A new day, paying college athletes and what it means for college soccer

Discussion in 'College & Amateur Soccer' started by Sandon Mibut, May 24, 2024.

  1. Sandon Mibut

    Sandon Mibut Member+

    Feb 13, 2001
    Unless you live under a rock, you've heard that yesterday the NCAA and power conferences in the revenue sports agreed to a settlement of multiple lawsuits that agrees that, going forward, players will be able to get a slice of the revenue they help create and that former athletes will be compensated as well.

    For soccer, this doesn't likely mean that the players will start getting paid. In fact, it could mean the end of living off of the revenue sports teat Because the money the football and basketball players are now getting paid needs to come from somewhere and that could mean cutting non-revenue sports.

    The reality is we don't know how, exactly, this will play out for sports like college soccer. But odds are it will increase the challenges of the Sisyphusian task of making college soccer matter.
     
  2. CornfieldSoccer

    Aug 22, 2013
    #2 CornfieldSoccer, May 24, 2024
    Last edited: May 24, 2024
    I know a couple of people who work in college sports at the Power 5 (or whatever you call it now) level who are pretty pessimistic that there's a way forward that doesn't involve cutting some non-revenue sports. And I'm not even sure basketball at non-elite programs (particularly men's at the mid- and low-major level) won't be paying a price, too.

    I love college football and it has long been the provider that made a lot of other sports possible, but I'm afraid it's about to consume a big piece of what makes college special for a lot of students (at least at the DI level).
     
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  3. WolverineFutbol

    Aug 1, 2012
    I’m interested in everyone’s thoughts on how this will impact soccer scholarships. I can envision some schools cutting back. But if a school now wants to spread the wealth, couldn’t it offer full scholarships to everyone on the soccer team? To me, the 9.9 scholarship limit per team would make no sense under the new rules allowing schools to pay athletes like professionals.

    What do you think?
     
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  4. Sandon Mibut

    Sandon Mibut Member+

    Feb 13, 2001
    I was watching the SEC baseball championship today and they had the conference commissioner on and they chatted about changes brought about by the settlement and what they might mean for college baseball (which makes WAY more money than college soccer but not nearly enough to be self-sustaining).

    One of the interviewers asked about increasing scholarships in baseball (currently capped at 15) and said the bigger conferences might be interested but that Title IX would need to be considered.

    All of which is a long way of saying that money for all this is gonna need to come from somewhere and odds are it ain't gonna be from the salaries of the football and basketball coaches. I suppose its possible the limit on soccer scholarships could be raised or even eliminated but it's hard to envision a world where a lot of schools are spending more money on college soccer.

    It's easier to imagine a world where the NCAA mandates on the number of teams a school must have in D-I is reduced. And that will make it easier to cut programs like soccer.

    If you're a college AD at a Big Jock U, what's your incentive to keep your men's soccer program if the NCAA isn't mandating a specific number of programs? If the choice is between cutting soccer or cutting the spending on the football team's facilities or the assistant basketball coach's salary, which is the easier cut?

    But if I were a college coach at a program with a big football team, I'd be both updating my resume and trying to figure out a way to make my program break even ASAP.
     
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  5. Sandon Mibut

    Sandon Mibut Member+

    Feb 13, 2001
    College soccer would do well to go the shoe companies to increase investment in college soccer. Why? Because it behooves the shoe companies to have college soccer as a carrot intended to get so many parents to spend big money on youth soccer and in doing so, buy all the equipment and gear the shoe companies sell.

    If college soccer dwindles - and its already not a real option for the top tier of American players - and there's no ROI for all those parents spending thousands on travel soccer, there will be a lot fewer soccer shoes sold.

    College soccer should also look to USL to fund some programs. Most of the domestic USL players played college soccer. USL needs college to keep cranking out players who are good enough for them but not good enough for MLS. A partnership between USL clubs and college programs near their markets could be a win-win and provide educational opportunities as well as places to play between HS and pro ball.

    And get US Soccer to provide some scholarships to colleges. The well-being of the sport is supposed to be USSF's priority and if there isn't college soccer as incentive, there will be a lot fewer kids sticking with soccer once they get to 8th grade or so.

    It's time to start thinking outside the proverbial box because college soccer needs to start figuring out some revenue-generating opportunities stat. It's This Is Not A Drill time.
     
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  6. soccermilitant

    soccermilitant Member+

    Jan 14, 2009
    St.paul
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    The ussf should’ve been addressing college soccer years ago he’ll most of the ngb have let the ncaa do all the work for them. That’s over
     
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  7. IntoTouch

    IntoTouch Member

    Aston Villa
    United States
    May 3, 2022
    Non-football schools may have a little upper hand as they have been running thin forever.

    Glad my son is out soon.
     
  8. Benny Dargle

    Benny Dargle Member+

    Jul 23, 2008
    LA
    #8 Benny Dargle, May 27, 2024
    Last edited: May 27, 2024
    Reportedly, the NCAA is already considering removing scholarship limits in all sports (an obvious target for antitrust lawsuits) and focus instead on limiting roster sizes (which, presumably, are more defensible as a non-economic competitive equity limit).

    https://www.cbssports.com/college-f...etics-on-and-off-the-field-for-years-to-come/

    https://lastwordonsports.com/colleg...the-house-settlement-mean-for-college-sports/

    That might be worse from the perspective of opportunities to play DI college soccer and no better from the perspective of the amount of money available at many schools currently sponsoring men's soccer. It could be worse if it increases the cost of funding the extra scholarships in some sports (e.g., to comply with Title IX when scholarship-limited sports now increase their available slots) and make it more likely that other sports like soccer are cut completely.
     
  9. RossD

    RossD Member+

    Aug 17, 2013
    Club:
    Colorado Rapids
    Chip Kelly had a great take on this a while back. There's zero reason for smaller sports teams to be traveling across the country to play games. Soccer, lacrosse, field hockey, etc. shouldn't be flying from 1 coast to the other to play games simply because the school is in "conference". We'll probably see a major shakeup regarding this to keep costs down.
     
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  10. CornfieldSoccer

    Aug 22, 2013
    I'd assume this is a given for schools that don't cut programs entirely, and honestly makes sense. Also, I'd think, one more factor driving power-conference football away from the rest of college athletics in terms of conferences and a governing body.
     
  11. soccermilitant

    soccermilitant Member+

    Jan 14, 2009
    St.paul
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Well with mls and usl academies the ncaa is almost useless
     
  12. Sandon Mibut

    Sandon Mibut Member+

    Feb 13, 2001
    In terms of pro development, maybe.

    That said, there's still plenty of pro players who got developed in college soccer.

    But as much as the pro leagues are now taking the lead in pro development, that's still just a small fraction of the players who will be impacted. As the commercial says, the vast majority of college soccer players have little to no chance or expectation of a pro career. And those are the ones who will be negatively impacted by all this.

    The other way this could impact the US game is if there are fewer opportunities to play college soccer, there will certainly be less interest in parents having their kids play high-end club soccer and having fewer kids playing the game is not a good thing for anyone involved in the sport at any level.
     
    WolverineFutbol and TimB4Last repped this.
  13. WolverineFutbol

    Aug 1, 2012
    I appreciate all of your responses. It will be interesting to see what happens. For obvious reasons I hope that the scholarship limits will be lifted and Michigan will decide to fully (100%) fund every player on the soccer team. But I understand the counter argument, which is that football and basketball will thrive while all other sports will die. That result would be misguided from my view, so I’m hoping the bigger schools/conferences will see the value of the “olympic” sports beyond pure ROI.
     
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  14. TimB4Last

    TimB4Last Member+

    May 5, 2006
    Dystopia
    Your last point is the larger, organic issue. What effect would the diminishment/end of college soccer have on soccer generally - levels of participation, interest and (eventual) fandom/support?

    Playing college soccer is a much more common and reasonable/attainable goal than playing pro soccer. It’s a good target for an aspiring young player to aim for.

    The USSF, MLS and other pro leagues should lend their support to the college game, not turn their back on it (because it’s producing fewer and fewer pro players). We need to strengthen the fabric of the game in this country, not weaken it.
     
  15. Sandon Mibut

    Sandon Mibut Member+

    Feb 13, 2001
    I went to a college baseball playoff game tonight. Great crowd. Sold-out, 6,000 fans on a school night (it's still in session in these parts) with folks paying 20.00 for parking, to boot. Merch was being sold, concessions were being bought. In short, it was generating revenue. The baseball team probably still costs more than it brings in, but it's at least cutting a dent in its deficit.

    The baseball stadium is right next to the soccer/lacrosse stadium and the bathrooms and concession stands at the soccer facility were being used to keep the lines down.

    And I couldn't help but think that if college soccer had its playoffs in the spring, it would get good crowds, too. College baseball has become an event in the Southeast, lower Midwest and West Coast. College lacrosse gets good crowds for playoff games and great crowds for its final four. The Frozen Four is a big event, now, selling out NHL arenas. The College softball World Series is exploding and, because most of the players are sexy and wear skimpy outfits, women's gymnastics and volleyball are getting great crowds. And I haven't even mentioned women's hoops, which is now almost as popular as the men's game.

    Meanwhile, there's college soccer. It's the fart in the elevator of the non-revenue sports, doing the same old, same old, being ignored by the NCAA and being treated with disdain by the soccer community. It has no relevance in local communities as an event, it has no relevance as a producer of elite talent and the only reason most colleges care about it is for the their cut of the soccer camp revenue.

    What are the leaders of college soccer doing to change the tide? To become relevant? To make revenue? To create buzz. Non-revenue sports have never been more popular on college campuses and in their communities and on TV. But college soccer is just withering on the vine.

    Yes, US Soccer should do something. Yes, it behooves MLS and USL and USYSA and the ECL to have college soccer be a bigger deal. But should is not the same as have to and it's certainly not the same as will. The leaders within the sport - the college version of it - need to come forward and do more to make the sport relevant and to generate a plan that will put some lifeblood into college soccer and try and let it become relevant. Yet, other than Sasho Cirovski (who appears to have been beaten down on this and has given up) no one in the sport is doing anything to save it.
     
  16. VASoccer75

    VASoccer75 Member

    Oct 28, 2015
    https://www.espn.com/mens-college-b...-title-team-members-sue-ncaa-nil-compensation

    This feels like the opening of pandoras box that will spell big trouble for soccer (and all non-revenue sports).

    With this lawsuit, where does it end? Whats stopping every basketball and football national champion from doing the same (and being successful)? Seems college sports are very well in the deepwater of uncertainty right now.
     
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  17. Sandon Mibut

    Sandon Mibut Member+

    Feb 13, 2001
    College soccer has ridden the coattails of those other sports for 65 years, existing thanks to the altruism of the NCAA, which insisted member schools pay for a set number of programs that don't make money.

    But now the NCAA has no power and all that money has to go to the players, who were earning it to begin with.

    It's time for these other sports to figure out a way to be self-sustaining instead of relying on handouts from other sports. College soccer's time as a welfare recipient is likely coming to an end.
     
  18. ThePonchat

    ThePonchat Member+

    #ProRelForUSA
    United States
    Jan 10, 2013
    I've Been Everywhere Man
    Club:
    Columbus Crew
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Some of these places are making money, but not tons of them. P4/5 are at times, if their media deals are good enough.

    It wasn’t long ago that Cincinnati was burning through the Benjamin’s at the tune of -$30m per year in their athletic department budgets.

    Of course, a lot can be better, but no one truly wants to trim budgets to make it much more reasonable in operations. Keeping up with the Jones’s is tough business, no matter the sport/department.
     
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  19. CornfieldSoccer

    Aug 22, 2013
    I'd wager that the bulk of those that are in the black are in the SEC and Big Ten. For the B1G schools, the Big Ten Network has been amazing financially, but even that cash cow seems shaky going forward without serious cuts (varying a lot by school, I guess).
     
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  20. ThePonchat

    ThePonchat Member+

    #ProRelForUSA
    United States
    Jan 10, 2013
    I've Been Everywhere Man
    Club:
    Columbus Crew
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Correct. At one point, it was only around 20ish schools in the positive across all DI.

    The other downside to balancing the athletic department budget: it often times comes with higher student fees to subsidize athletics. Some schools it’s near/over $3000/year that students pay that goes straight to athletics.
     
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  21. CornfieldSoccer

    Aug 22, 2013
    Are you using the annual USA Today database or something else? I've poked around in it a lot over the years and never read anything indicating that it was way off base (though it has limits -- reliance on publicly available info and the fact that private schools like Notre Dame and Northwestern never participate, as far as I know).

    https://sports.usatoday.com/ncaa/finances

    And yeah, speaking as a tuition-paying parent and someone who works in higher ed, those fees can be a sore spot for a lot of parents and students.
     
  22. ThePonchat

    ThePonchat Member+

    #ProRelForUSA
    United States
    Jan 10, 2013
    I've Been Everywhere Man
    Club:
    Columbus Crew
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I did research on it while in graduate school. Wrote several papers on it. Still look at it a few times here and there, especially when it comes to schools dropping men's soccer -- which is something I've tracked for several years now.

    USA Today is one route, but I've never limited the research to just a singular source.
     
  23. soccermilitant

    soccermilitant Member+

    Jan 14, 2009
    St.paul
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    It’s not just college soccer . Sports like men’s gymnastics , fencing , shooting etc… have done next to nothing to promote their product . Hell just watch any ncaa fencing championship on YouTube it’s literally empty . There was an article a while back about the decline of men gymnastics in colleges and it said many coaches just expected to show up with a stop watch. “ non revenue “ sports created this situation for themselves.
     

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