This last weekend, we witnessed our Division I UC Davis football team lose to one of its longstanding Division II opponents, Humboldt State.
To compare the Aggies and the Jacks, one must first note that UCD paid Humboldt $100,000 for the game – it was supposed to be a body-bag game, a guaranteed win for UCD. Also, we spend over $1.5 million on football scholarships yearly, while HSU spends about one tenth that, and overall their program costs about one third what ours costs.
Recently we’ve heard a lot of talk about football teams being competitive and the need to increase funding for our own. Cedric Dempsey, hired to consult on the future of our Aggies program and the search for a new Athletic Director, released a report in which he outlined a series of steps he believes are necessary to be successful in the so-called revenue producing sports, football and basketball, including investing significantly more money into them while reducing investment in the other sports.
“What,” I ask, “is the benefit?” We lose to a DII team, while the NCAA’s own study shows that there isn’t more money to be made. In fact, the average loss for an athletic program with a DI Football Bowl Subdivision is $9 million. It seems that we have nothing to gain, and money to lose, the majority of which (per Dempsey 76.3 percent) comes from the students.
Unlike at other institutions, that money comes from a self-tax of $600 to 700 per year that our students have agreed to pay. The largest shareholder of athletics at UC Davis are not the donors, the fans, nor the chancellor (she has only taken away institutional money), but the students. Our program already has ongoing fiscal problems – we cut four teams just a little over a year ago. Now, we’re being told we must pay more for a losing program. Do we really to pay need more?
UC Davis class of 2011