United States Olympic Committee CEO Scott Blackmun recently made news when he was quoted in a Yahoo! Sports column that he was “very concerned” about the future of intercollegiate olympic sports. College football revenues are piling up but those involved in the sport are becoming less willing or interested in sharing the spoils. Intercollegiate olympic sports, such as water polo, could begin to feel the pinch.
USA Water Polo CEO Chris Ramsey has offered his own opinion on the matter in an email to TWp. His comments in full:
I’m glad Scott Blackmun raised his concerns about the future of collegiate sport, because there needs to be a broader dialogue about these issues. Are college sports one aspect of the academic experience or are they, in some cases, essentially minor leagues for professional football and basketball? I believe academic principles must be the driving force regarding decisions for ALL collegiate sports. I support the Knight Commission principles for NCAA reform: academic integrity, fiscal integrity and accountability. (www.knightcommission.org)
Most people would be surprised to realize how much money is spent on college football programs, and shocked that most of these programs lose money. In many cases colleges spend ten times more per football player than academic student, and less than half those players graduate. I believe mandatory roster reductions and limits to ancillary staff should be on the table for all collegiate sports.
Regarding water polo, our players are consistently among the highest academic performers in college athletics, and our operation costs are minimal. Water Polo imbues our athletes with a toughness, resilience and integrity that translates into life success. We scale. We want to be part of the solution for college sport, and we look forward to expanding the discussion.