OTL, ESPN.com Series: Business of College Sports
In the second week of the series about the business of college sports on Outside the Lines and ESPN.com, this week’s episode includes:
The nation’s top college football programs boast impressive facilities, the ability to recruit at the top level and big name coaches. And the maintenance of such programs requires immense finances. Rutgers is one program that has invested in its program to try and compare with other state schools such as Ohio State, Florida and LSU. Former athletic director Bob Mulcahy spearheaded the effort at Rutgers, pouring state funds into the program and drawing criticism from taxpayers and some faculty members. With Rutgers headed to its fifth straight bowl appearance, the success on the field is evident, but critics say the school has disproportionately invested in football at the expense of academics. Outside the Lines’ TJ Quinn examines the financial obligations and repercussions of developing a big-time football program.
“There was always a debate as to whether you could be successful as a college team in Division I in New Jersey. I believed if you put the right product on the field that you could, and I believed that the state would respond to this.” — Bob Mulcahy, the former Rutgers athletics director who launched the effort to build up the football program in the late 1990s
“Nobody in the engineering department or the nursing department or in the business school ever got a better job because the football team won.” — George Zoffinger, a Rutgers Board of Governors member and a football season-ticket holder who questions the school’s spending priorities
“I’m not going to say athletics and football is exclusively responsible for that, but I do believe we’re partly responsible for that because of the visibility of success that football over the past several years has created for the university.” – Tim Pernetti, Rutgers athletic director, on increased enrollment applications and school-wide donations
During the 2009 college football season, between 30 and 35 games per week were featured on national television. Back in the early 1980s, national TV typically carried only one or two games a week. Since 1984, when the Supreme Court ruled that individual schools and conferences could negotiate their own television contracts, college sports have become increasingly popular in TV programming. Outside the Lines’ Steve Delsohn examines the relationship between the television networks and college sports.
The Southeastern Conference is an elite college sports conference with huge TV deals, eye-popping coaching contracts, a race to construct the best facilities, and an impassioned fan base. It is one of the most successful conferences and with that comes issues. Mike Fish reports.
Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis is in his 14th season in Baltimore. He has brought the city a Super Bowl championship, but he says he wants to do more. In a city dealing with issues such as crime, drugs and homelessness – Lewis wanted to bring some measure of hope. During the season, Lewis conducts weekly workout boot camps for different groups in the community – including the Baltimore police department and some residents of a local homeless shelter. Rachel Nichols reports.
After training for 12 months and covering between 600 and 700 kilometers by bicycle per week, 27-year-old Adrian Duran Tapia felt ready to face his challenge: to cycle the more than 730 kilometers that separate Mexico City from Villahermosa, Tabasco, in 30 hours or less. ESPN Deportes recorded his journey in this special report.
OTL: Shadow Boxing
(ESPN.com)Muhammad Ali fought 50 men. Only one disappeared. In an online Outside the Lines piece, reporter Wright Thompson spent six years searching for Jimmy Robinson, a boxer who faced Ali years ago and then vanished. To read the full story, please click here.
Hot Read: Saints the Soul of America’s City
(ESPN.com)Reporter Wright Thompson, once a resident of New Orleans, revisits the city in search of its soul. An excerpt, “These are strange and beautiful days in New Orleans, and they must be seen to be believed. I’ve visited the city dozens of times since I was a boy, lived and worked there for a spell, and last week, when I went down to experience the mania over the Saints’ undefeated season firsthand, I found myself not sure whether every street was a dream. Some moments made me laugh, and others were so full of a desperate love that I had tears in my eyes.” To read the full story, please click here.