Right or wrong, alumni play a role in who coaches the football team at their alma mater. College athletics is big business and athletic directors are constantly challenged to increase donations and fill the seats in their football stadiums and basketball arenas. The easiest way to do that is with a winning team.
The December 29, 2009 issue of the Daily Camera provided a humorous quote about this topic. It stated…
Urban Meyer will be taking a leave as Florida football coach, some 34 years after Jim Sweeny resigned at Washington State.
Both cited health reasons, but the underlying causes were as dissimilar as their records of 56-10 and 26-59-1.
Meyer suffers from persistent headaches, triggered by stress, rage, and excitement.
Sweeney’s health issue, “The alumni were sick of me.”
Sweeney’s quip raises a number of more serious questions:
• How should the big business of college athletics be funded? State tax dollars? Tuition? Higher ticket prices? Professional sports leagues who use college sports as a farm system? Increased student fees? Increased donations from alumni and corporations?
• Are players adequately paid for their contribution to the big business of college athletics? How much will the cost of programs increase if college athletes are compensated for playing?
• How much say should major donors have in the management and operation of athletic programs? (As funding for colleges and universities dries up this is an even greater issue on the academic side – Athletics has led the way in this regard.)