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The Contender
Con (against)
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College sports should be privatized

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/26/2014 Category: Sports
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,471 times Debate No: 58226
Debate Rounds (2)
Comments (6)
Votes (1)




I will take the following position:

College sports should be privatized rather than as a part of institutions of higher learning. Recent debate on paying college athletes is controversial, especially given that in many states football or basketball coaches are the highest paid state employees, or that only a few programs generate profits, and those profits remain within the athletic departments rather than benefiting the schools. I have no objection to students forming clubs and do not suggest exercise or health centers should end. I will argue that college sports should function just like the NBA, NFL, and MLB. This provides a solution to questions about whether colleges should pay athletes or prevent possible future financial problems like former NCAA football players suing schools for health problems related to concussion. At a time when students pay higher tuition and states are cut back in their financial committees, it is difficult to justify having taxpayers, students, the state and federal government devoting any resources to financing sports that provide little, if any benefit to education.


I would like to thank Pro for making this debate. It is a very HOT topic as of now with the many lawsuits brought again professional and collegiate sports.

*In 2013, the NCAA generated 10.6 billion dollars

**Out of this, 96% is returned to schools to assist in Academic Enhancements. Scholarships, Sponsors who also give money to schools, and Student assistance funds. (4% is divided among staff and administration expenses.)

Academic Enhancement funds help pay for academic support personnel and improve academic facilities.
Student assistance funds are designed to assist student-athletes who have exhausted their NCAA eligibility or are no longer able to participate in sports because of medical reasons.

If the NCAA became privatized, sports scholarships would become obsolete. Why would a private company help fund your tuition. This would surely decrease enrollment in schools.

353 men are allowed scholarships between D1 - D2 schools among the 16 D1 sports, and 24 D2 sports.
363 women are allowed scholarships among the same number of sports in D1 and D2.

There are roughly 340 D1 Schools in the NCAA
There are 280 D2 Schools in the NCAA.

To help with the math:
120,000 male D1 , 123,000 female athletes.
98,000 male D2, 101,000 female athletes.

Roughly 400,000 students would be have to pay all of their tuition. It would be safe to assume not all of them would choose to enroll in these schools, as tuition would go up even higher without the NCAA assistance. It would become increasingly difficult to enforce the importance of education on young adults and try to recruit them to a sub-pro private sports team.

One of the largest expenses of an athletic department is marketing. Schools love the exposure so will pay extra to go to bigger cities, or pay to have big city schools come to them. Commercials, radio, and other advertisement are all part of the cost. The exposure is more valuable to schools.

Debate Round No. 1


According the National Center for Education Statistics, the number of students" enrolled in in an undergraduate and postgraduate is twenty million, so the scholarships you are defending only affect 2% students to begin with. [1] That figure is less than the number of students dropping out of high school between October 2012 and October 2013 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. [2] Apart from the very small population involved, the athletic department nor the NCAA cover the cost of their sports programs. Of 53 institution surveyed by Bloomberg news, 46 diverted money to sports in "their fiscal years ended in 2010, based on financial reports to the National Collegiate Athletic Association obtained from state school under open-record laws." [3] Final point to rebut the idea that the school or the majority benefits from NCAA sports here are a couple of quote from the USA TODAY highlighting that students pay through their tuition and fee hikes to subsidize sports teams:
Linda Randall says her daughter, Randi-Lyn, a student at Radford University in southwestern Virginia, is not a "die-hard" follower of the Highlanders sports teams.
Even so, by the time Randi-Lyn graduates in 2012, her parents probably will have paid an average of nearly $1,000 a year in fees to the school's athletics department. They just didn't know it from the school's billing statements or website.
"We're looking at five years because she changed majors. That's $5,000," Randall says. "That's one of her loans. That would have paid rent off-campus for a year. It's kind of disheartening. I don't think I'd have as much of a problem with it if I knew I was paying it. With what we're paying, it doesn't seem right."
Like most other schools in NCAA Division I, Radford relies on student fees to help support ever-expanding athletics budgets. Many schools, including Radford, do not itemize where those fees go for those who pay the tuition bills, USA TODAY found in an ongoing examination of college athletics finances. The amounts going to athletics are soaring, and account for as much as 23% of the required annual bill for in-state students.
Students were charged more than $795 million to support sports programs at 222 Division I public schools during the 2008-09 school year, according to an analysis of thousands of pages of financial documents. Adjusting for inflation, that's an 18% jump since 2005, making athletics funding at public schools a key force in the rapidly escalating cost of higher education.
At least six schools " all in Virginia " charged each of their students more than $1,000 as an athletics fee for the 2008-09 school year. That ranged from 10% to more than 23% of the total tuition and mandatory-fee charges for in-state students, the primary customers at most public universities. [4]
Here are some more figures:
"Take the University of Florida. During the 2009-2010 school year it raked in $44 million from football and $2 million from men's basketball"but lost $2.8 million on women's basketball, $5.3 million on other men's sports, and $10 million on other women's sports. And that's before you include the cost of coaches' salaries ($17.4 million), aid to student athletes ($7.5 million), and recruiting ($1.4 million)." [5]
Sports teams provide little actual benefit to colleges and universities; moreover, they drain money from the state and other students. This is virtually just a form of welfare except, in these cases it serves zero purpose. I don"t think the money argument is even an actual debate. Let the NCAA become like a junior NBA, severe any relationship with the schools and let institutions designed for education focus on their real agenda, education.



If the NCAA becomes it"s on private league, it would be difficult to convince someone to play in a semi professional league, and go to school, diminishing the value of education among young athletes.

Would this private league be only available to current college students, or anyone in the age group 18-22(23)? How would you divide up teams? By school? By draft? How could a college student in California be recruited to play on a team in Florida, and still be expected to go to school? This private league, having no affiliation with the school would have no restrictions on game times, because they have no interest in school schedules.

It seems a private league would diminish the competition in the NCAA, causing it to become more of simple recreational league. This would have a direct effect on the quality of play in the major sports as there is no ground to refine athlete"s skills in college (unless you skip school all together)

When it comes to a young adult earning a degree vs. playing a professional sport, a degree wins out every time. So throwing aside how a "Private "College" League" would work"

Let us move on to the statistics provided:

If there are 20 million student, and $795 million supported 222 D1 schools (there are 340 total D1 schools)

Here is the math:
222 D1 schools supported / 340 Total D1 schools = 65% of schools as part of your numbers.
65% of 20 million students = 13 million students who would be charged to help support sports programs.

Of the $795 million spent supporting sports from 222 D1 schools" paid for by 13 million students "

That is just over $61 per student. So the article, based on the other statistics provided seems off. I would assume there are more fees included in that $1000 than solely athletic department funding.

If the 13 million students paid an average of $1,000 towards athletics, it would be 13 billion dollars the athletic department is receiving from students!

Your statistics from the University of Florid stated they had revenue of $46 million in basketball and football. Other sports losses, coaching, student aid, and recruiting are 44.4 million dollars in expenses.

This means, in 2009-2010, the Florida athletic department profited 1.6 million dollars meaning it would not have needed any extra funding from the school.

Now, most schools are not powerhouse cash cows like Florida, Georgia, Alabama, and Texas. Athletic Departments do lose money. I did not dispute that. They are paying for exposure. When Appalachian State wants to play Michigan in a Non-Conference Football game, they have to pay Michigan to play them (even if App. State doesn"t play at home.)

They need the exposure on a national television stage vs. a big name team.
This exposure surely leads to enrollment.
There is an article (link below) regarding LSU and how its sports program (most importantly football) gained so much exposure that is affected the school in an extremely positive manner.
Here are some excerpts from that article:

"there is the national exposure that comes with a successful football season. During this season, nearly all of LSU"s games were nationally televised, including the Southeastern Conference championship game and the national championship game. That means that week after week, people across the nation got a chance to see what LSU is about. It also means that the university"s promotional television spot aired repeatedly to a national audience. That is exposure that LSU could never have afforded to buy " especially in this era of budget cuts and diminished state support for public higher education."

Now, there are no quantifiable statistics that show having an athletic department, or even a successful one, increases enrollment. But if you would look at it this scenario and tell me which of the 3 schools you would choose:

For example:
For arguments sake you want to be a doctor"a heart surgeon at that"and you do not play sports, nor are even an avid sports fan. You are like Randi-Lyn from Radford U, who occasionally may go to a game.

School 1, 2 and 3 all have been accredited as the top 3 medical schools, with specialized departments for heart surgery training. They are ranked in no particular order. They are also listed equal distance from your home with the same moderate weather (as to not bias your opinion on other factors.)

School 1: No athletic department.
School 2: D1 athletic department with minimal exposure to the national stage in virtually every sport due to lack of winning.
School 3: D1 athletic department that has won 3 football national championships, 2 basketball championships, and made it the Frozen Four for hockey twice. All in the last 10 years.

Does some of my wording make me seem biased towards School 3? OF COURSE! You have seen that school listed in the local news headlines for their recent success in sports. If you flip past the sports channel on any day, you will most likely come across their name several times in one broadcast during their season. You see commercials on local TV channels for an individual schools or even the entire conference.

This exposure in success in athletics (even if you lose, but you"re a powerhouse and your name is seen in headlines or local stations) puts the school right in the front of your mind. It is indirect advertising for their school within the sports they play.

Without an athletic department, schools may be able to save the money they are pouring into it. However, they would lose the amount of advertising they have available to them through their sports programs. This would almost certainly decrease enrollment, therefore causing an even higher raise in tuition in order to make up for decreased enrollment.
Debate Round No. 2
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by whiteflame 7 years ago
RFD (read from top to bottom, I posted these in reverse order to make it simpler to read through):

There are a lot of good arguments here with good warrants and evidence. The issue is that neither side gave much in the way of impact analysis, and that affects my decision, because now you're making me do that analysis for you.

Generally, the debate seemed too short as well. Another round would have been helpful, especially since Pro's first round was so short and, basically, just full of assertions that required the warrants given in R2. But I will function with what I have.
Posted by whiteflame 7 years ago

There's really only one point you're making throughout this debate, and that's financial stress. It's made all the more problematic by the fact that I never see a direct impact beyond dollar totals. What does it mean when someone has to pay an extra $1000 in tuition each year? Does that mean that some people won't go to college, or be forced to drop out early? Will fewer people contribute back to their schools? Will high division schools actually be turn-offs to students? There's a number of possible outcomes that could have been explored, but without that, it's left to my imagination.

So I just evaluate the costs. In terms of offense, what I'm getting here is two things:

1) Most of the funds generated go to sports, and
2) There are many situations where sports teams actually drain funds from their respective schools.

There's at least some question of the former, though that may just be through the NCAA. It seems most of Pro's statistics focus on other organizations, which means most sports generate funds that cycle back into them. This really only eliminates a possible benefit rather than showcasing a harm.

The latter point is really where you generate the most offense. I buy that, at least at some schools, the costs of running an athletics program can outstrip the rewards generated. I would have liked to hear what that means, but I'll take it at its most basic level and just say that it means fewer dollars spent in other pursuits, less going into the general economy, and some financial woes on the part of those having to pay.
Posted by whiteflame 7 years ago
Frankly, I'm just surprised you didn't go with the idea that many schools are basically gambling on their teams, pouring funds into them in order for them to succeed so that they can bring in more money due to ticket sales, merchandise (surprised these didn't come up) and publicity. If their team does well, everyone wins. If their team doesn't do well, everyone but the sports team suffers due to lack of funds. But as I didn't see this argument, I go with what I'm given.


I get a larger diversity of offense from Con. I buy that, in certain sports, the flux of money brings more back into schools than sports programs draw out, though I think Pro better establishes that this is not the norm for most sports. I find the issue of scholarships to be one of your most potent, and I'm surprised you didn't jump up and down on this. Pro basically concedes the point and tries to diminish it, but since when did we stop caring about this group of students just because it doesn't reach a magic threshold? 400,000 is a lot of people. I would have bought quite a bit here. Just a couple off the top of my head...

Many of these students don't have any other route into education than these sports programs. You started this argument, but never connected the dots.
It's specifically harmful to minority communities that are in many cases under the impression that professional sports are their best way out of poverty. If they can't go to school by pursuing those sports, then they simply won't go. 400,000 is a lot when a great deal of that is the black and Hispanic communities.

Anyway, again, it wasn't said, but at least the argument that a sizable number of students will be harmed still stands. I'd also be interested to know whether current scholarships are also on the chopping block with Pro's case, though that's never explored.
Posted by whiteflame 7 years ago
The marketing point is a good one, but again it needs more elucidation. Why do we care if a student chooses to go to one school or another? I need a solid impact story here. All I have here is that it leads to less enrollment and higher tuition, which isn't bad, but it's really only a linear problem you're presenting. One could argue that without that marketing, smaller schools fall by the wayside, losing attendance and, eventually, closing their doors. Larger schools have instant marketing by brand recognition, smaller ones are put at a disadvantage. This is their only way to keep those doors open, and therefore the only way to have a disseminated college system that ensures anyone in any location can get an education.

You ask a lot of good questions in R2, though they're a little late at this point. I really can't factor them into my decision. I do appreciate the point that many students will choose an athletic career over college, but I don't get a solid idea of how many this would be (I'm guessing the 400,000 mentioned before). This point could have been bolstered by an argument showing that student athletes do very well " better than their purely academic compatriots " and therefore present a major benefit to schools that is lost in their absence.

I get the argument that the funds required per student are relatively low if the whole nation is taken into account, but I still buy the argument that some schools are going to overburden their students with excessive costs, even if most won't. At the very least, it seems Virginia schools are a problem.


Essentially, I think the marketing point and the costs to other students point balance to some extent, though I'm slightly favoring marketing due to its widespread applicability. Without that single piece of offense, I find that, even though Con's points are often weak and difficult to assess, he's the only one who comes out of this with unique offense. Hence, I vote Con.
Posted by RobertMcclureSmith 7 years ago
I imagine the something like a continuation of the NCAA but financed like the professional teams. This would of course mean only 50 teams would exist since they are only so many good teams to begin with. But mostly, it is a way to separate college sports and institutions of higher learning. Sports fans would probably not like this arrangement and I agree it would almost certainly ruin college sports, as it currently exists. My basic argument is if you love sports, have the skills, and plan on using those skills to make money, then let it function privately, and roll the dice with the force of the free market.
Posted by macaztec 7 years ago
I really think that if you do that then it ruins the appeal of college sports. Are you suggesting that it be a separate entity from NFL, NBA, etc?
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by whiteflame 7 years ago
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