS, for example, their kits are sponsored by one corporation; i.e. the Portland Timbers’ kits are sponsored by Alaskan Airlines. I do not believe that this type of sponsorship takes away from the integrity of the game, but it should be limited to a non-ostentatious single sponsor which still provides brand conscientious uniforms.

That being said, MLB teams should be able to sell a reasonable amount of sponsorship real estate in regards to batting practice jerseys, outfield grass, and game bases. It is imperative to find the balance between maximizing revenue and understanding that team identity is important in the sports industry. Overall, sponsorship opportunities should be more open, with limitations placed on size, integrity, and location to retain team identity.

By: Zaid Beeai

Sponsorship of various kinds is becoming more and more common place in modern day professional sports. From logos on jerseys, to banners in stadiums, all the way to entire stadiums being named after a company. I believe that sponsorship and corporate logos aren’t necessarily a bad thing as long as they are managed and kept at a certain minimum relative to a professional leagues personal standards/rules. Logo placement on jerseys isn’t a big deal as long as it doesn’t take up the entire jersey. I feel the same way about sponsorship placement in stadiums and on equipment. If the sponsorship banners, logos, signs are not taking up an obscene amount of room than I don’t see it being an issue, especially in baseball where the field is quite large. If you had a couple logos in the outfield and small logos on the top of a helmet than I don’t see that being an issue. Professional sports leagues like the MLB just have to make sure to keep their sponsorship/logo rules in check. You can’t have it getting to the point where Pepsi has a massive logo taking up all of center field or the sprint logo sticking out on an MLB player’s jersey when he is up to bat. I believe that would be crossing the line and would be risking taking away from the integrity of America’s greatest pastime.

By: Michael Field

In the film Major League, manager Lou Brown expresses early frustration as the team enters the field at their spring training complex to find the outfield wall spackled in advertisements. It becomes a running gag during Harry Doyle’s play-by-play in the next scene, as the move is considered to be reserved for the minors. We’ve come a long way since that movie.

As sports continue to evolve, it’s becoming commonplace. This year, MLB is introducing the New Era logo on the side of caps. Next year, three NBA teams will include ads on jerseys. While advertisements are important and necessary, there needs to be a balance. I’d prefer to see ads on playing surfaces (NHL) than on uniforms. Most people point to pro soccer as a reference for ads that are prevalent and not tacky, but at some point there has to be a limit.

Think about stadium naming rights. Many teams are constantly reselling and changing the names of their buildings. While it has been quite profitable, it has ruined the noteworthiness of each unique arena and caused confusion for fans both in and out of town.

If an MLB teams looks to sell more ads, on-field, batting practice and bases are fine places to start – and I’d even throw in the netting behind home plate. However, the traditional looking uniforms in baseball are one of the best-kept traditions, and the MLB should look to preserve this as part of the game’s integrity.

By: Lynsday Butler

I tend to have traditional beliefs when it comes to selling sponsorship and displaying corporate logos. While I do believe that MLB teams could expand revenue by allowing corporate logos to be tastefully represented on the walls, or the bases, I agree with the traditional standards that corporate logos should not be placed on any type of jersey. When teams are wearing their uniform, whether it’s a batting practice jersey or the game jersey, they are representing their team and their city, and in my opinion there is no need for any other company or sponsor to be on there taking away from that. Not to mention, baseball is a respected game and every team wants to look classy. If there were multiple corporate logos on jerseys, that would stick out more than the team name and it would make the uniform look tacky.

It is important to consider potential options when trying to increase revenue. Factoring in new ideas such as selling sponsorship for corporate logos on stadium walls or small logos on bases could be very beneficial, but respecting the traditions and integrity of the game is just as important. This is why I would say no to any type of logo on team jerseys, because that completely goes against the standing tradition. Corporate logos work for NASCAR and other sports leagues, but I strongly believe that MLB should stick to their tradition and avoid placing any advertisements on team jerseys or equipment.

Athletes, Leagues and Drug Use

cheaties

Ethical Issues are always a concern in society, but maybe not more so that in the world of professional sports. Winning is required! And how you get there doesn’t always matter. Students in our Sport Leadership course looked at the issues related to MLB and commented on whether or not they thought MLB and MLBPA applied ethical decision making in the 1990’s when the records began falling and the drug use became rampant. Read a few of their responses below.

By: Brandon Craig

This is an interesting topic and I am looking forward to discussing it and hearing others opinions. My thoughts on the use of performance enhancing drugs are often a mixed batch. I think that as professional athletes, the gap between being good/great/elite is so small that players are willing to go to great links to separate themselves. Even if this means bending or breaking rules. I am not at all saying I condone cheating, I DO NOT, what I am saying is I can understand what might bring someone to making that decision. I also tend to believe that the drug testing measures and protocols in all major professional sports is one massive cat and mouse game. New drugs are always being created and used to enhance performance. Ones that are not currently blacklisted. This is often followed by the leagues catching up and banning more and more substances. In my opinion, it Is to much to keep up with. So I tend to just turn a blind eye and not care.

To the question regarding whether or not the MLB and MLBPA applied or failed to apply the ethical guidelines from chapter one in our book, I can see arguments from all sides honestly. It really just boils down to how one actual views what is ethical and what isn’t. I believe that the MLB and MLBPA both recognized that there was an issue with PED’s. I don’t think either side knew exactly what to do with that information. So they both did what most people would do and just sat on it, almost hoping it would go away. When they realized that it was not, the MLB decided they were going to look like the “good guy” and implement a new drug testing protocol. It doesn’t work like that it profession sports unfortunately. So eventually the two parties made a decision, tested it, and acted in a way that they could agree on. So they did apply some of the ethical guidelines, but in my opinion still failed to accurately and effectively address the problem.

Yes, I do believe the MLBPA was ethical in its resistance to a drug testing program. The reason I believe this is because of the CBA. The Collective Bargaining agreement. Most of us have heard or witnessed labor strikes due to a disagreement during these negotiations. If the MLBPA and MLB had an agreed upon system in place, and when it was time to revisit and create and new CBA, then the MLBPA has every right to BARGAIN! That is the point of these discussions whether it is over money, free agency, contracts, or drug testing programs. Both sides sit down and go back and forth until an agreement it made. To me, it is not unethical for them to resist a drug testing program if the MLB was unwilling to agree to something else as well. Prior to that, if the MLB did have knowledge of wide spread PED use in their league and chose to do nothing about it, then I would say that it unethical yes. From the standpoint that they had knowledge and did nothing about it because they wanted more money. Money does drive people to make poor and unethical decisions. Our book describes ethical decisions as ones made by principled decision making. “The desire and ability to engage in principled decision making often distinguishes superior sport managers from their peers. Principled decision making is basing decisions on the six pillars of character–trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and good citizenship.” (Pedersen & Thibault 2014) I do not believe that the MLB made ethical or principled decisions.

The key word for me in the last question is “IF”. I think it is widely assumed and accepted that the MLB knew full-well that there was wide spread use but it is extremely hard to prove who knew what. But if we assume that they did know, no it is not ethical for them to withhold information or any attempts to change the culture, only to reel in more customers. Again I go back to the notion that money drives many terrible decisions and greed can change people. However unethical, I really can understand why they would ever do that though. We live in an age when people want excitement and they want it now. High scoring games in all sports is the desire for nearly all patrons. Whether that is home runs, 50 yard plus touchdowns in the NFL, or ten goals a game in the NHL, fans are different now than they have ever been. According to and article on  thehockeynews.com, “After a ho-hum regular season and so-so post season, the NHL has to find a way to boost scoring for fans, who are foaming at the mouth for more goals. Lucky for the league, there’s an easy way to do it: change the icing rule.” (Shaker) So if the fans are getting what they want, who is really concerned about PED usage? Allowing it to happen, and doing nothing about it is absolutely unethical and a black mark on whatever sport it is happening it. As long as fans are the consumer and continue to pay billions of dollars to be entertained, there are going to be sports managers who both bend and break conventional ethics.

Pedersen, P. M., & Thibault, L. (2014). Contemporary sport management(5th ed.).

Shuker, R. (n.d.). This radical rule change would increase scoring in the NHL. Retrieved February 23, 2017, from http://www.thehockeynews.com/news/article/this-radical-rule-change-would-increase-scoring-in-the-nhl

By: Erica Cora

In what way did MLB and MLBPA leaders apply (or fail to apply) the ethical guidelines presented in chapter 1?

The ethical decision guidelines are listed as recognizing an ethical issue, get the facts, evaluate alternative actions, make a decision and test it, and finally to act and reflect on the outcome (Pedersen, 2014). The MLB and MLBPA leaders failed to apply the ethical guidelines. I think that their ideas of ethical issues were corrupted. Rather than considering fair play and sportsmanship and the example that they and the professional sport athletes are to fans, leadership took only the facts that were known about the business. The leaders did not recognize that there was an ethical issue because based on the facts that they were concerned with, the drugs were creating a profitable business.

Using your knowledge of ethical decision-making, was the MLBPA being ethical when it resisted a drug-testing program? What about management?

Something that interests me about the first point of recognizing ethical issues in the ethical guidelines is: what is an ethical issue? The point states “Could this decision or situation be damaging to someone or to some group? Does this decision involve a choice between a good and bad group” (Pedersen, 2014)? If I simple look at this first consideration of ethics to determine if there in an issue here, I would agree that MLB and MLBPA leaders failed to take appropriate actions. However, if the leaders felt that rather than being damaging to a group of people, that the drugs would create more success for the business, fame and fortune for the athletes, are positives, then the argument could be made that there was no ethical issue, based on the first point alone. By resisting the drug-testing program management and the MLBPA were ensuring that success came from the performance produced by the use of these drugs.

If owners and baseball executives were truly aware of performance-enhancing drug use in the mid- to late 1990s, was it ethical to ignore this circumstance while millions flocked to baseball stadiums to see incredible displays of offensive skill?

It is clearly not ethical to ignore the use of performance enhancing drugs while millions flocked to watch the baseball games. This is because we are now considering the viewers of the game as an individual factor. Being in the spotlight, management should have considered how their fans would interpret their use of performance-enhancing drugs (regardless of if they could argue it not being an ethical issue). As far back as 2003, there have been arrests and serious consequences to the use of drugs in professional sport (Performance Enhancing Drugs in Sports, 2017). Because the use of steroids and other drugs are illegal, I would consider them to be unethical, as should the management. Therefore, if the baseball executives were truly aware of the illegal activities, it would have been unethical to ignore it.

References

Pedersen, P. M. & Thibault, L. (Eds.). (2014). Contemporary sport management (5th ed.). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.

Performance Enhancing Drugs in Sports. (2017, January 26). Retrieved February 23, 2017, from http://www.cnn.com/2013/06/06/us/performance-enhancing-drugs-in-sports-fast-facts/

By: Kristen Long

The MLB and MLBPA failed to apply the ethical guidelines for a while because they knew that some players were using steroids. They did not want them to get caught because they were bringing in more fans, more records were being broken, and more money was being made overall. I believe that the MLBPA was not making ethical decisions. I think that players should be drug tested and the MLBPA was banning that, which is unfair. The reason I believe it is so wrong is because anyone can take steroids and become stronger. Why should these professional baseball players be given millions/billions of dollars when they are being dishonest and cheating? What kind of role models will kids look up to? Should those records count? “While just three players reached the 50-home run mark in any season between 1961 and 1994, many sluggers would start to surpass that number in the mid-90s” (ESPN). I think that all programs were dishonest and trying to hide the fact that some players were doing drugs just to get more money. It’s not fair and it is unethical. “Widespread use by players of such substances unfairly disadvantages the honest athletes who refuse to use them and raises questions about the validity of baseball records” (Mitchel, SR-8). This poses a problem for other baseball players and future baseball players that want to become professionals. If they cannot reach the goals of then does that mean they will be looked at as not very good? This is why it is important to drug test athletes. I also disagree when there was suspicion of drug use in the 90’s and nothing was done about it. How is this fair to other players who do not to this? I think if there was a hint of any use of drugs then management and MLBPA, MLB should have looked into it. Maybe the problem would have been better avoided in the early 2000s if done so.

References:

http://www.espn.com/mlb/topics/_/page/the-steroids-era

http://files.mlb.com/mitchrpt.pdf