Pac-10 Turns Gun On Self With Football Cutbacks

The INDIANAPOLIS STAR reports today that the Pac-10 has a proposal in front of the NCAA that would ban college football teams from staying in hotels the night before home games. The hotel @ home thing is regular practice among high profile programs, and has been for years.

College Women's Synchronized Swimming

(Crappy college sports aren’t a right, but a college football-fueled privilege)

If I have to explain to you why USC, Ohio State or LSU would want their players in a hotel before a home game, you might as well stop reading this post. Or, apply for a job at the Pac-10.

The Pac-10 proposal cites cost control and also claims the change would help integrate athletes more fully with the student body.

So let me get this straight: The Pac-10 is saying that USC’s football team, which generates millions in revenue and priceless P.R. for the school and conference shouldn’t be allowed to spend $50K to keep its athletes off-campus the night before a home game? The same USC football team that pays for the school’s entire money-losing athletic program?

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Apparently those at the Pac-10 and NCAA don’t realize that the primary reason most of them have jobs is football and college basketball revenue. Take interest away from those sports and what do you get? No money for women’s water polo and cubicle drones at the Pac-10 home office.

I do realize that some people may view this move by the Pac-10 as a competitive ploy against other conferences. In other words, since some of the folks who oversee Pac-10 school athletic budgets have run them into the ground and can no longer afford the hotel @ home thing, they want the rest of the country’s conferences to adopt the policy.

This also may turn into an internal battle within conferences, pitting small schools like say Washington State and Oregon State against USC and UCLA.

No matter how you view the practice though, the fact remains that NCAA Division I football and men’s basketball pay all the bills for the NCAA and Pac-10 - so taking away the ability to keep football players out of trouble the night before the big game is masochistic insanity. But since we all know the impenetrable bubble that university personnel live inside, the proposal is anything but unbelievable.

The biggest irony in all of this is that the Pac-10 is claiming the measure would save money for the schools. But if that small cost-cutting measure lead to USC’s best player getting suspended for the rest of the season because of Friday night extracurriculars, how do you think that would affect school revenue for the balance of the season and beyond?

I covered minor, non-revenue sports at the University of Georgia, South Carolina and Ohio State. Every one of the teams I followed had travel budgets easily into the high six figures. In one case, I remember covering the Ohio State women’s basketball team as it played in a tournament at Cal-Berkeley. The team stayed in a first class hotel, ate at the best restaurants and traveled in comfort.

Attendance for the two games Ohio State played in on the trip to Northern California? Less than 500.

Yet we’re talking about “cost containment” for the Ohio State football team, which directly paid for that road trip with its revenue.

Once again, welcome to Opposite Day, which is every single day at the NCAA.