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NCAA to allow Ohio State to benefit from cheatng

There you have it. So much for a new push for enforcement against top athletic departments. The NCAA had Ohio State dead to rights. Jim Tressel filed a false affidavit. By their own precedent, they should get hammered worse than USC. But since it's Ohio State, of course they won't. Predictable. Is there any doubt left that UNC too will be allowed to make out ahead for having used ineligible players? The only question left is why people actually believe the NCAA's periodically-repeating rounds of tough talk, when decades of evidence point towards selective enforcement and double standards.

How not to report on sports business, pt. 2

Via mgoblog comes an underwhelming piece of reporting from ESPN's Outside the Lines. Just like Forbes, ESPN (at the minimum two of their reporters) don't give proper weight to the basic concept that subsidy from a university's general fund does not constitute profit under any commonly-accepted definition of the term. Whatever quibbles may exist when it comes to accounting minutiae aren't nearly as big of an issue. Outside the Lines didn't cite faulty numbers out for intellectual reasons. They did it because anyone can pull up those figures in minutes, whereas actually filing FOIA requests to pull up each athletic department's Revenue and Expense reports would be lengthy and time consuming. It's a lot easier to take the easy way out and find an academic willing to launder your figures with unwarranted credibility. Brian Cook does a fantastic job ripping the report to pieces, as linked above. Furthermore, I'd like to add that looking at the NCAA's Aggregate Revenue and Expense reports identifies a better scapegoat for why teams don't pay players. On average, only two sports make money: football and men's basketball. This discussion is limited without confronting the elephant in the room that those two sports usually bear the burden for subsidizing the rest of an athletic department's activities, many of which are unfunded mandates stemming from Title IX.

Get ready for misleading data

Brett McMurphy reports that the U.S. Department of Education has released its annual Equity in Athletics report. This should be fodder for a lot of discussion ("Rutgers spends $19.5 million on football!"), but in reality it's not particularly useful. No, it's highly unlikely that Rutgers athletics broke even last year, although the "real" figure won't be out for some time. That's because the OPE data does not distinguish between revenue sources, so it's too easy for universities to cook the books by subsidizing athletics with direct institutional support from a school's general fund. As always, the gold standard is USA Today's database (last updated in April with the 2008 data), which is painstakingly compiled through public records requests.

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