Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs has interesting thoughts about the value of college athletics.
In a column for Sports Business Daily, Jacobs writes about how he thinks the “broader value” of college athletics shouldn’t be lost as more talk arises about compensating collegiate athletes to go with other financial demands. Jacobs, who joined Auburn’s football team as a walk-on in 1981, shares his opinion on how the topic should be approached:
[I]t’s critical we never lose sight of the broader value of college athletics and what it can do not only for our student athletes, but for society as a whole by producing young people better prepared for life. I say this because I’m concerned some of the narrative of the day could have unintended consequences. The value of college athletics shouldn’t be measured by short-term financial metrics; it should be evaluated against a lifetime of earnings and service for our student athletes in both work and life. I’m a testament to that.
Jacobs goes on to say that he has been an advocate for discovering ways to impact student athletes in a positive way through cost of attendance, unlimited meals and other items. Still, he says rising costs threaten the foundation of college athletics.
“Revenue streams are hitting a ceiling while costs are rising across the board,” Jacobs writes. “The future will be faced with calls for paying athletes, facility improvements, and everything else that goes into the arms race that is deemed essential to winning championships and providing an outstanding game-day experience for our fans.”
The entire column is worth reading, and it raises valid points. It will be interesting to see how this issue is confronted in the future. But as college athletics continue to rise in popularity, particularly college football, it’s hard to argue against players receiving some sort of payment for the massive revenue they generate.
Expect this topic to remain a hot issue.