IU Football Symbolizes Decisions Universities Must Make About Importance of Athletics


As an IU alum and football fan, this was obviously of great interest to me. The Indianapolis Business Journal’s recent article on the state of the school’s football program seems to highlight the risk vs. reward dilemma facing larger universities’ athletic budgets. When is it worth a major investment, and when should the pursuit of winning be scaled back?

Athletic Director Fred Glass has emphasized marketing, been the point man in radio and television commercials, and is leading the charge into a season that promises football financial gains not seen in Bloomington in a very long time.

While success on the field is not guaranteed, Glass is promising significant attendance increases and a continued rebirth of the football program that he believes will lead to critical fiscal gains for the school and its athletic department.

IU has a long way to go, and some critics wonder if it’s wise for the Hoosiers to chase the likes of Ohio State University … or even the University of Wisconsin. IU’s $55.7 million athletic department budget looks small compared with the Buckeyes’

“College athletics is a very dangerous investment for schools,” said David Ridpath, a professor of sports administration at Ohio University and past president of The Drake Group, a not-for-profit that bills itself as a watchdog for academic integrity in the face of big-time college sports.

“Schools can get caught up in chasing bigger programs with many more resources, and it becomes difficult to justify the expenses based on true return on investments.”

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