NCAA Football Players To Lose Hotel Privileges?

The recession’s hitting us all pretty hard. Well, as long as our name isn’t Jerry Jones, anyway. But at our institutions of indentured sports servitude higher learning, the cuts are coming hard and fast, and across the board.

Ramada Not For You

Prime example: the Pac-10, which is actually seeking to ban players from staying in hotel rooms before a game. The thought goes that the cost of putting up the players can be better allocated elsewhere, if not just saved. But then where would the players sleep before a game, you ask? Why, their own dorm rooms.

Wait, what?

Turns out that the Pac-10 is only seeking to ban hotel accomodations… before home games. Yes, teams do this, and as the LAFAYETTE JOURNAL & COURIER reports, it’s actually a substantial part of the budget for a team like Purdue:

For Purdue’s seven home games last year, the program spent $45,520. That includes charges of $4,800 per night for 40 rooms and a total of $11,920 in late departure fees for four nights.

Glenn Tompkins, Purdue’s Senior Associate Athletic Director for Business, said the figure represents between 2.5 and 4 percent of the program’s budget. Tompkins said the actual cost varies each year depending on the number of late afternoon or night games.

That’s a very inartfully worded quote on the hotel price, by the way. It’s $120 per night for 40 rooms, for a total of $4,800 per night. It’s not $4,800 per each room. It took us three readings of the sentence - one with a calculator - to figure that out. Anyway.

Naturally, Purdue head coach Danny Hope is adamant that the hotel stays remain, mainly because “sacrifice” is only part of a football program’s vocabulary when it pertains to play on the field, not with the last vestiges of extravagance that the NCAA haven’t banned yet.

To Hope’s credit - sort of - he cites the need to keep the team together before game day and keep them focused on the task of hand, rather than in their dorms like any regular day.

There’s something to this. Ask any college football player from any level, and they’ll tell you that the biggest part of game days (and the nights prior) is just plain waiting. Sitting around with teammates going over the minutiae of game planning the night before, eating breakfast together, showing up to the stadium three hours early, getting dressed… and counting down the minutes before being relieved of the tedium by, like, stretching.

So it’s probably a good idea from a coach’s standpoint to make that waiting easier by keeping all the players together rather than leaving them to their own devices. Whether that argument holds up in the face of “we’re starving for several tens of thousands of dollars of excess in our budget and that hotel bill’s looking mighty juicy right about now,” though, is another matter entirely.