NCAA president Myles Brand expressed concern about increasing athletic budgets Saturday.
Brand's state of the NCAA speech at the NCAA convention called for "value- and mission-based budgeting of athletics" based not on what an athletic departments can raise, but on what makes sense for the university as a whole.
The money isn't going to dry up, Brand said, but television and bowl revenues won't grow as fast as the current rate of spending. Even now, Brand said, the chase for more money makes it harder for athletic departments to do the right thing.
"This escalation, this spiraling, of success demanding even more success has good people of noble intentions chasing both the carrot and their tails," Brand said.
Few of the 1,900 convention delegates in Brand's audience were Division I presidents. Most were administrators, such as Georgia athletic director Damon Evans.
"His message is well-taken. How realistic that is for the immediate future I don't know," he said. "You'll have to have presidents mutually agree across the nation to take steps."
Brand's speech provided no specific solutions but said NCAA legislation isn't the answer. A past attempt to legislate salary control created a "restricted earnings coach," a rule that put the NCAA on the wrong side of a $54.5-million antitrust settlement. Brand hopes to persuade universities to act on their own.
The average Division I-A athletic budget is $15-million, $27-million for those with football, and while that's just 3 to 4 percent of the university's expenditures, it's growing at a rate much faster than other departments.
Brand said the key is reining in athletic departments, too many of which have become freestanding entities apart from the universities.
Financial concerns have led athletic departments to place too high a value on money and winning and too small a value on educational and social opportunities, he said.
"The central point is that the value of an athletics program must ultimately rest on its support of and integration into the educational mission and traditions of the university," Brand said.