FDU going in opposition to the norm, including sports activities, not axing

The latest data from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center shows a 4.4% year-over-year decline in student enrollment. Public four-year universities are down 1.9%, private four-year universities are down 2.1%, and two-year universities are down 9.5%.

The sport has been hit hard in many places. By January 19, The Associated Press found that 285 NCAA and NAIA sports teams had been eliminated due to budget cuts or school closings. Some of the school cut programs included Stanford, Clemson, Minnesota, Fresno State, Iowa, and Connecticut.

Most games and matches were played in empty arenas and stadiums, which drastically reduced ticket income. Professional and college leagues had to grapple with daily testing, postponements and cancellations. The biggest problem in college was the decision not to hold money-making NCCA tournaments a year ago. It is the elixir of life for many schools.

Hurlbut says FDU President Christopher Capuano, a proponent of sport expansion, gave him an odd look when he told him it was time to expand.

“He wanted to see the economy behind it,” said Hurlbut.

The table that Capuano got was an eye opener. It has been suggested that adding exercise to a mid-sized Division I school would add hundreds of thousands of dollars to the ledger over time.

Hurlbut said many schools cut 20% across departments across all departments to balance the budget.

“It was an easy way to make ends meet,” he said. “We didn’t want that. We wanted to look at it from a different angle and say, ‘Hey, if we use this formula we can actually start driving sales and helping with the registration process that so many schools like ours need, who are out there. “

Andrew Schwarz, a sports economist at California-based OSKR, worked with FDU (8,944 in four locations) on the expansion. He said the concept is not new to enrollment-driven schools, provided they have space in the classrooms and dormitories for the athletes. Many Department III schools have used it to increase tuition, room and board income.

Schwarz said it will work at the Division I level, where schools will receive extra cash from the NCAA for any sport they offer over the 14 minimum.

In the case of the FDU, they explained, men’s volleyball does not need a new venue because a space already exists. The expenses largely comprised coaches, staff and equipment, much of which is offset by a $ 200,000 grant from the First Point Volleyball Foundation.

A team consists of about 20 players. The knights are allowed to award 4 1/2 scholarships. The other 15 1/2 players pay for tuition, books, room and board, as well as school fees, if necessary. The average cost is around $ 50,000, although the school cut costs by $ 10,000 this year.

The exercise was similar for women’s lacrosse. A maximum of 12.6 scholarships will be awarded for a list of around 40 players.

More money in again than out.

Schwarz and Hurlbut agreed that schools where students knock on the door for admission are not good candidates for adding sport. But they say many other schools could benefit from it.

“As soon as someone does something, you know, like if the Red Sox won a World Series with Moneyball, it won a lot more than if the A’s did,” he said. “The fact that we now have a DI school that does this, maybe other schools that were considering stopping the sport or going to Division III, might be trying to convince their president that we are getting more money with it would deserve. “

Smith College economist Andrew Zimbalist said existing facilities, nearby opponents, and efficiency will all help medium-sized schools practice sports.

“I wouldn’t predict this is a top seller, but by the same token, adding these sports is likely a good thing for the student body if it is all a small loss of revenue or financial loss,” Zimbalist said.

David Carter, an associate professor at the Marshall School of Business in Southern California who specializes in sports business and strategic marketing, said adding sports will help a school maintain or build its brand in these troubled times. It could also result in a fundraiser – if it lasts.

“Once you do something like this, you really have to make sure it is sustainable,” Carter said. “There’s nothing worse than walking over the flagpole with all the perks and accolades, only to have to pull it back over the flagpole in a year or two where this seems like a failed stunt.”

Some colleges and universities have reintroduced the sport that was eliminated in previous cost-cutting measures. Some did it to take a second look, others because Title IX issues were raised.

Dartmouth College brought back five sports after accused of failing to break federal law guaranteeing women equal opportunities in sports. The cuts were made to reduce a projected deficit of $ 150 million. William & Mary gave seven Division I sports that were cut in September a respite in November pending a gender equality review and search for a long-term plan to keep them viable.

Lenny Kaplan, the director of sport at the New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark, said student-athletes are a smart way to fill classrooms. The Highlanders, who joined Division I in 2009, have added 11 sports since Kaplan’s acquisition in 2000, the most recent being women’s lacrosse in 15.

“Most people want the scholarship at the end of the day, but as they get older they realize that gambling in college is a privilege,” he said. “So it’s like everything else, if I thought I could bring more kids to NJIT by starting esports, I’d start esports. I’m all for adding exercise.”


Other AP sports: https://apnews.com/hub/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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