Last week, over the Thanksgiving holiday, I visited seven of our member institutions. I flew to New Orleans, began my trip with a visit to Tulane, and then drove to Southern Mississippi, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Kentucky, Louisville and Marshall University and then back to DC.
During that time, I met with several of our ADs and saw a few football games, including the Egg Bowl between Mississippi State and Ole Miss and the Governor’s Cup between Kentucky and Louisville, and also took in a basketball game at the historic Rupp Arena.
My biggest impression on the trip was all the great facilities at our schools from the training room, to sports performance areas, to stadiums, and arenas— facilities for many different sports. Many facilities have naming rights thanks to fundraising efforts of our schools and have been financed by charitable donations by benefactors.
It is important to note that colleges and universities across the nation have been on a building boom and have spent roughly $11 billion or more on new facilities each year since 2010 and athletic facilities constitute only a fraction of that amount- but it still represents hundreds of millions of dollars of new sports facilities. These new sports facilities have greatly enhanced the student-athlete experience.
Next week in my Byte, I will discuss the risk to these charitable donations if pay-for-play model is imposed on college sports.