How to “fix” Miami football: A response
Published: Monday, February 18, 2013
Updated: Monday, February 18, 2013 22:02
In Friday’s edition of The Miami Student my esteemed and respected colleague, JM Rieger, made an argument suggesting that Miami football is down for the count. I could not disagree more whole heartedly.
I am on record in this edition of The Miami Student and in the Oxford Week in Review as saying that “money drives intercollegiate athletics” and I stand by my statement, but to suggest that money be a driver of the future of athletics is an unbelievable and incomprehensible statement. As Rieger pointed out, when Miami wins, revenue goes up. The fact is that the Miami football program loses money because we do not field a winning team. If the university makes a commitment to the future of athletics and the future of football, then the losses will be much easier to stomach.
Miami football spends so much money for a few simple reasons. Reason number one being the sheer size of the football program. Every Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) program fields a bare minimum of 53 players on a roster, while many have ballooned to well over 80. Nearly all of these athletes are on scholarship, and every FBS program must maintain a minimum of athletes on scholarship in order to qualify as a program. According to NCAA Bylaw 220.127.116.11, the institution may allow up to 85 scholarship athletes in football alone in any given year. Assuming that Miami has only 50 scholarship athletes in Football and 30 of them come from Ohio that means simply in tuition and fees, Miami athletics spends $1,588,430 on those 50 scholarship athletes. In the grand scheme, comparable to the overall Miami budget of $644,437,495, this is chump change.
Reason number two is travel. Miami must charter busses and planes and hotel rooms for nearly 100 people every time they travel (which is 50 percent of a football season). This year Miami football travelled to Boise, Idaho, which alone cost around $130,000 but the game was featured on national television which for a simple 30 second ad would cost around $10,000...Miami played three hours displaying its logos and colors which could be valued at $3.6 million.
Yes, Miami spends a lot of money on football ... it is a simple fact. But Miami will make much more money in the long run staying as a FBS program. I know many students made it a requirement that their institution of choice for college had a FBS program. How many students would not come to Miami without the draw of major college athletics? I grew up with the understanding that Saturdays in college were for football. If Miami was to drop to an FCS program, how would that affect budget decisions then? Miami would still be forced to travel, Miami would still be forced to field 50+ scholarship athletes, where do we all of a sudden make leaps and bounds in budgetary decisions? We as a university student body must decide if football is important, if that is true then we MUST demand a WINNING program. The issue with football is not the amount of money they spend, it is the record at the end of the season.
If football is to be successful when it comes to dollars then it must be successful in the wins and losses columns. There is a reason that Ohio State can raise a billion dollars in a single fiscal year, it is because people can connect back to their school when they have an outlet for that connection. If it was up to me, Miami would spend MORE money on football. We clearly need a renovation of Yager Stadium because no five-star recruit wants to play in a glorified high school stadium. Boom, $100 million for a new stadium. I’d also hire the best coaches money can buy. Clearly Coach Treadwell’s staff needs some sort of shake up, as two straight 4-8 seasons simply does not cut it today in major FBS athletics. I’d hire the best coordinators away from the best schools with an exorbitant amount of money. Football has the potential to make the school MILLIONS of dollars in alumni donations. Many alumni don’t give because they do not see the results. Collegiate athletics is the easiest way to show this.
Miami is one of the winningest programs in NCAA history, why give up now?