Are athletic fees too high?

by Finn

A recent discussion delved into possible reasons college is getting so expensive. One factor we didn’t consider is the increasing cost to students of supporting increasing intercollegiate athletic budgets.

Sports At Any Cost

Why students foot the bill for college sports, and how some are fighting back

On the other hand:

NBC Accounts for $100 Million for Notre Dame Financial Aid

With fees supporting athletic departments running to hundreds of dollars per year, for many students that can mean additional thousands of additional dollars of college debt. For those relying on Pell Grants, it could mean millions of our tax dollars supporting athletic departments, many of which spend millions of dollars on coaches’ salaries alone.

What do you think? Are athletic fees excessively burdensome to students, especially those scraping through by borrowing and/or part time work and/or taking semesters off to work? Should there be limits on government spending supporting athletic departments?

 

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241 thoughts on “Are athletic fees too high?

  1. When in college, we paid a modest athletic fee for use of facilities (pool, tennis court, weight room) when a class or sports team was not using them. The fee was less than the monthly equivalent for a gym membership, but in my small college town there wasn’t one. I didn’t mind paying that as in the summer it was the same cost as if I’d bought a city pool pass. I don’t mind schools assessing this type of fee that encourages students to get some exercise.

    Then there were “student” tickets to events. You could buy a season pass or individual tickets. While they seemed pricey to a student, they were still cheaper than the non-student basic ticket and dirt cheap compared to some of the “packages” offered with parking, box seats, etc. To me, this is entertainment and if you want to pay the price, just like a concert or any other event, choose to do so.

    I don’t like the idea of hiking or adding a fee for ALL students just to cover a stadium or facility that is exclusively used by sports teams. If the athletic department is bringing in that much money, it should be able to pay for it. You never see an all student fee for the newest centrifuge or partical accellerator.

  2. It all hinges on the value added to the diploma. Does having a big name athletic program make for a stronger bond among the alumni such that a Villanova, Clemson or Notre Dame hiring manager is going to give extra consideration to resumes from that school? Is a given non-alumni hiring manager, toiling in the bowels of Corporate America, going to give extra consideration to someone from Villanova or Clemson vs. someone from Pomona? Pomona being a HSS but with far less name recognition.

  3. That Georgia State program sounds like highway robbery. But it is interesting that even at big name football schools, student attendance is down.

  4. I didn’t even know Georgia State had a football team. I can’t for the life of me see how it would enhance its academic standing within the Georgia university system. I agree with Scarlett on this particular case.

  5. Rhett is right. The sports program maintains the bond between the alumnus and the school, which translates into benefits down the line.

    I feel sorry for some of the athletes, who seem to have to have to fit school/classes into a 40+ hour per week schedule of practices and games (versus the other way around).

  6. The school that I attended has a huge football program that has revenue far exceeding its expenses. That, along with the basketball program, funds all of the other athletics at the school. It also is a big social aspect of the school/alumni. I just checked and a student ticket for home football games is $200 plus $15 service charge. Not too bad (I think that includes 7 home games) and they throw in a tshirt!

  7. So I know a bit about the GSU situation and I will say that since this article was written the team actually went to a bowl game. The university is also buying Turner Field where they will have a college football appropriate stadium. They are very mindful of costs to students because of the economic profile of their students. Successful athletic programs do pay financial dividends in fundraising, TV money and increased student applications but it takes time (and winning) to see them. GSU has seen big increases in all of those metrics and as the article stated the overall fee is not really higher.

  8. I can’t for the life of me see how it would enhance its academic standing within the Georgia university system.

    As Atlanta mentioned, a winning team results in more and higher quality applicants thus increasing the school’s rank.

  9. One more reason competitive athletic programs should not be connected to universities. Broomball? Quiddich? Cup stacking? The last one’s questionable, because it might attract corporate sponsors. Mens sana in corpore sano is not served by big ticket sports, for the players or other students.

  10. “The sports program maintains the bond between the alumnus and the school, which translates into benefits down the line.”

    Well, sure, if you’re one of the winners. Not sure it works that well for the perpetual losers.

    And, frankly, that’s also to the school’s benefit more than the individual’s. The schools can use that bond to get more donations. Sure, maybe an Ohio State grad can bond with a recruiter over the national championship, but plenty of colleges without strong sports programs manage to retain strong alumni networks. Wondering how much those Georgia State alums thing being FBS is helping their network.

    I agree with Austin that it is fine to charge a fee for use of various facilities, or to provide special access (IIRC, I paid an annual fee in law school that got me free/really cheap tix to any game in any sport [or a lottery for things like FB tix]; IDK if it was mandatory or optional). But I strongly disagree that all students should have to pay it.

    This sort of reminds me of the amenities wars of a decade or so ago — my alma mater is unrecognizable, with a giant climbing wall, new dorms with a much more modern “pod”-type arrangement (e.g., 4 single rooms around a shared common living space — freaking plush by comparison), sustainably-farmed cafeterias, etc. The difference is that my alma mater is a private school that needs to attract people who can afford $60K+/yr, so they can cover the financial aid for the other half of the class and generally keep their numbers really high. The FBS-competitive team is the non-totebag version of the same thing — they want the Big Sports to attract the best students to be more competitive and raise their profile. The difference is that we’re talking about state schools who (should) have an obligation to provide an affordable education to their own residents. You can’t ignore that obligation in order to fund a football team — or fancy dorms, or whatever else.

    So, yeah, I don’t mind if one or two state universities go the FB route to improve their profile and attract students and alums. But not every school is going to be a top-whatever; by definition, half of the schools are going to be below-average in whatever metric you are talking about.
    And if everyone chases the top kids, then the other half end up paying more for just the basic education they need to get their credential to be qualified for a $22K/yr receptionist job. Someone has to opt out of the competition and remember that their primary purpose is to serve those kids.

  11. The NLRB completely wimped out in the Northwestern case. The ruling, as much as it was a ruling, stated that due to the NLRB not having jurisdiction over public schools and there being only a handful of private schools that play big time football, it would create an “unstable” situation if players at the private schools were allowed to unionize. They did not contradict the regional NLRB ruling that was in favor of the players.

  12. Here well known sports schools (football/basketball) have more name recognition than small selective non Ivy schools. Parents often plan visits to their college kids around home games. We don’t have the experience of either being alumni or parents of kids in a sports school. If our kids ended up attending one of these schools, DH would time his visit to coincide with a game.

  13. Are there any universities that don’t have football teams? They must be few & far between. The institution where I taught in W Texas rented the stadium from the local high school.
    The AP for academic affairs at my son’s school told a parent meeting earlier this year that the admission averages for UF and FSU vary according to football outcomes. I’d rather choose a university based on the experience my child would have there, the faculty members he’d work with.

  14. but plenty of colleges without strong sports programs manage to retain strong alumni networks.

    Is that a fact? Do we have some data on that? Anecdotally, people from big name sports schools have a much valuable alumni network given the relative rank of the school.

    state schools who (should) have an obligation to provide an affordable education to their own residents…the basic education they need to get their credential to be qualified for a $22K/yr receptionist job.

    Affordable education or affordable ticket punching? If it’s ticket punching, which I think it is, then the sports aspect is important.

  15. I kind of see the athletic fee like taxes – you may not be interested in athletics but it’s probably contributing to the campus community and the value of your degree.

  16. S&M you live near one small private U (with the U in its name) that does not have a football program. They are NCAA Division II or III (I don’t remember) so they don’t “count” as it were. But the baseball and basketball teams are nationally ranked in their division.

    I can’t think of any Division I schools without a football program, no matter how weak.

  17. Rhett said “As Atlanta mentioned, a winning team results in more and higher quality applicants thus increasing the school’s rank.”
    As does increasing research prestige, and building fancier buildings. And these things all cost money (though if successful, both research and sports can bring in money too). That is the big conundrum that nobody seems to be able to solve.

  18. S&M, my university does not have football even though we are a sports school. My alma mater had football when I was there, but it wasn’t popular and it was abandoned some years later

  19. “Do we have some data on that?”

    HYPS generally seem to be doing fine (and were, even before Stanford decided to invest in a football team). In my neck of the woods, Georgetown seems to be king despite no longer being the BB powerhouse. MIT? CalTech?

    Most privates simply don’t have the size/funding to compete in the FBS world, so they do it in other ways.

  20. HYPS generally seem to be doing fine

    The Harvard Yale game is a very big deal.

    I would also add that I said, “given the relative rank of the school.” I would guess that mid-tier schools with strong sports programs tend to have stronger alumni networks and better name recognition than schools of equal academic quality who don’t have as strong a sports program.

  21. “’As Atlanta mentioned, a winning team results in more and higher quality applicants thus increasing the school’s rank.’
    As does increasing research prestige, and building fancier buildings.”

    All of which works very well for the top-tier colleges and top-tier students who attend them. But the bottom-tier colleges end up spending more money just to stay in place (or drop in the rankings). And the bottom-tier students end up paying more money (that they usually don’t have) to get the same degree (or worse, if limited funds are re-directed to fielding a “competitive” team).

    There needs to be an affordable path for those kids. And the state schools should be the one to provide it.

  22. I’m starting to check out dorms at several of the universities to which my DS is applying. There are several that fall into the “oh, hell no” category. They are more luxurious than the brand new class A apartment complexes that are being built in my city. Granite in the kitchen and bathroom, pools, a fancy gym, tanning beds, interactive gaming center, weekly housekeeping, etc.

    Between tanning, x-box, and water volley ball, when do kids have time for class?

  23. A good example of a university with prestige and good alumni networks, but not Division I : NYU. But they follow the fancy building model, which can be just as expensive.

  24. I am not a football fan, but have seen firsthand how well football weekends work as draws for donors and alums. Many faculty turn up their noses at the whole enterprise as being unworthy of their lofty intellects, but DH’s department hosts a tailgate at every single home game that attracts alums who then donate to the Department. It’s amazing really. There is so much activity on and around campus during a football weekend, with the actual game being only a part of it. Our students have to pay for football tickets but it’s along the lines that Kate describes, and there are secret slush funds for needy students who might not be able to afford them.

  25. The issue of sports program costs has been hashed out many times in places like the Chronicle, The sad reality is the majority of sports programs do not pay for themselves. You can say “well, it builds alumni loyalty”, but that is an intangible, and really, maybe you could get the same loyalty in some completely different way. Berea College has fiercely loyal alumni despite not being a sports powerhouse.

  26. “There needs to be an affordable path for those kids. And the state schools should be the one to provide it.”

    Yes but at the same time, the state schools have seen decreasing dollars from state legislatures and I think that trend will continue. I know in Georgia each school gets a certain $ per student so in order to offset that decrease in state funding, the state universities need to increase enrollment, increase fundraising, increase research dollars raised, etc. I think the mid-tier states look at what athletics has done for the flagship universities in terms of revenue, fundraising, profile and of course they want to emulate that too.

  27. Out of 24 UC or Cal State Universities – all Division 1 – 13 have no football program. My small private university no longer has a football team but at times is competitive in basketball.

  28. The story of football at my alma mater is kind of funny and sad. We did have it in the era I was there. It was pitiful. No one came to the games, which were free, so they resorted to giving away crap to try to get a few attendees. The problem was that the university president, who came to us from a football school, really WANTED to have football. He wanted us to be like a big Midwestern or Southern school – he had no understanding of the Northeast. He insisted we had to have a homecoming parade for example. But the only people interested in having floats were the various politcal organizations (this was a pretty leftwing school) so the homecoming parade always had gay pride floats, students against nukes, the Young Solcialists, and so on.

    They eventually had to abandon football though. It just wasn’t working at all

  29. but DH’s department hosts a tailgate at every single home game that attracts alums who then donate to the Department.

    The perfect place, it would seem, for an ambitious student to network. Mike, come meet Derica, he’s an old student of mine. Blah blah blah, what do you do? I’m the CFO of Eli Lilly…

  30. My high school in the Northeast did not have football when I was there. It was all about soccer, soccer, soccer. They now have football and have a big name former NFL coach which has been fun to watch. My alma mater had football but it was Division III so no one really paid attention. Lacrosse was huge though.

  31. Out of 24 UC or Cal State Universities – all Division 1 – 13 have no football program.

    True but there is more to sports that football. While MM’s alma mater doesn’t have football, they do have a very highly ranked and popular hockey program.

  32. I think my main annoyance with all of this is that when average people, including legislators, debate high tuition, they don’t understand how much of the costs come from efforts to raise prestige. They tend to jump to really simplistic ideas: “those overpaid professors!”, “too many administrators”, “too much remedial education!”, “classes are too small!”, “you need more online classes”, without understanding the competitive dynamic. They seize on things that either would have no impact, or perhaps even decrease a college’s prestige, ignoring the market drive to go the other way.

    And honestly, it isn’t just vanity on the part of the higher education sector. The reality is, the more high prestige a school is, the more money and support comes flowing in. That is even true when it comes to public money. The schools most financially in trouble are the ones that are doing what everyone says should be done: provide a low cost education. Those schools are the community colleges as well as the less known 4 year schools that cater to lower income students. State legislatures totally ignore that sector. So if you are a college president, why on earth would you want your school to be low prestige?

  33. Rhode, how many of those schools have/spend on a different sport programs? For example, BU has both basketball and are huge in hockey. They make the frozen four almost every year and do the Beanpot Tournament as well.

  34. Speaking of lacrosse:

    Mr. DiCamillo, 36, is a director in the credit finance department at Citibank in Manhattan. He graduated with honors from the University of Michigan, where he was the captain of the lacrosse team, earning All-American recognition as a defenseman.

    What do you think helped him land his first job more, graduating with honors of being captain of the lacrosse team?

    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/02/fashion/weddings/rory-kennedy-and-david-dicamillo-married.html

  35. I went to a big time athletics college; i.e winning at least 1 national championship in each of the 23 sports for which it fields a team since I graduated. I love sports. And yeah, it’s great for name recognition.

    When I donate, I specify my $$ goes to the foreign language department I hold nearest and dearest (and I wasn’t a foreign language major).

    Oh, and it’s a scholarly place, too.

    But the scholarship athletes, especially in football and basketball, get tremendous privileges the ordinary student does not, mostly in terms of tutoring and flexibility of exams (btw, these benefits are not unique to the big-name schools. To pick one, our family is very close to the family of a women’s field hockey player at Davidson and she gets all that + laundry done by the lockerroom staff, ‘training table’ meals much of the time, etc.)

    I know all the aspiring college presidents say they need athletics to build the school’s rep among potential applicants. But really? If all we had was the equivalent of Division 3 (think Pomona for everything or NYU for e.g,. baseball and others I’m sure), would scads of colleges fold? Remember, the vast majority of donating alumni make their money in something other than sports.

    Even my DS1 who is taking a completely online program to finish his AA at a local community college has to pay something like $50-$60/semester to support their athletics. That I find ridiculous.

  36. The original question was specific to football: are there even Division I schools without football. We were answering that questions. Of course, if you are Division I, you are spending money on SOMETHING

  37. The common wisdom is that you have to have bigname sports to get donations, and certainly that exists. But a lot of money comes to universities for completely different reasons. A lot of the really big donations come from companies, and they want to support programs in their area of interest. The school I got my PhD from always gets huge donations from United Technologies – the school of engineering lives off that money. CVS likes to build labs for pharmacy programs. The medical industry likes to fund health programs. None of this is much affected by sports, but it is affected by program prestige. The better your program, the more interest from donors (and the more likely it is that you have alums in positions of power at wealthy companies)

    Research also pulls in a lot of money, not just form the grant agencies, but also from companies. Corportations love to fund STEM research in particular. That is why universities push research so much. It isn’t professors having fun at the expense of your kids. This is a money maker.

  38. “are there even Division I schools without football.”

    MM – oh, sure, plenty of ’em. Because, you see, schools can be selective in what division they want their teams to be in. This will resonate with you: RIT is division 1 for men’s & women’s ice hockey but division 3 for everything else (no football at RIT). That kind of stuff happens. Some schools choose to be division 1 in everything because it makes for better recruiting.

  39. ” if you are Division I, you are spending money on SOMETHING”

    But what division a school is in is determined by number of students, isn’t it?

    Rhett, do you really think alumni networking would end if colleges no longer paid for big sports? (I’ve seen the same set of articles Mooshi refers to, saying most big sports programs don’t pay for themselves). I live far away from my alma maters. Their sports-watching get-togethers are nowhere near as big as their other events. School that “need” big sports programs because other schools have them. If they all ditched them at once, something else would draw students and keep alum in touch.

  40. A question that I would have about the fees is it that people would pay this type of fee with less complaints for services that students want? When doing the budget does the university say we will use X funds for program Y, which we want and furthers our goals, but we’ll charge the students for Z because the majority want it and will pay for it without too much noise. When I was in school the thing that ticked me off the most about fees was the University touting that they kept “tuition” reasonable but with all the additional fees, I was still paying quite a bit each semester.

    If a school decided to pay for the athletics program out of the general funds and then say have an equipment fee that would be for all students but only benefit departments that needed major equipment purchases, would students be open to that fee or would they complain that only majors in those programs should pay the fee? Since athletics crosses many majors and offers students an opportunity to use equipment and have a sense of school pride, is it easier to generate funds for that fee?

  41. Rhett, do you really think alumni networking would end if colleges no longer paid for big sports?

    Not entirely, but it would be significantly reduced.

  42. “the homecoming parade always had gay pride floats, students against nukes, the Young Solcialists, and so on.”

    As good a reason as any to justify a football program??

  43. I don’t think we had any specific ‘athletic fees’ when I was in school – definitely NOT a sports school except in things like squash or crew. ;)

    Rhett – I know a whole bunch of finance guys who now work in sales for BNY Mellon, Barclays, First Republic, etc. – and a LOT of them come out of the hockey programs at BU or BC.

  44. Usually – you are correct. But the initial thought process was about football. MM is right – if you are Div. I you are spending money on SOMETHING. Given the salaries of football coaches vs. hockey coaches, you get bigger bang for buck with hockey. I’d bet the amount of revenue created from college football far surpasses college hockey, but I wonder if the expenses to play hockey are cheaper…

    To your point, and to show I’m not a total dunce, we have a rivalry with good friends of ours over BU/BC/UNH/UMaine hockey. Our children are now involved. DH and I go to a local private college that plays UMaine 1-2x per year (how this school is Div I hockey I will never know). I think DS will acquire some Black Bears gear shortly…

    Random hockey trivia in a state where football also reigns… The Michigan schools hold the record for attendance at an outdoor hockey game (possibly any outdoor game… though I’m not sure about that). It sparked the NHL’s winter classic game.

  45. “The original question was specific to football”

    No, it was intercollegiate athletics in general. There seems to be conflating here of that with football, which isn’t unreasonable, as football it typically the most expensive sport, by far, to field, especially when considering Title IX requirements that lead to many football schools fielding a lot of non-revenue women’s sports.

  46. Finn, the reason the leftist floats were funny was because our university president was REALLY conservative so I doubt this was what he pictured when he pushed for us to have a homecoming parade. I think he envisioned lots of cheerleaders and sororities and maybe some Young Republicans.

  47. Scarett, WRT the football tailgates and their benefits to your DH’s department, I’m wondering if those benefits require a big-time, expensive football program, or whether most of those benefits could be had with, say, a D-III program that is much less expensive.

  48. S&M, I think your divisoin is based on the number and size of athletic scholarships you give out, and perhaps level of spending. I know Divsion III is not allowed to have athletic scholarships. NYU is Division III, I think

  49. “Successful athletic programs do pay financial dividends in fundraising, TV money and increased student applications but it takes time (and winning) to see them. ”

    And winning in football is a zero-sum game.

    So one way of thinking about this is that the big-time programs that make a lot of money, e.g., ND, Bama, are being subsidized by the schools that struggle to fund athletic departments that include FCS football teams.

  50. I’ve worked at Division 1 schools with football programs and one small liberal arts college with no sports (although that had a very specific donor base so hard to compare). The box at football games with the President/Deans are a big deal invite for alumni/donors, so although you can do donor receptions around other areas of campus (theater performances, small receptions with administration, art exhibits), you won’t get the mix and amount of people that you can get at a sporting event. Hobnobbing with other alumni is probably just as big of a draw as hobnobbing with the president of the university. Football invite is usually an easy yes, an invite to a theater performance you are calling to follow up with people and hoping to get a third of the people you invited to come.

  51. There are several that fall into the “oh, hell no” category. They are more luxurious than the brand new class A apartment complexes that are being built in my city. Granite in the kitchen and bathroom, pools, a fancy gym, tanning beds, interactive gaming center, weekly housekeeping, etc.

    One of mine went to sleep away camp on a college campus this summer, and it was the exact opposite. Dorms were so run down, old beat up furniture, no innovations in terms of storage or arrangement. It was depressing. There’s got to be a better balance.

  52. I hated having to pay athletic/student center fees, which were mandatory at my schools. I never used the student athletic center. At the land grant schools I’ve attended, the football teams are consistently bad, so bad that it’s worth joking about in interviews. Our family just attended a college football game in the expensive-to-construct nosebleed seats and the 4 hours we sat there is probably 1/3 of the total hours those seats will be occupied all year. I think the seats are donor funded, at least.

    I suspect Rhett is partly right about the value of networking for UMC people like him, but most grads don’t network to get jobs where their school is very important- think teachers, nurses, physical therapists, veterinarians.

    This probably ties into my general view that being part of a community should not require you to pay for things that other people want that you don’t, and I think I’m at the extreme end of the spectrum on that here. When I ask myself why I’m different, I think it’s because my ability to afford my major life expenses (having 4 kids, plane tickets to visit faraway family, medical bills) is negatively affected by any other obligations. I think I should be free to be entirely different in my financial decisions than other people.

  53. “Title IX requirements that lead to many football schools fielding a lot of non-revenue women’s sports.”

    True. When a college funds the max of 85 Division 1 football scholarships, that means 85 women’s scholarships (outside of basketball…which assumes all football schools have D1 basketball programs for both sexes) for sports the athletic department and the administration probably don’t really care about. They want football for whatever reasons they decide are compelling and put up with all those women’s sports to comply. (I’m sure there are some who really believe strongly in the women’s (non-basketball) sports program at their colleges, but I really think if title IX went away, so would a lot of the ‘ride-along’ women’s sports like field hockey, rowing, beach volleyball, rugby, triathalon for which scholarships are only offered to women)

  54. “It all hinges on the value added to the diploma. Does having a big name athletic program make for a stronger bond among the alumni such that a Villanova, Clemson or Notre Dame hiring manager is going to give extra consideration to resumes from that school? Is a given non-alumni hiring manager, toiling in the bowels of Corporate America, going to give extra consideration to someone from Villanova or Clemson vs. someone from Pomona? Pomona being a HSS but with far less name recognition.”

    This. I see this a lot where I am. I also was thinking about the name recognition a place like Davidson gained from Steph Curry playing there and their run in the NCAA basketball tournament. I hadn’t no idea what type of school Davidson was. I looked them up online and found out they are almost identical to my alma mater (Division 3) in terms of number of students and academic rankings.

  55. The Big East (Georgetown, Providence, Villanova, St Johns, Seton Hall, etc) was originally created as a league of schools with big-time DI basketball programs but not big-time football teams (I think most did not have football).

  56. “At the land grant schools I’ve attended, the football teams are consistently bad, so bad that it’s worth joking about in interviews.”

    Although your undergrad almost pulled off the big upset on Saturday!

  57. “I hated having to pay athletic/student center fees, which were mandatory at my schools.”

    And you’re still paying for them.

    Think of the kids who are using part of their Pell grants to pay mandated athletic fees. And when the federally backed loans are forgiven, i.e., passed on to taxpayers, some of that went to pay athletic fees.

  58. Division 1, 2, 3 is most definitely NOT dependent on the # of students at the school. St. Bonaventure, with around 1600 undergrads has 17 D1 sports. NYU, 25000 undergrads, is D3 in all sports.

  59. but most grads don’t network to get jobs where their school is very important- think teachers, nurses, physical therapists, veterinarians.

    I’m going to have to argue with “most.” I’d say “most” bowels of Corporate America type jobs have a large alumni/networking component: accounting, IT, finance, business, sales, etc.

  60. “WRT the football tailgates and their benefits to your DH’s department, I’m wondering if those benefits require a big-time, expensive football program, or whether most of those benefits could be had with, say, a D-III program that is much less expensive.”

    Yeah, could be. I went to a D-III school. Our football team has not been good in decades, and yet Homecoming is still a big deal centered around the football game. I go every 5 years for our reunion & attendance at the reunions and alumni events on a percentage basis has to be as good or better as, say, Michigan. At a small school, most of us actually know the athletes on the teams during school. They are not living in special dorms or taking special classes geared towards scholarship athletes.

    TCmama – I also look up schools that I’ve never heard of when they pop up in the NCAA tournament. Didn’t Gonzaga improve its national reputation through Men’s BB too?

  61. This probably ties into my general view that being part of a community should not require you to pay for things that other people want that you don’t, and I think I’m at the extreme end of the spectrum on that here.

    I found this really interesting. I think of all the communities I’m involved in – family, friends, church, work – I don’t get what I want 100% of the time. And in order to be part of a strong community, it is a given that I don’t get everything that I want.

    How do you propose dealing with common/public goods? In the case of sports, I can see the argument that it isn’t a common/public good, but at the same time, I could argue that it is if you do benefit from it even indirectly. I have lots of family in Iowa and there is a lot of bonding over college sports. I think you underestimate too how lots of the jobs you mention will still use where someone went to school as a screening criteria.

  62. Rhett, where I’ve lived, the major employers tend to be schools and healthcare, so maybe I underweight the bowels of corporate America.

    I wonder if the value of football as a networking method will go down as the fraction of female managers increases. In my experience, female managers are less likely to care about athletic prestige, especially if they aren’t one of a few women in a good ol’ boy network.

  63. “I’m going to have to argue with “most.” I’d say “most” bowels of Corporate America type jobs have a large alumni/networking component: accounting, IT, finance, business, sales, etc.”

    I’d argue that they have a networking component, but not necessarily a network related to where you went to college. Especially after the first entry level job.

  64. “most grads don’t network to get jobs where their school is very important”

    Getting job tips through college networks is common among grads from my undergrad college, but that has nothing to do with athletics and everything to do with having gone to the same college.

  65. Rhett, with respect to IT, I disagree. Most employers do care about the school yes, but not because of alumni relationships. Rather, the IT hiring manager knows that certain schools produce candidates that can get through the tech interviews, and more importantly, are able to do their job from day1. That is by far the biggest thing.

  66. I think it’s because my ability to afford my major life expenses (having 4 kids, plane tickets to visit faraway family, medical bills) is negatively affected by any other obligations.

    You’re neglecting the income portion of that calculation. To what degree does a school’s alumni network and name recognition impact you ability to get and progress in a job and how much higher is your income as a result? I know you’d prefer a world that judges you on your GPA, NMSF status and work product but we all know that’s not the world we live in.

  67. Besides, if I am hiring an Accountant, I am going to pick a UIUC grad because they have a good Accounting program, even though the football team is a joke.

  68. tcmama, it’s certainly possible that I indirectly benefit from having gone to schools with losing football teams. But the fact that football prestige and being able to afford to pay extra (over one’s lifetime) for sports prestige at one’s college has anything to do with hiring is a sad commentary on our society, similar to how I feel about other ways in which poor/working class people are kept out of prestigious positions.

    For those who read Hillbilly Elegy, think of how many hours Vance was working while he attended undergrad at Ohio State. He had no time to benefit from his athletic fees.

    I would like to see socioeconomic mobility increase by emphasizing personal merit over networking, especially athletic-related networking. I think I’m in a corner with saac today.

  69. Rhett, I’ve been to the H-Y game several times, and never set foot in the stadium while it was going on. I have no idea how either football team is doing this year and I would bet that 80%+ of the alumni of both schools neither know nor care. The attendance doesn’t vary even if the teams are in last and next to last place in the league (or division, or whatever).

    I’d like to spin off the college sports programs as sponsored teams that share a name with the school, and have them pay for themselves. Pay the athletes like the farm team players that they are, and drop the pretense that they are supposed to be students at the same time.

  70. MM,

    Right, they aren’t going to hire a totally unqualified fellow alum vs. another perfectly qualified candidate. But, given two more or less equal candidates, a fellow alum or a kid from a school with good name recognition is going to have a leg up. I would even argue that someone could be a few points less qualified and still beat out the more qualified candidate based on alumni status.

    I was just in a hiring meeting the other day and it was mentioned that all the candidates could do the work the primary question was who would fit best in the team. Having a shared connection can go along way toward making the “fit” cut.

  71. Rhett, the jobs I listed- in addition to engineering- don’t have much of a progression. Your income in healthcare, veterinary medicine, teaching or accounting is not much affected by your personality. In my field (engineering), I hit career level in 3 years and unless you manage a 3 or 4 digit number of people, you are looking at most at ~40% more in income (compared to career level engineer) for being top 1% in your field. Mr WCE had the opportunity to rise to a top 5% technical level and the pay band overlapped with his existing one, so maybe a 5% raise.

    Why would I want more hours, stress and competition for a 5%-or even 10 or 20%- raise?

  72. Your income in accounting is not much affected by your personality.

    Going from staff accountant to treasurer to comptroller to CFO isn’t much affected by your personality?

    teaching

    Your ability to get a job in the Scarsdale school district vs. Bridgeport isn’t largely due to how well you are perceived as fitting into the role?

  73. “Scarett, WRT the football tailgates and their benefits to your DH’s department, I’m wondering if those benefits require a big-time, expensive football program, or whether most of those benefits could be had with, say, a D-III program that is much less expensive.”

    Honestly don’t know enough about D-III programs, but I’m guessing that their games don’t tend to attract the big donors and potential donors that turn out every week at the big name schools. And there is a real ripple effect at the game day weekend events — tailgates, dinners with the trustees, breakfast with the president’s circle, etc. Some people in these groups don’t even bother with the game. It’s just an excuse to socialize with folks who live all over the country and wouldn’t necessarily have another easy means to get together.

  74. “I’d like to spin off the college sports programs as sponsored teams that share a name with the school, and have them pay for themselves. Pay the athletes like the farm team players that they are, and drop the pretense that they are supposed to be students at the same time.”

    I totally agree. It’s a joke that we pretend that these big-football and big-basketball athletes are “students”. Pay them.

    @Rhett -I agree with you. With two equally qualified candidates, the one who has an internal network contact will be hired. However, IME, that sponsor is just as, if not more, likely to be a neighbor or relative or friend than a fellow alumni. For the “fit” reason you mentioned. Personality also counts. People who no one likes at the interview don’t get hired, even if they went to a HSS. No one hires people that they don’t want to work with.

  75. “Going from staff accountant to treasurer to comptroller to CFO isn’t much affected by your personality?”

    I was going to say essentially the same thing. OF COURSE your career progression in Accounting is affected by your personality. And progression in a Public Accounting/Consulting company maybe even moreso than in a Corporate back office.

  76. All right, I’ll grant that your progression to CFO is strongly affected by your personality, but as the niece-in-law to a CFO of multiple Bay Area Fortune 500 companies, this ties into far more aspects of who-you-are-and-how-you-want-to-live than the football team at your school, like how much you’re willing to travel, how available you are to work and your family situation.

    Most accountants (95%+?) won’t become CFO.
    People who are passionate about meeting their kids’ bus (like me) don’t become CFO’s regardless of their personalities.

  77. “I totally agree. It’s a joke that we pretend that these big-football and big-basketball athletes are “students”. Pay them.”

    That’s a very broad brush. I think that it is insulting to say that these athletes are not students and don’t work for their degrees. I think many of them do take their schooling seriously. We could say that many people in schools are not “students” and are just taking up space. That’s not to say that I don’t think they should get paid as their school’s do make a great deal of money off their backs.

  78. Most accountants (95%+?) won’t become CFO.
    People who are passionate about meeting their kids’ bus (like me) don’t become CFO’s regardless of their personalities.

    How much you make for doing 40 hours a week of work can vary by a factor of 3, even if you’re not in a management role.

  79. Rhett, I believe what you say is true in more urban areas with more competition, but the people I know who are making $200k with an accounting degree instead of $70k aren’t doing it by working 40 hr/week, and all of the ~$200k people live in major urban areas.

  80. ““I totally agree. It’s a joke that we pretend that these big-football and big-basketball athletes are “students”. Pay them.” ”

    There’s a gray area in here. Usuallylurks alluded to it, but it’s deeper than being a serious student. Think about the Northwestern case… these students were considered employees of the U by the regional NLRB. That means that even though they were students, the U needed to treat them as employees. (and they players did get some of their desires – better stipends and medical coverage to name a couple).

    Grad students around the country who have unions prove that you can be both an employee of the U and a student of the U simultaneously. And grad students tend to make very little and still pay their U for the privilege to learn.. the payment is usually the fees (i.e. paying for the sports programs and other things grad students never use).

    The argument on the U’s side is “what do we want to call these people?” and the mental calculus that goes along with the question. My own experience tells me that the Us label those people as employees or students when it suits the U’s needs.

  81. I believe what you say is true in more urban areas with more competition,

    Where nearly 3/4 of Americans live.

  82. Rhett, a 93rd percentile individual income is ~$100k. A 97th percentile individual income is ~$170k. Some of the people at those percentiles aren’t earning that income annually, just in a particular year due to a sales bonus, etc. Some of those people (physicians, MBA’s, attorneys) invested significantly in education to earn that income. Investing in the prestige of a school’s athletics program is a high-risk gamble that pays off for a few people, at the expense of many lower income people that the risk doesn’t pay off for- in short, a form of regressive tax.

  83. “I’d bet the amount of revenue created from college football far surpasses college hockey, but I wonder if the expenses to play hockey are cheaper…”

    Well of course they are — the delta in the # of players on a team alone will decrease the costs. But tell the good folks in TX that they need to drop their football programs in favor of hockey and you’ll get run out of town on a rail. :-)

    “This probably ties into my general view that being part of a community should not require you to pay for things that other people want that you don’t”

    This is interesting to me in a completely off-topic way. To me, isn’t this sort of the definition of a community? Don’t most communities arise because people found it more beneficial to pool their resources and specialize their own efforts, even though the tradeoff is that they have to compromise in some areas and not do everything just to their own exact preference? Especially in a community within a democratic society.

  84. WCE,

    I don’t know what that chart has to do with anything.

    The question is the net present value of all future earnings between academically similar schools where one is $30k/year with a weak sports program and weak alumni network and a school that has a stronger sports program and stronger alumni ties that costs $30,600 (30k in tutition, room etc. + 600 athletic fee.)

  85. It’s a joke that we pretend that these big-football and big-basketball athletes are “students”.

    Except not in every case. 2013 Div 1 Men’s basketball participants with 90% or higher graduation rates: Belmont, Bucknell, Creighton, Davidson, Duke, Gonzaga, Harvard, St. Mary’s (Moraga, CA), Illinois, Kansas, UNLV, UNC, Notre Dame, Pacific, Villanova, Western Kentucky, Wichita St.

    Sure, there are some in the low %s e.g. Wisconsin, Florida, Southern, NC A&T, Mew Mexico St.

    Yeah, there are differences between black & white athletes here too.

    1/3 of the participating teams had graduation rates higher than that of the overall student athlete grad rate for their school.

    http://nebula.wsimg.com/510066468c8643bfab86bf6d7098d1b5?AccessKeyId=DAC3A56D8FB782449D2A&disposition=0&alloworigin=1

  86. Rhett,

    “Mr. DiCamillo, 36, is a director in the credit finance department at Citibank in Manhattan. He graduated with honors from the University of Michigan, where he was the captain of the lacrosse team, earning All-American recognition as a defenseman.”

    I saw that one too, and read in vain searching for a mention of the bride’s alma mater. Is is possible that one of Bobby Kennedy’s grandchildren didn’t go to college?

    “Ms. Kennedy, 28, is keeping her name. [no surprise there] She is a Manhattan-based freelance writer, editor and photographer for TownPool, an online shopping, advertising and social-media site associated with the Town of Nantucket, Mass.”

    There were three paragraphs that dropped the names of four Kennedys plus Frank Gifford, however.

  87. ““I’d bet the amount of revenue created from college football far surpasses college hockey, but I wonder if the expenses to play hockey are cheaper…”

    I’d guess the average. ROI for a DI basketball program is a lot better than for a DI football program, and for a DI Hockey program as well, in large part because football, and hockey, are much more expensive than basketball, especially when you figure in the additional women’s sports that might be required to meet Title IX. As Fred mentioned, most if not all schools with DI basketball have both men’s and women’s teams.

    ““Steph Curry”

    Case in point. With DI bball, one player can elevate a team to national prominence.

    I’m curious as to how much Curry meant to Davidson. E.g., has their website gotten a lot more hits, have they gotten more applications, since he led their team to the NCAA tournament?

  88. How about the band, cheerleading, dance which are other activities that students participate in that have close links with sporting events ? Just asking because those seem to me to be uniquely American.

  89. “90% or higher graduation rates”

    IIRC, women’s bball program at local flaghip U had a 100% graduation under former long-time coach, who also coached them to multiple conference championships and NCAA tourneys.

  90. “How about the band”

    My undergrad education was partly paid for by athletic scholarships for being in the band.

  91. Rhett, we disagree about the question. To me, the question is not about the net present value of ALL earnings (including people willing to commit more time to their jobs than others), it’s the net present value of one’s SPECIFIC earnings, given the effect that one’s personal choices and preferences are likely to have.

    I have never had an alcoholic drink and do not wish to drink in order to be a good “fit”. That affects my employment opportunities. I suspect that “willingness to consume alcohol” is an aspect of “fit” for at least some jobs.

    LfB, I suppose in some sense I think that “work” shouldn’t depend on one’s community, especially if we want to have increased social mobility. It ties in with Charles Murray’s observation that people segregate themselves by income now, where formerly people segregated themselves by religion, race and ethnicity more. Otherwise, our “communities” are limited to people who can/will contribute at the “appropriate” level. On a related note, I suppose I’d like to see federal funding for public schools rather than local property taxes as the primary funding source, to the extent I care about socioeconomic mobility.

  92. “Is is possible that one of Bobby Kennedy’s grandchildren didn’t go to college?”

    Or perhaps attended but did not graduate.

  93. LfB, I suppose in some sense I think that “work” shouldn’t depend on one’s community, especially if we want to have increased social mobility.

    We all agree – but that’s just not how the world works.

  94. Rhett said
    “Right, they aren’t going to hire a totally unqualified fellow alum vs. another perfectly qualified candidate. But, given two more or less equal candidates, a fellow alum or a kid from a school with good name recognition is going to have a leg up.”

    No, not in IT. It just doens’t. There is only one kind of networking that matters in IT and that is when current employees suggest names in order to get the recruiting bonus. And you aren’t going to recommend someone who is incompetent because a) that person won’t get hired and you won’t get your bonus and b) if they somhow do get hired and turn out to be bad, no one is going to listen to you the next time.
    Yes, early on you might recommend people you knew from school, but 5 or 10 years down the road, it is going to be people you worked with at other companies. No one will recommend someone thet don’t know pretty recently

  95. ” people segregate themselves by income now”

    Or perhaps we are increasingly mobile, and able and willing to move to facilitate well paying employment. I.e., the motivation for moving is not to live with others who make similar incomes, although that may be the effect.

  96. In a way, I’d prefer to live where most people made a lot less, since that would probably mean a lower COL than where my income was closer to average.

  97. “they aren’t going to hire a totally unqualified fellow alum vs. another perfectly qualified candidate. But, given two more or less equal candidates, a fellow alum or a kid from a school with good name recognition is going to have a leg up.”

    IME, the reputation of the school matters in choosing between candidates. The networking helps in getting resumes onto hiring managers’ desks and into consideration. There is often overlap between the two effects.

  98. And you aren’t going to recommend someone who is incompetent

    Again, I said two essentially equal candidates. Think of the small talk in the interview conference room while you wait for the rest of the team. Did you ever have a class with Dr. Smith…oh yeh Blah, blah, blah. At the end of the day, “I think they were both pretty similar but I felt that Mike was a better fit.”

  99. I didn’t think Davidson was that well known but Totebaggers reminded me that Steph Curry played there, so though it was a good liberal arts college, it seems to have gotten a lot more attention because of Steph Curry.
    I don’t follow sports much. I realized at my various jobs in the Northeast, that there was a lot of bonding over college sports (both men and women), so you had to seem interested just so you weren’t left out of conversations. “Fit” in addition to qualifications has been important at all my workplaces.

  100. I’d prefer to live where most people made a lot less,

    But think of your children’s peer group! Imagine them having them cavort with the lower classes!

  101. “D-III programs, but I’m guessing that their games don’t tend to attract the big donors and potential donors that turn out every week at the big name schools. ”

    I’m wondering how a DIII program that wins a fair amount and contends for conference championships compares with a sucky (suckful?) DI program.

    When I lived in SV, I saw that Stanford drew fairly large crowds, with a lot of tailgating activity, probably including a lot of networking, even when their football team sucked (e.g., one season they only won one game, and were regularly annihilated by USC).

    OTOH, when San Jose State’s team sucked, there was very little of that sort of activity going on.

  102. I’m a grad of a state school with an often, but not always, strong football program, and a strong accounting program. For the small amount the athletic fees cost, I do see value in the networking. I watch much more football than I did as a student, and have met people here in Houston because of wearing a shirt with the school name, and even got flagged down at an intersection by a woman in a convertible jaguar who saw the U logo on my car tags and wanted to chat while at a red light. As a hiring manager, I would flag a candidate from my school because I know the program is good, and it’s one thing in common with someone I would potentially have to work with. I wouldn’t automatically hire them because of the school, but I would talk to them. I go back for occasional football games, and use that as an opportunity to keep up my network of people in that state because I would eventually like to move back. I send job openings I am aware for entry-level jobs to the accounting department and to my sorority alum group. And in all thos conversations, talk of how the team is doing, and whether we’ll beat our in-state rival this year. I know little, but enough to participate in a brief conversation, and it’s fun. My state has no pro football team so college games may take on outsized importance, but tailgating and socializing on game weekends is a big deal.

  103. Rhett, and I totally don’t get your comment about getting hired in the Scarsdale school district, which totally has nada to do with going to a football school. What they care about in Scarsdale (and my district) is a) have you paid your dues teaching in the Bronx? b) do you have subject expertise (if MS/HS) or expertiise in reading/math education or special ed for the lower grades? c) do you understand the pressures on the students – will you be able to deal with the parents and with getting kids ready to score really high on the tests?
    Our elementary school just hired this year – my DD is in his class. They hired a nice preppy, personable young man who had taught for 4 years successfully in the Bronx, and whose mother also teaches at our school. And most importantly, he is an alum of our district. They really look for that fit.

  104. “But think of your children’s peer group! Imagine them having them cavort with the lower classes!”

    Thus the “in a way” qualifier.

    Some people try (and some of those succeed) by living in low COL areas and sending their kids to school outside their neighborhoods.

  105. Rhett, and I totally don’t get your comment about getting hired in the Scarsdale school district, which totally has nada to do with going to a football school.

    As far as I know it doesn’t have anything to do with it. I was responding to WCE’s point that your personality doesn’t have anything to do with you getting and keeping a job there.

  106. And I agree that name recognitiion is important, but it isn’t name recognition because of football. Hiring managers will see someone coming in from our state U branch which has a good CS program, and will take a look because they have hired 5 other people from that program and know that the grads are pretty smart. My DH had a leg up because his PhD is from a program (at a football-less school) which is a giant feeder to the financial industry.

    And 5 years post-graduation, no one cares that much. Coming in from a strong company is far more important. Type of company matters too – high tech companies like people who are coming from other high tech companies, financial companies prefer people coming in from say JPMorgan, and so on. I am sure it is different in other areas, but in IT, there is a strong bias to merit or at least perceived merit. Plus, geeks are the LEAST likely people to have followed football in college

  107. Davidson Grad here (frequent reader, first time commenter). (I’ll chime in although RMS once called us insufferable – ouch!)

    Our NCAA run with Steph Curry definitely raised the national awareness. I’ve had many fewer conversations where the other person was sure I said Dennison or Dickenson when I say I went to Davidson.

    Davidson’s applications have certainly risen over the years, but not out of proportion to other Southern SLAC’s, so I don’t think the rise is attributable to Steph.

    Finally, Davidson has an extraordinarily strong alumni network, despite its lack of national athletic prominence. This may be why RMS said we are insufferable, but there’s certainly a very strong loyalty to other Davidson grads.

  108. Some people try (and some of those succeed) by living in low COL areas and sending their kids to school outside their neighborhoods.

    Ah, I was thinking the quality of the peer group in the best school district (and private schools) in suburban Cincinnati or Akron vs. Palo Alto, Newton or Scarsdale.

  109. I realize that it is not every school, and that there are exceptional students who manage to get a degree in Chemistry while also playing D-I football. But that’s not really the norm in the big programs, is it? Let the NFL pay the kids at Ohio State since they are using them as farm system anyway. One supported by taxpayers, other students, and boosters. College baseball and hockey are different from football and basketball partially because there is a professional farm system for both sports.

  110. And I agree that name recognitiion is important, but it isn’t name recognition because of football.

    As an academic, I think you’re overrating how in tune Ted, the Minnesota State grad hiring manager at Acme Inc in Minneapolis is with the rankings of various CS programs.

  111. “I realize that it is not every school, and that there are exceptional students who manage to get a degree in Chemistry while also playing D-I football. But that’s not really the norm in the big programs, is it?”

    As others have mentioned, it’s a gray area.

    I worked with a very good, very bright engineer who also loved football. He went to a school with a big-time DI program and walked on. He never had an athletic scholarship, and never got into a game, but contributed to the team as a regular member of the scout team.

    I think a lot of teams have players like that, who are students but also play because they love to play.

  112. We almost never see students in our major from the revenue-producing sports. I think I recall one basketball player, and he barely scraped through. They really do not have the time. Most of them major in sports management, which is the dumping ground for athletes from the revenue sports at many schools.
    We do get student athletes from the smaller sports. They can be very strong, especially the women. I think TitleIX is worth its costs because it has opened doors for so many women, which after all is a main mission for a university (opening doors that is). And the impact has trickled down, or maybe torrentially rained down, to younger aged girls. The difference between when I grew up, when girls simply did not play sports, and now, is amazing.

  113. “Ah, I was thinking the quality of the peer group in the best school district (and private schools) in suburban Cincinnati or Akron vs. Palo Alto, Newton or Scarsdale.”

    I think the top peer groups in Palo Alto are at the public schools.

    And parents with means in suburban Cincy have the option of sending their kids to boarding school.

  114. The other thing to realize is that outcomes for student-athletes in the revenue sports is really bad. It isn’t anything like what Rhett thinks. That leg up from having played sports in college mainly accrues to kids who play the lesser sports, because they have time to major in something real, and because they usually have good high preparation and can succeed in a major like accounting.

    Many of the male students in the revenue sports can barely read, and many never graduate. Spending 3 years of your life playing basketball and barely passing the mickey mouse courses is not good preparation for the real world.

  115. “I think TitleIX is worth its costs because it has opened doors for so many women”

    And it opens the most such doors at schools with FCS football, since those programs have the most football scholarships that must then be matched in women’s sports.

    Does this make you a proponent of big-time college football?

  116. So one way of thinking about this is that the big-time programs that make a lot of money, e.g., ND, Bama, are being subsidized by the schools that struggle to fund athletic departments that include FCS football teams.

    Uh no. The big football programs subsidize the small ones. Jacksonville State or whoever is willing to play a game at Alabama and lose 70-3 because they get $500,000 from Alabama, which funds their team for the season..

  117. The other thing to realize is that outcomes for student-athletes in the revenue sports is really bad. It isn’t anything like what Rhett thinks.

    You’re conflating a number of different things here.

    1: We have the question of majoring in accounting at a big sports school with a strong alumni network vs. a similarly rigorous accounting program at a school with a weak sports program and a weaker alumni network.

    2: Student athletes in general, the vast majority of which aren’t in revenue sports. My understanding is they tend to have the highest incomes and donate the most to the university.

    3. Revenue sport athletes who often times are used an abused and leave school without much in terms of career prospects.

  118. “Spending 3 years of your life playing basketball and barely passing the mickey mouse courses is not good preparation for the real world.”

    I remember being really surprised when my mom made donations to a program at her alma mater that provides tuition grants to football players who’d used up their eligibility without graduating.

  119. I went to a school with a national champion basket ball team. A very high majority of the basketball “revenue sport athletes” were not stupid. If you look at the field of 64 schools each year in the tournament, you will find that many are on the list posted above with 90% graduation rates.

    I can only speak to my school, and to a similar school that my DH attended. The basketball players were not stupid AND they sat in the same classes as us. Both of us attended schools that won’t he national championship. Two of the basketball players that attended when I was there were in the undergrad business school with me. They had to take the same intro to accounting and stats classes as me. I am sure that they had tutors because they had to miss so many classes, but both have careers now outside of basketball. One of these players stayed to complete his MBA. There was only one player I met in four years in a required philosophy class that was stupid. One. I know this may not be representative of all schools, but I don’t want to see all schools with D-I basketball programs labeled as only having dumb athletes.

    I had absolutely no interest in basketball before I attended this school, but basketball was a positive part of my experience during my four years at the school. We’ve passed down this excitement to our daughter even though our schools are big rivals.

  120. “You’re conflating a number of different things here.

    1: We have the question of majoring in accounting at a big sports school with a strong alumni network vs. a similarly rigorous accounting program at a school with a weak sports program and a weaker alumni network.”

    Sounds like you may be conflating a strong sports program with a strong alumni network.

  121. Sounds like you may be conflating a strong sports program with a strong alumni network

    I’ve asserted that they tend to be correlated. A state school with a strong sports program tends to have a stronger alumni network than a similar state school with a weak program.

  122. I think a big part of my school’s alumni network is because of the football program. It is a large school, but the one big thing that seems to bind people is the football games. I don’t much care for football but I regularly get invited to football related alumni activities in DC (not where I went to school). I think it is hard for people who didn’t go to schools with such a big football presence to understand, but I would never have had my wedding on a football Saturday if I had wanted any college friends to attend. You just don’t do that. And other people who went to the same school definitely give me a check plus for attending. I used to do a lot of work for a client and he really liked me in large part because of my alma mater. And every call centered around the football team (and I had to read up on it since I don’t really follow football).

  123. “If you look at the field of 64 schools each year in the tournament, you will find that many are on the list posted above with 90% graduation rates.”

    Teams with low graduation rates lose scholarships, making it difficult to get to the tournament.

    I don’t doubt that many student-athletes are really students; one of the QBs when I was in school was a CE major, who I heard (from other CE majors) was a decent student. But I wonder how many of the graduates were just pushed through without really meeting graduation requirements, or with a bunch of fluff courses, like what may have been happening at UNC-CH.

    BTW, the tournament field size is now 68.

  124. “In my field (engineering), I hit career level in 3 years and unless you manage a 3 or 4 digit number of people, you are looking at most at ~40% more in income (compared to career level engineer) for being top 1% in your field.”

    IME, the top 1% got a lot more options than the other 99%.

  125. The question I was trying to raise was not so much whether athletic programs have their places in colleges, but whether student fees to support those programs are appropriate, especially in today’s environment, e.g., rising college costs are a major topic in the presidential campaign, and at the level of some of the fees (e.g., adding thousands in debt to some students).

    Is it possible to gain the benefits of college athletic programs without burdening students and taxpayers with fees (or subsidies) to support them?

  126. Is it possible to gain the benefits of college athletic programs without burdening students and taxpayers with fees (or subsidies) to support them?

    What would you suggest as an alternative?

  127. Lauren – your school was not in the tournament for the year I mentioned above but had it been I figure it would have been part of the 90%+ cadre. Mostly because of the group that runs the school. Education is a big deal to them.

  128. “Revenue sport athletes who often times are used and abused and leave school without much in terms of career prospects.”

    “But I wonder how many of the graduates were just pushed through without really meeting graduation requirements, or with a bunch of fluff courses, like what may have been happening at UNC-CH.”

    This is the part that bothers me. Or the “student-athletes” who are discouraged from doing anything but taking the fluff courses because it would hurt the team for them to have a hard course load or a more serious major. Maybe it doesn’t happen as often at HSS schools like Notre Dame, Northwestern or Duke, but do people really believe that this is not happening or not a problem?

    I don’t think that happens in women’s sports or in men’s sports outside of BB and FB as much at all because they don’t bring in the same kind of revenue. And hockey and baseball have their own farm systems for those who are not interested in being a student-athlete. Basketball can draft out of HS. If you want to play professional football, it is nearly impossible to do so without going to a D-I school, whether you have any interest or aptitude for college or not.

    Rhett – I understand your first point too, but I think you are attributing too much to weight to the sports side of the equation when it comes to the strength of the alumni network, especially in a particular field.

  129. Women’s colleges tend to have very strong alum networks, or so I’ve heard…

    DH went to a very well regarded engineering school, only division III athletics (and only a few). He routinely gets emails from students looking to move to the area and work in tech – he is able to give them a view of the landscape and make some specific recommendations on how to direct their job hunt. He does this because he is loyal to the school and the overall number of requests are small. He would likely hire them, but he has not been in a division that hires new grads for anything. He also has made contact with people regarding jobs due to alumni connections – it is a tiny group, but well represented in big tech and fiercely loyal. I’m not sure why MM thinks that computer people don’t network (trying to avoid some kind of terrible pun).

    I very purposely went to a school without a football program. In the land of “I’ll never…” from when I was a kid, that was high on my list. I hated that was the only contact we had with the greater world (we never went to movies, theater, concerts, festivals) – “When I grow up, I’ll never spend time around people watching football.” I’ve softened a bit over the years (I’ll tailgate with my parents), but not much.

  130. I understand your first point too, but I think you are attributing too much to weight to the sports side of the equation when it comes to the strength of the alumni network

    Atlanta and Kate have mentioned how many networking opportunities occur during sports related events. What kind of networking events are available, with similar levels of enthusiasm and attendance, at schools without sports as a hook?

  131. At my school, a huge issue is football players (and to some extent, basketball players) not a comparable education. This is a school that is generally thought to be well regarded. I think that the school should allow the student athletes some period of time to come back and get an education for free if they played football for a certain amount of years. I really do think they are exploiting these players. Many of them didn’t have the opportunity to go to college but for football and the school makes a killing on them. The least it could do is make sure that every kid who wants a degree gets one, even if it after his football days are up.

  132. “Is it possible to gain the benefits of college athletic programs without burdening students and taxpayers with fees (or subsidies) to support them?”

    Sure. Just charge more for tickets, seat licenses, parking to football and basketball games. That’ll work well for many, but not all, of the ~60 or so (roughly 1/2 of the) bowl division football and the ~90 or so (25-30% of the) Division 1 basketball programs that regularly get into post-season play.
    But for the perennial bottom half (football) 3/4 (basketball), it probably won’t work so well. It might even work for some ice hockey teams.

    But the majority of both need the ‘student fees’ component of the budget.

    Related to all this: How about the sports teams at the 3 service academies? Why are we the taxpaying public supporting those? The only reason has to be as an inducement for certain students to attend, since at least some of their athletes could attend school for free/no cost if they went someplace else. I’m not too worried about the academic quality of athletes at Air Force, Army and Navy.

  133. How about the sports teams at the 3 service academies? Why are we the taxpaying public supporting those?

    A football team advancing on the field, a team of soldiers advancing on a position – I see a lot of parallels. Isn’t that why college sports started in the first place, to build martial skills among the elite?

  134. “Basketball can draft out of HS.”

    Not any more, and thus all the one-and-done players, especially at Kentucky.

  135. I agree with Rhett that there’s a correlation between strong sports programs and strong alumni programs.

    Football is everything here in SEC country. Where we are, if you don’t schedule things around UGA’s football schedule, forget it. It’s how people socialize and connect with each other.

    The same was true for basketball when we lived in ACC country. I am 100% positive I beat out other candidates for a job because I was a UNC grad, as was the person interviewing me. And yes, it came up in the interview.

    I love sports, so this is an easy way for me to connect with people (and by the way, did you catch that UNC game Saturday? HEART STOPPING. SWVA, where are you when I need you for this discussion). I’m still not convinced Georgia State + Football is a match made in heaven, given UGA and Ga Tech are already competing for dollars and recruits. But I respect Atlanta Mom’s viewpoint.

  136. “When I lived in SV, I saw that Stanford drew fairly large crowds, with a lot of tailgating activity, probably including a lot of networking, even when their football team sucked (e.g., one season they only won one game, and were regularly annihilated by USC).”

    Sometimes the sucky years are actually better for networking, because there are so many MORE things to talk about when the team isn’t doing well. Picking apart the performance of the coaches and the various key players, analyzing the effect of injuries and suspensions, plotting a coup to storm the administration building and demand the head of the coach…the possibilities for bonding are endless.

  137. Related to all this: How about the sports teams at the 3 service academies? Why are we the taxpaying public supporting those? The only reason has to be as an inducement for certain students to attend, since at least some of their athletes could attend school for free/no cost if they went someplace else. I’m not too worried about the academic quality of athletes at Air Force, Army and Navy.

    I’m pretty sure the three highest paid federal employees are the football coaches at the academies.

  138. When I say it came up in the interview, I meant UNC sports. Obviously they already knew I was a graduate.

  139. The best selling t-shirt at the NYU bookstore is “NYU Football” —- ironically of course. I alternate between thinking that’s really obnoxious and thinking it’s funny.

  140. “How about the sports teams at the 3 service academies? Why are we the taxpaying public supporting those? ”

    You’re really not, or just barely. Most comes from the non-profit athletic associations.

    About 3 to 4 percent of its $41 million budget comes from federal funding, Gladchuk said. Those funds help pay for travel and meals for teams that don’t make money, such as swimming, tennis, squash and rowing.

    http://www.capitalgazette.com/news/ph-ac-cn-agreement-0104-20150102-story.html

    Now, the NAAA is actually collecting some of its money (how much I don’t know) out of the salaries paid to the students, charging them for, among other things, the tickets to the football games that they’re required to attend. That part is bullshit, imo.

    As to what Rhett said, God help me for sharing this quote that they love from old Douglas Macarthur to West Point’s 1946 graduating class:

    “On the fields of friendly strife are sown the seeds that on other days, on other fields will bear the fruits of victory.”

  141. “I’m pretty sure the three highest paid federal employees are the football coaches at the academies.”

    CEO of TVA (public energy utility)

  142. “Not any more, and thus all the one-and-done players, especially at Kentucky.”

    I forgot that they changed that rule.

    FWIW, I love sports. And I actually played a sport in college for awhile (D-III), and I have given a whole lot of money to professional sports over the years via ticket and merchandise sales. But there is a side of the big-money sports that I find extremely troubling. I like Kate’s idea of allowing athletes to come back & finish their degree. And I like the idea of divorcing the teams from the university more officially somehow.

    @Lark – if you & the interviewer both went to the same school and it wasn’t a MBB powerhouse, don’t you think you still would have made a connection?

  143. “Many of the male students in the revenue sports can barely read, and many never graduate. Spending 3 years of your life playing basketball and barely passing the mickey mouse courses is not good preparation for the real world.”

    Maybe not. It would certainly be preferable to turn back the clock and give those kids better lives (or better parents, or both) from age 0-18 that would help prepare them for the real world. But given that they have reached adulthood with athletic but not academic skills, isn’t spending 4-5 years at a DI school, even without graduating, a marginally better real-world prep than their next best alternative for that period of their lives?

  144. Rhett, my school/local alumni club hosts networking events that are not related to sports to bring alums together. They tend to focus on alums in certain industries, or geographic areas. For example, there is a large annual fund raising dinner held at Waldorf, or similar for Wall Street types. There are plenty of free events during the year for anyone associated with finance, or thinking about going into finance. There used to be several women only events, but I’m happy to see that there are fewer of these women only finance networking events. They have similar groups for entertainment industry, tech and a few other industries. I have attended some professional networking events with hundreds of alums, but it will probably always be dwarfed by basketball games.

    I am able to attend local events because the school plays some teams located in my metro area, and there are always tournaments in MSG. The happy hours for basketball, and associated games do draw more alums.

    One of the schools that DH attended is not big in college sports. His alma mater works hard to bring alums together for a day on campus that revolves around the arts. We just got invited to a day long program in NYC with professors that will present seminars about the election and the presidency. He used to take DD to a cookie decorating event every year in the city that he said was a greta networking opportunity because it was all local alums that were standing around while the kids were decorating cookies.

  145. “What would you suggest as an alternative?”

    Less expensive athletic programs? Some schools have dropped football, which facilitates a huge cut in athletic budgets, including the cutting of non-revenue women’s sports that were necessitated by football and Title IX.

    Dropping from to a lower level is another way to reduce costs.

    It’s sort of a zero-sum race between schools, and the wannabes whose programs don’t bring in enough revenue to support their programs turn to things like student fees.

  146. I am sorry, but I still don;t see that being an alum of a sports powerhouse gives you any advantage in the IT sector. Here are my reasons
    1. Computer geeks are not nearly as likely as the rest of the population to be really into sports. In fact, being a MTG tournament player may give you much more of an advantage than having gone to BigSportsU.
    2. An awful lot of IT people went to school overseas. In the places I worked, any minimal sports enthusiasm at all tended to be about cricket.
    3. Experience counts for far more than anything else, and fresh grads are likely to have several internships under their belts. In fact, internships are where the school counts the MOST, because companies tend to get all their interns from just a few schools where they have a strong relationship. This relationship is most likely based on ties between faculty and technical managers at the company. Often, the company is also funding research at that school
    4. Companies have a really hard time finding qualfied people, especially in software development and in analytics. Often the choice is not between two similarly qualfied candidates. More typically, the position is open for a while, and a number of people are interviewed and turned down, and then finally the person who is qualfied shows up and gets hired.
    5. Most tech hiring is done through recruiters, who do the work of winnowing the resumes.

  147. Going back to the original question, why do we have “athletics” or “facilities” fees anyway? (I can see a direct charge for health fees for those who cannot prove health insurance coverage from a parent or employer.)
    My middle kid’s bill for this semester read:
    Tuition Full Time Undergrad $xx,xxx
    Residential Properties (on-campus housing) $x,xxx
    Total $xx,xxx
    Less Grants, Scholarships, Awards
    Total Due $yy,yyy

    I am sure some of what I paid was to cover athletics (plus other stuff he’ll never use), but do I need to see this broken out? No not really. Total Cost of Ownership approach.

    (I get that for public institutions maybe there’s a need to separate the low-ball tuition number for political purposes and then tack on fees galore, but to the payor, it’s all the same).

    And, back when I was an undergrad, I didn’t pay any “tuition”…I paid “registration fees”. Nowhere was the word tuition on any of my bills. Out of state kids paid tuition, but not state residents.

  148. @ Milo – I’m not telling you this to be nitpicky, I’m telling you this so you’ll be in the know if you are ever speaking about it in real life. It’s “the” TVA. CEO of the TVA. But you have to say it softly and fluidly. It is a point of local pride to know the difference. Just in case that’s ever of use to you. :)

    @ Ivy – no. My general background was what got me the interview. Talking about sports that day (with someone I had otherwise nothing in common) is what got me the job.

  149. I’m wondering how many SLACs have football teams. I can’t think of any that have DI football. So I’m wondering what kind of alumni networks and networking they have in the absence of such.

  150. Lark – Thanks!

    Just like:

    Papa got a job with the TVA,
    Bought washing machine, and then a Chevrolet

  151. MM,

    There is more to IT than geeks. Sales, sales engineers, consultants, project managers, etc.

  152. “I’m wondering how many SLACs have football teams. I can’t think of any that have DI football.”

    Fred, Denver, and I just talked about three of them with D1 football!

  153. “But there is a side of the big-money sports that I find extremely troubling.”

    What I find most troubling is the special treatment many athletes get after transgressions, especially violent ones. And many of those transgressions seem to stem, at least in part, from an entitlement mentality due to their athletic prowess.

  154. I guess I don’t think of the service academies as SLACs. Similarly, I’ve seen Harvey Mudd classified as a SLAC, but I don’t think of it as such, any more than I think of Caltech as a SLAC.

  155. Going back to the original question, why do we have “athletics” or “facilities” fees anyway?

    Many (most?) states have restrictions on how much tuition can be raised, but they don’t apply to fees. That’s why there are fees.

  156. “I guess I don’t think of the service academies as SLACs.”

    Maybe 4,000 is a little high to be considered “small”?

  157. I thought the S was for selective? Not that I know anything about them. Before this group, I couldn’t have named 3!

  158. “Maybe 4,000 is a little high to be considered “small”?”

    No, it’s the “LA” part, not the “small” part. Caltech is definitely not “LA;” they don’t have a full range of LA courses, and partner with Occidental for classes they don’t offer. I believe Mudd students take a lot of their LA classes from the other Claremont colleges.

  159. “My general background was what got me the interview. Talking about sports that day (with someone I had otherwise nothing in common) is what got me the job.”

    Right, but as an alum of a school that doesn’t have big sports, I could tell you anecdotes about how I got my jobs and how/why I’ve hired people that have nothing to do with big time college sports. I think networking in general matters a whole lot, but I’m not convinced that being an alum of a big sports school has a big advantage over other types of commonalities that give you a connection to the recruiter or hiring manager. Maybe it is more regional too. I don’t know. I’ve lived/worked mostly in New England and the Midwest. But it’s not like we don’t like our Big Ten football here!

  160. Finn – USNews seems to use only this criteria:

    “emphasize undergraduate education and award at least half of their degrees in the liberal arts fields of study. “

  161. “want to finally take our kid to Disney world. What time is the best time, how many days should we plan for? Any websites I need to know about? Stay inside Disney world or outside? If inside, which one is best?
    Anything else I need to know about?”

    This month is probably good. The public schools here take a week off in October, and that’s a great time for those families to go to WDW or Disneyland. It’s low season, so the parks are relatively uncrowded, and travel expenses are typically low.

    I don’t remember how old your kid is, but if not school age yet, go when most kids are in school.

    One great WDW tip I learned here was to look into DVC (Disney Vacation Club), especially if you want to stay on Disney property. We got our lodging from a friend of a friend who is a DVC member, but I only knew what DVC was, and knew of its advantages, because I’d read about it hear.

    And if you go to Universal Studios, make sure to try the butter beer, I recommend the frozen version.

  162. I, too, went to a school without a big sports program. What I know, I know through observation–sports matters. My BIL and his family are loyal Florida alums. My family has become Gators fans by marriage. The kids and I have been stopped for friendly conversation so many times when we wear our blue and orange t-shirts–and the people who stop us are Florida football fans. If I wear a regular shirt or *my* college t-shirt, alas, nobody stops me to say “hi”.

  163. DH is a bit of an anamoly because though born overseas and in tech, he is an avid sports fan.
    I think while talking to him, people tend to forget that he did not go to college here and somehow in their minds they think of him an an alumnus of some big name sports school. This has served him well, he finds common ground with a wide swath of people easily.
    Now, that it is football season, many of my neighbors have their school flags flying proudly outside their front doors.

  164. What’s going on with spending on athletic programs is not unlike what’s going on with NMSF.

    A lot of schools are trying to increase their academic profiles, and one tool many of them are using is a lot of merit aid to attract students who will increase those profiles, i.e., NMF, NMSF, students with high test scores, high GPAs.

    Interestingly, there is a lot of overlap with big-time athletics. Alabama, Oklahoma, and USC are among the schools that have aggressively pursued this. Actually, both USCs, which interestingly have related team names.

    And as with athletics, it’s sort of a zero-sum game, although perhaps less than with athletics since a higher academic profile could increase interest outside the US.

  165. I guess historically many schools have done many things to increase their profiles, such as offering enticements to famous academics to get them to join their faculties, adding additional programs, building linear accelerators, etc.

  166. As I understand it, the advantages to staying on Disney property are:
    1) earlier park entry hours (1 hour earlier?)
    2) easier and faster to return to your hotel for a kid’s nap, or take a break at the pool, and then return again at night
    3) earlier access to book your Fast Pass reservations for rides. This is actually more important than it sounds, and it’s really where I kind of hate Disney vacations. I think the rule is that those staying onsite can make their FP reservations 60 days in advance compared to 30 days for the unwashed. You’re only allowed something like three FP reservations on your ticket at any point in time, so it’s advantageous to get the earliest reservations for the most popular rides and then once you’ve cleared them off your ticket, you can make subsequent reservations for later that day. But if the only time you could get things like Seven Dwarves’ Mine Train was at 3:30, and Peter Pan 4:30, and whatever, then by the time you redeem those, there will be no remaining Fast Passes available that day for any other high-demand attractions.

    Otherwise, I’d much rather stay at either a nice time share or VRBO offsite.

    I’d be more than happy to never go back to Disney, but I’m sure I’ll get dragged there again. Have a wonderful time, though, it’s such a magical place. What a blessing!

  167. (I’ll chime in although RMS once called us insufferable – ouch!)

    O hai, Davidson grad! Let me add to my previous comment that I briefly dated a Davidson grad, and was very dear friends with another until she went batshit insane, and I absolutely attribute that to her family and not at all to Davidson. They were smart, likable, lovely people. They had a slightly elevated impression of the status of Davidson within the academic universe, but were overall great folks. So, uh, please post more often!

  168. Denver – for publics, yes, but not for privates.

    Right. I’m guessing maybe the privates might want to be able to advertise lower tuition by shifting costs to fees. I don’t know.

  169. I’d be more than happy to never go back to Disney, but I’m sure I’ll get dragged there again. Have a wonderful time, though, it’s such a magical place. What a blessing!

    My thoughts exactly. I was amazed at how much worse it got between the first time we took the kids there (around 2005) and the second – and last – time, about three years ago. We had a much better time at Universal.

  170. Dell – remind me how old you kids are. If young, stay at a hotel on the monorail. In order, I would do Polynesian, Contemporary, Grand Floridian (on a value basis). If not young, I would stay off property and rent a car. Either the Four Seasons (which will likely be cheaper than the monorail hotels) or Bonnet Creek (for a less expensive option). Don’t get the meal plan if you stay on property (don’t think this is an option if you are off property).

  171. I, too, went to a school without a big sports program. What I know, I know through observation–sports matters. My BIL and his family are loyal Florida alums. My family has become Gators fans by marriage. The kids and I have been stopped for friendly conversation so many times when we wear our blue and orange t-shirts–and the people who stop us are Florida football fans. If I wear a regular shirt or *my* college t-shirt, alas, nobody stops me to say “hi”.

    I realize nobody will admit to what college they went to here, but I’m guessing a large part of this is that there are probably a lot more Florida grads than grads from your school, thus increasing the likelihood of encountering alumni. Of course sports plays a big part in the enthusiasm as well.

  172. The one reason she may want to get a meal plan is if she wants to do a lot of the character meals. We got our value out of the meal plan because we did just about all of them.

  173. I’m the one that posted about DVC points exchange. We’ve done it twice, and both times it worked flawlessly. You have to plan far in advance and it is absolutely inflexible. But, you get apartment-style rooms (washing machine, kitchen, separate bedroom) for about 75% off the rack rate. We’ve used https://www.dvcrequest.com/

  174. Good point by Milo. We are doing 3 character meals and the calculator I used said we would spend less if we just paid out of pocket. If you do one every day you probably are better off with the meal plan.

  175. Thanks for the Disney advice so far! My kid is 4 years old and I think we might go around spring not right now. So plenty of time to plan and book I hope. I will start by looking DVC and at the hotels mentioned on the monorail.
    I will have more questions after research I guess.

  176. Dell http://www.distripplanner.com

    I used the actual restaurants where we have reservations. The Disney Dining Plan is what I used (which is one sit down restaurant which includes most of the character meals, one counter service meal and 2 snacks). The sit down meals include an appetizer and dessert for each person (which is not something that we would normally get. Maybe one for the table total). It seems like a ton of food to me.

  177. “It seems like a ton of food to me.”

    OMG yes. And then you get to the end of the week, and you have 50 un-redeemed “snack” vouchers. We bought a lot of the wrapped items like gigantic novelty lollipops that the kids could give out to their friends.

  178. Dell, another suggestion (but only if you are really going to go) is to use the time between now and then to expose Dell Jr. to a lot of Disney movies, books, etc. DJ will probably appreciate the experience more, and especially meeting the characters, whether at character meals or just wandering about the park, if familiar with the characters and their stories.

    We lucked out that a friend of a friend is a DVC member, so we got points directly, cutting out the middle man.

  179. The sit down meals include an appetizer and dessert for each person (which is not something that we would normally get. Maybe one for the table total).

    But, you’re on vacation! The half cookies and dessert tomatoes are for home.

  180. Dell – this site is crazy http://www.disboards.com
    but if you don’t let yourself get sucked in by it, some of the general stuff is helpful. Like the main threads about the different hotels if you are comparing. Skip the threads where people offer helpful tips like using a crockpot to cook a brisket in your hotel room to save $.

  181. We eat whole cookies at my house and wash them down with chocolate milk! But no way would anyone ever eat an appetizer, entree and dessert for dinner every day!

  182. “There is only one kind of networking that matters in IT and that is when current employees suggest names in order to get the recruiting bonus. ”

    MM – my comment was in response to this. I’ll buy that college football prowess has little to do with IT networking. (Anecdotally, DH gave a presentation once in a suite during a major league quarterfinal game. It probably would have gone over better if he could have pretended to care). However, alumni networking matters. Other professional networking matters.

  183. Regarding the comments on what kind of networking matters in IT- In my experience Rhett is correct- of course networking and bonding over sports, schools or other common interests matters just like in any other career. You don’t reach Chief Information Officer or other intermediate levels without working with a tremendous assortment of people.

  184. WCE – I have bought from there once. However, my workplace has moved to a more casual look and those pieces are more formal and expensive than what my workplace requires.
    The clothes are well made though.

  185. Does Dennison have a big sports program? Is it bigger/ better than Davidson’s? Seems to me that the fact that names of many colleges that don’t emphasize sports have been dropped in this conversation is proof in itself that there are other ways for schools to get name recognition.

    I still think that big sports are “just an excuse to socialize with folks who live all over the country and wouldn’t necessarily have another easy means to get together.” And there are plenty of other ways to do that.

    Rhett is massively over-emphasizing a small set of careers in his comments, probably a subset of those careers. That’s not surprising, because he is generally unaware of life beyond those careers. Odd, given his origin story.

    I’m with MM on hiring. Granted, the hiring committees I’ve sat on have been for TT positions in an academic dept, but hey, they are jobs too! “Fit” generally came into play after the interview stage, unrelated to university. We knew the top programs in what we were hiring for. References were valued based on work the person had done, not college affiliation. I do remember one case of an masters student being admitted because he and the dept chair shared an alma mater. He bombed and the chair was embarrassed.

    WCE, I’m totally with you on school funding! You probably knew that already.
    On drinking and “fit”–I’m not a teetotaler, but I don’t like the feeling of being drunk beyond a drink or two. I’m told that cheap beer is a taste aquired when one is young and wants to get drunk. Absent interest in that goal, I never aquired the taste for it. My thesis advisor bought me my first beer–Newcastle Ale. Not terribly hoity-toitly, but much more palatable than PBR. Anyway, point is that you don’t have to drink to network. In my PhD program, I was at happy hour every Friday night. Loved it, I drank iced tea. Usually the cheap kind, but sometimes I’d splurge and get the expensive kind.

  186. On student-athletess, there are some who use sports intentionally to get an education. It is pretty crappy to force that on them, when you consider the possibility of injury, the years of prep required, the number who don’t make the cut, and the number of hours at top effort they put into their sport. Farm programs with actual money seem more fair. Then they can choose if they want to play (eg, work) while they’re in school, or save up for going to college later.

  187. MM, ita re Title IX

    I have a cousin in Cincinnati. Her kids went to public schools. One of them is tearing it up as an accountant now. His brother is still in college. Really, name-dropping schools that are known because of things like football programs is a very general way to find connection. It is possible they went to that school and had exactly the opposite extracurriculars from you. The main thing is finding something in common.

  188. “What kind of networking events are available, with similar levels of enthusiasm and attendance, at schools without sports as a hook?”

    Not as many as there would be if big sports wasn’t there as a networking “thing”.

  189. Rhett is massively over-emphasizing a small set of careers in his comments

    Looking at SAP it looks like 20% of their workforce is what MM would call developers. The other 80% consists of consulting, training, hardware, sales, marketing, finance and accounting, management, testing, documentation, etc.

  190. It’s been my experience and observation that school alumni ties are often not specifically about the sports teams. They’re about the school culture, location, and major, among other things. The school culture is often not predominately about sports. My firsthand knowledge includes the oil industry and financial services. For example is the Aggie network primarily about sports? Not IME. Maybe others would disagree.

    A funny story about a hiring case: A good ole boy I knew interviewed a job candidate, and had an extensive conversation about both being Aggies. The candidate got hired, and it was only afterwards that the interviewer learned the new hire was not from A&M as he had assumed but from another Aggie college. Oklahoma I think.

  191. @ Ivy – I absolutely agree with you. I don’t think sports are make or break in any fashion and there are a million other ways to network and get jobs. And I know plenty of people who attended a big sports school and don’t give a hoot about sports at all. This is part of why I am dubious that Georgia State’s approach is the best one out there.

  192. I have read that HSS have an interview component. Some Totebaggers have been interviewers. How have you connected with the students ? I would think that even in this instance the alumni interviewer is looking for “soft skills” and personality fit with the institution, beyond the test scores and grades. Any comments on this ?

  193. WCE – I tried an MM LaFleur box. Similar to Of Mercer. Their clothes are well-made but unfortunately the dresses were too short on me and the other stuff they sent (belts/accessories) I don’t wear. If I try them again I will call in advance to get the overall length of the dresses and see if any of them would be long enough.

  194. Seems to me that the fact that names of many colleges that don’t emphasize sports have been dropped in this conversation is proof in itself that there are other ways for schools to get name recognition.

    Of course, this group isn’t exactly representative of the overall population in terms of interest in higher education :)

  195. Unrelated tangent. DD’s school has gone off the deep end with conferences now. Last year, they did the “student-led” conference thing. It was totally useless, in our opinion. Over the summer the principal that everyone hated was fired (our guess is due to a combination of driving a bunch of good teachers out and having an affair with the director, who was the previous principal). So we thought things would return to normal this year under an interim principal. Nope.

    This year for conferences, we are just meeting with our child’s “advisor”, and we are expected to discuss a goal that our child wants to set for the year. If you want to meet directly with any of the other teachers, you can schedule an appointment with them after conferences are over, meaning it will require another trip to school that will be inconvenient for both parents and teachers. DD’s advisor is also her language arts teacher, but DW strongly dislikes her for a variety of reasons, the big one being that she is having them read books they’ve already read. My plan is to ask a lot of specific questions about how DD is doing in her other classes that the teacher will have no way to answer.

    I am so glad we’re done with this school after this year. It was such a great school and they drove it into the ground.

  196. Brief hijack — can anyone recommend a payroll service that will handle nanny tax filing requirements? I used to do it by hand, BITD, but two members of my extended family network have asked me to help with this, and I am not willing to take on the duties myself this time. I’ve checked with the Google but a quick search has not found a curated list. The families don’t need someone to issue the actual paychecks, just to make sure that the quarterly and annual paperwork is filed correctly. Thanks.

  197. @ Scarlett – I hate to recommend Wells Fargo for anything right now, but it does have a payroll service. I don’t know if it would meet these needs.

  198. “It’s been my experience and observation that school alumni ties are often not specifically about the sports teams.”

    This. I was lucky to have gone to both types — DIII for undergrad, DI major FBS for law school. Now, admittedly, I am not the “bro” networking type, so big fat grain of salt. But from what I’ve seen:

    1. Schools that aren’t athletic powerhouses find their own way to network. I am extremely loyal to my alma mater and give an immediate leg up (mentally) to any grad whose resume comes through my door.

    2. Size matters. How much of the FBS schools’ network comes from being FBS vs. just having 5-10x larger? ITA with the comments above that in our current system, FBS in particular is the sun around which networking spins. But if that weren’t there, those hundreds of thousands of proud grads would find other ways to connect.

    3. Location matters probably more than all this other stuff. Had I stayed in MN, my degree would have opened any door, because even though we have historically sucked at sports (except ultimate frisbee), everyone knows it’s a great school. Same thing with my JD had I stayed in TX — the degree would have gotten me in the door, and actually caring about the FB team would definitely have helped me, as a woman, bond in a largely male-dominated profession (at the time). OTOH, neither one of those meant much of anything in MD, because they weren’t the Favored Local School (a/k/a Georgetown).

  199. WHen did sales become an IT occupation? Every company I know separates sales from the engineering (development) groups. They are completely different fields. On the other hand, most of the test engineers and hardware people are as geeky as the developers. And overwhelmingly from other countries. Maybe that isn’t as true elsewhere? The place I worked for most of my industry career was dominated by Russians who all went to university in Russia and had zero interest in American sports (you could get them to perk up over Russian hockey players but they preferred their own Russian teams), and guys from India who mostly followed cricket in their home country. When we hired, we never even looked at what school the candidate came from. Mainly, it was the stated skills, positions held, and the company the candidate was coming out of.

    Where my husband works, yes, of course the traders are sports fanatics – they are traders after all. But the traders are not IT people. The development group isn’t even in the same building. They come from all over the world, and have grad degrees. Many come from NYU, a non sports university. When they hire, they look at the quality of the school the person came from, in particular its reputation for producing quants.

    Despite the fact that my employer is a Division 1 sports school, our CS grads struggle to get noticed by employers, even the good ones. The employers who need IT specialists do not care about our sports program. We don’t have a reputation for quality CS grads, and that is what they care about (and it is something we are working on!)

  200. Scarlett. The person who preps their taxes can do this for them for a fee. If they are comfortable using a home program to do taxes, they can enroll in a simple payroll service from turbo tax which will prep forms, do electronic filing and direct deposit with government, possibly also automate direct deposit to the nanny bank account. It has a reminder notice feature. Either option would run something like 350 to 500 a year,
    .

  201. And apropos of nothing, I finally made it to Crossfit last night — turns out there is a gym just a couple of blocks from my house. OMFG. I could barely raise my arms to brush my hair. It was freaking *awesome* and I can’t wait to go back after my business trip (assuming my lifeless arms don’t drop my suitcase on my head whilst attempting to fit it into the overhead bin).

  202. Scarlett – I have used Breedlove/Homepay for years. They are very good. A little expensive, but they handle workers comp, unemployment, what you have to do for Obamacare, etc. I generally think people/companies are either incompetent or just have terrible customer service and I have been consistently happy with them for years.

  203. Thanks for the suggestions. These families are not sophisticated and one still does her taxes on paper. No tax preparer and even turbo tax might be a reach. Breedlove has a service aimed at the nanny population and I may just go with that one.
    As an aside, I have to say that it is not surprising that compliance with the nanny tax obligations is so low.

  204. Someone upthread mentioned they live far* from their undergrad school and it got me thinking that that seems to be the rule rather than the exception for almost all the regulars here.

    Without doing any further digging, I wonder if that’s characteristic of the totebag demographic moreso than other college graduate groups, or is it simply our group’s self-selectedness.

    *far is in the eye of the beholder

  205. Louise, I am in the middle of doing several alumni interviews with HS seniors for applicants that are applying early to the school.

    I am not looking for my “fit” because the university is looking for different types of students vs. 25+ years ago. There are annual meetings or webinars to share with the alumni interviewers what we are supposed to try to discuss and report back to the university. I try to structure a soft interview that will allow each student to feel comfortable and share as much about their accomplishments as possible. I’m very aware that I am representing the university too, and these kids usually have a lot of questions so I do try to keep updated on new programs, buildings etc.

  206. How important are interviews in the undergrad application process? DS is not doing any interviews. Should he sign up?

  207. Houston–if a school does interviews, and if you think he’d be decent at it, he should sign up. This is especially important at schools that consider “interest” in making decisions. Also, at least one school DS applied to required an interview to be considered for merit scholarships, so that’s something else to consider.

  208. Rhett, are you suggesting that that company is representative of the workforce as a whole? You can’t be serious!

  209. Rhett, are you suggesting that that company is representative of the workforce as a whole?

    No, the industry in general.

  210. Ada, thanks for posting that link again. We have tickets for a show for my kiddo’s birthday this weekend, and is like to go to the Halloween party and stay onsite, so have been meaning to look that up.

    Dell, there is a calendar that shows how busy WDW I very day of the year at touringplans.com In general, if your family is not tied to school vacation times, avoid them at all costs! Look, for example, at the difference between Thanksgiving week and early Dec. There are similar deltas in the spring, based on the timing of Easter & spring breaks.

    Our very favorite waterpark, Wet n Wild, is in Orlando. It will close at the end of the year. We like it because the rides are set up to be either shared with others in your group or as races. We were just there a week ago and everything was in good working order.

  211. Houston and other totebaggers, we have a college applications post coming up later this week. — Because we don’t talk enough about this topic. ;)

  212. Rhett, why use just one industry?

    I’ve never heard of Breedlove before, find the name hilarious, especially if they specialize in services for families.

  213. Scarlett, we use the Nanny Tax Company out of Chicago. They only do nanny taxes and the fees are lower than Breedlove (terrible name!) IIRC. They don’t do direct deposit so we write our nanny a check every week, but they do all the unemployment tax filings with the state, etc., and issue the schedule H that we pass on to our regular accountant.

  214. “But, you’re on vacation! The half cookies and dessert tomatoes are for home.”

    There is still a limit to how much food a person can physically eat in each meal, especially when eating out 3 times a day. And I am not underweight or a dainty eater.

    “Someone upthread mentioned they live far* from their undergrad school and it got me thinking that that seems to be the rule rather than the exception for almost all the regulars here.

    Without doing any further digging, I wonder if that’s characteristic of the totebag demographic moreso than other college graduate groups, or is it simply our group’s self-selectedness.”

    I don’t know. I’d be curious. I guess in the end, I am only 90 miles from my birthplace though, and in the same general area of the country as my alma mater. But, like LFB, it still has no real clout here in hiring. But it didn’t matter much once I got my first internship and then full time job with a well-known company right out of school. I got that internship through my school’s career office.

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