University Athletics Spend Big Money on Cars
One perk in many jobs is to receive a free company car. Throughout the universities in the Mid American Conference, there are over 215 cars or car stipends provided to the athletic department and no other department. But how are the universities able to afford cars for coaches?
According to Welch Suggs, sports writer and Associate Director for the Knight Commission in small schools the athletic departments are using money subsidized from students to pay for these perks that are given to coaches. “These coaches better walk around campus and say thank you for their cars to every student they see.” Suggs reported.
Buffalo and Ohio University are the only schools that provide two car stipends. The head football coach and the athletic director are given 2 cars each totaling $400.00 a piece.
Gas prices are skyrocketing and insurance rates are going up meanwhile, for some Miami University coaches that are the least of their worries.
At Miami University in Ohio, not every head coach and assistant coach will receive cars. For example, only football, men and women’s basketball, hockey, and volleyball coaches receive free cars. They are provided full coverage insurance, and given money for gas as long as its business related. On average, each year the university hands out 30-35 new cars. Typically the assistant coaches will be driving Ford Fusions. The head coaches are driving upgraded SUVs.
“Its essential providing cars for coaches because of recruiting purposes and team travel.” According to Josh Fenton, Associate Athletic Director of Miami University. Each car is leased for a contract of 1-5 years and can have up to 20,000 miles per year.
Like Miami University, Eastern Michigan, Buffalo, and Toledo coaches are provided full coverage insurance on their cars. Other Mid American Conference universities have different policies on cars. For example, coaches at West Virginia, Central Michigan, Kent State, Cleveland State, Bowling Green Akron and Northern Illinois all have to pay for their own insurance. Ball state’s insurance covers accidents only. They also may pay monthly based on the mileage put on the cars.
Not only are some universities on leasing contracts, some are on stipends. The stipend high and low range for the Mid American Conference is $225/month; $2,700/year to $400/month; $4,800/ year.
In today’s world a college education is a necessity. There is growing concern that college athletics are increasingly outweighing college education; however, the Knight Commission is doing their best solve the issue.
Amy Perko Executive Director of the Knight Commission said, “Our universities mission is education first. Athletics is part of the educational mission and the knight Commission was created to better ensure operation of athletics in the educational mission. Athletics financial disclosure should not be a priority, the priority should be the finances of the University, with athletics included into that.”
Will the growing disparity between athletics and academics ever be equal? If coaches are provided free cars why aren’t college professors? Only time will tell if the gap between athletics and academics will ever be filled.