The future of college athletics

What changes will occur in college sports departments in the next five to 10 years? The Chronicle of Higher Education asked three dozen experts and concluded:

More athletics departments will follow the lead of the University of Georgia and fine or suspend players for skipping classes. And they’ll crack down harder on unethical off-court behavior.

Programs will hire “learning specialists” to work one-on-one with at-risk athletes, allowing coaches to recruit increasingly marginal students. Colleges will create “safe” jock majors, with lots of electives, for impact players. And more athletes will need to go to summer school to graduate.

Programs will create narrow, specialized jobs, like director of football communications. “Some teams will have nearly as many coaches as players.”

College arenas will add amenities found in professional-sports facilities, such as high-quality food services and flat-screen TVs.

Presidents and athletics directors will insist on hiring more female and minority candidates for administrative and coaching positions.

As financial pressures mount, more athletics departments will eliminate particular sports from their lineup. Exception: They may add flag football for women because it’s becoming so popular.

Co-ed teams: “The NCAA will have its first mixed-doubles tennis championship.”

Source: “The Athletics Department of the Future,” The Chronicle of Higher Education (20 July 2007)