In the realm of “sport,” there’s a good post by our friend Jeremy over at the site Eagle Totem, “Cost of Attendance, EMU Athletics, and You.” It’s about some rule changes for student athlete scholarships and also about how that is likely connected to EMU getting out of the game at home versus Michigan State. It’s a good read so follow that link. A couple of quotes here:
After years of dragging their feet, the NCAA finally approved cost of attendance increases for student athletes. It was the Power 5 conferences that finally moved on this, as they seemingly control all aspects of college athletics. The ripple effect will eventually hit us here in Ypsilanti, and how the increased costs will be dealt with is uncertain.
The MAC released a statement claiming “the Mid-American Conference’s Council of Presidents has reaffirmed its support of the NCAA’s autonomous legislation that allows for cost of attendance to be included in a grant-in-aid.” In layman’s terms the notion is this — student-athletes will see a bump in their overall scholarship allotment, money to cover food/books/rent etc. The Power 5 masters have pulled the leash, and the Group of 5 subjects have been forced to follow. The ante for admission at the adult table has been raised.
… for the sake of argument we claim that EMU will be paying $3,000 to each student-athlete [in these additional scholarship expenses], the cost will be enormous. EMU has approximately 500 student-athletes, at the cost of $3,000 per we are looking at approximately $1.5 million dollars added to the already stressed EMU athletic budget.
The EMU athletic budget currently runs an annual deficit of $10-11 million dollars. It is clear that any money used to pay student-athletes will have to come from the larger budget, as athletics cannot simply raise ticket prices to add meaningful revenue. Perhaps they can persuade Pepsi or another corporate sponsor to cover the cost. These solutions are doubtful. Odds are the only way the Athletic Department can pay for this is by either cutting expenses or drawing more money from the student population.
So far, it looks like what is likely to happen is a bit of both: that is, the department is trying to cut expenses so that they are drawing not quite as much money from the general fund, but we’re still going to end up throwing more money at athletics.
And then there’s this:
The first step toward, pardon the phrase, closing the gap in expenditures fell yesterday, when it was announced that EMU has dropped a home game with Michigan State because, in Heather Lyke’s words, “We couldn’t afford to play that game without a guarantee exchange.”
This means that EMU has to miss out on a golden opportunity to party with our Spartan amigos, amidst a full Rynearson Stadium, if only for one weekend. Have you ever noticed that almost all photos of Rynearson Stadium seem to be an aerial shot of an empty stadium? The MSU game was a chance to rectify that! Finally, a stadium full of green and white clad fans! EMU is missing out on fifteen years of useable stock photos.
I’m assuming that when Lyke says we can’t afford the guarantee exchange, she’s talking about how much money we’d have to pay MSU to come here to beat us up. I guess I can kind of understand that, but I have to say that I’m not so sure that Jeremy kind of has a point, even if he’s being a bit sarcastic here. It would be the first time that stadium has been full since… well, maybe the first time ever. Even if EMU had to pay MSU $1 million to come here, it seems possible they’d make that back in ticket sales (especially if they bumped them up for the game) and it would definitely help the attendance figures.