6.1.16

OPTING OUT OF THE ATHLETIC ARMS RACE.

Drexel University president John Fry sees the benefits of not spending money on football.
He noted that most colleges spend more than they make on their football programs, depleting their financial reservoirs. Fry explained that only 20 percent of the 130 schools in the top division of college football had a positive operating margin and reprimanded the campus football culture for prioritizing football financially and consequently depriving other academic departments of those resources.
Perhaps, this Philadelphia Business Journal article suggests, Mr Fry is virtue-signalling.
The timing of Fry's op-ed is curious, as another major university in the city, Temple, wholly accepted the college football bug in 2015. The Owls notched 10 wins and four losses and a College GameDay appearance in their strong season, which also brought about a debate over plans for a possible football stadium in North Philly.

Currently, Temple leases Lincoln Financial Field from the Philadelphia Eagles, and the administration is seriously exploring the concept of a 35,000-seat stadium on their North Philadelphia campus.
Philadelphia city fathers have not warmed to the stadium proposal.  Perhaps Temple's administrators ought lie down until the urge goes away.
Temple saw an average of 10,000 more fans than usual attend its home games at the midway point of last season. The university also saw its on-site merchandise sales double; Temple could make even more money in this arena if all the fans were near campus during the game.
They're currently putting more fans into seats than Green Bay's City Stadium held in the Lombardi Era.  And yet, the sales of merchandise are unlikely to offset the operating deficit in athletics, where (as has been the case at other universities) a number of so-called non-revenue sports are gone.  The academic departments are likely to point to their own straitened circumstances.

What is missing, though, is a university president at a formerly on-the-rise football school to pull the plug.

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