The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Friday February 3rd

Armed and dangerous: UNC must remain committed to all 28 varsity sports and resist the ?nancial arms race in college football

Efforts to keep up with perennial football power conferences — the SEC and Big 12 — risk perverting UNC’s commitment to non-revenue sports.

UNC should remain committed to sustaining a broad range of Division I varsity sports, even at the expense of expanding the football program.

The model of funneling money to football will send UNC into a financial arms race, a dangerous tailspin of spending that the University cannot and should not sustain.

Football and basketball are clearly the major sources of athletics revenue and help keep non-revenue sports afloat.

But there is a difference between recognizing that — and channeling resources accordingly — and entering into an all-out spending binge on football to compete with the powerhouses.

Last year, the athletics department reported a surplus of just $200,000, compared to a $6 million profit at Florida.

But Florida supports only 16 varsity teams, the minimum required by the NCAA to be a Division I school. UNC, by contrast, funds 28 varsity sports.

The current model is clearly strained. The answer, though, is not entering into an arms race in an effort to catapult UNC football to national prominence — and to ramp up revenue.

Increased funding for the football program reaps improved facilities, like the $10 million sports medicine facility opening in 2010. Proponents argue this improves player performance, which leads to more wins.

Provided the team wins, better recruits could decide to play for UNC. And more wins means more revenue.

But then, of course, that additional revenue goes toward even more state-of-the-art facilities and even higher coach salaries.

It is a self-perpetuating cycle that carries budgets into the stratosphere with little hope for decelerating.

And there is no guarantee increased funding will even improve our football program at all. UNC’s expenditure growth will almost certainly be matched, if not outpaced, by more prestigious football programs like Texas and Florida.

The University can continue to place a priority on sports like football and basketball — but not at the expense of the smaller non-revenue sports.

 Entering a money war with traditional football powerhouses guarantees one thing: huge expenditures. It does not guarantee what’s far more important — tangible benefits across the board.

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