By: Lee Ramsey
It’s a sad fact, but money has become the major factor in the world of college sports over the past several years.
At UT and all major college sports programs around the country, money seems to be the main issue.
Winning and losing now takes on a whole new meaning. Winning equates to making a lot of money while losing equates to losing a lot of money.
When their team wins, fans spend money on tickets, concessions, food and lodging, souvenirs, and they contribute huge amounts of money to their particular school.
College sports have become a billion dollar business. Whatever happened to playing for pride?
The need to raise money has become more than just a means to pay for equipment and a few basic needs. It has become an all out arms race where each school has to outdo the other one when it comes to raising money.
Contributions are no longer gifts. They are required from fans just to earn the right to purchase tickets at outrageous prices ($60 for a UT football ticket). This is nothing more than legal ticket scalping.
What is the purpose for gouging fans? The purpose is to “keep up with the Jones.”
Schools must have the biggest and the best of whatever so they can recruit athletes that will win ball games so that the schools can make even more money. Kind of seems like the dog that goes round and round chasing its tail but never quite catches it.
This insanity has left the common fan outside looking in. The common fan base comes from the people that really care the most about how the team is doing but can’t afford a ticket any more to support their favorite team. If they do manage to get in the stadium, a hot dog, drink and popcorn will cost more than a meal at a local restaurant.
Most major football programs now charge students a large price for tickets on top of their normal activity fees. This concept just recently started.
Tennessee and Vanderbilt were the last schools to give in to this outrageous decision. Games are played at whatever time the TV network dictates because they are paying millions to the school they are televising.
Coaches are making between 2 and 4 million a year and the pay escalates each year because schools keep raising the salary level to get the coach they want. Who pays for this? You guessed it; the fans paying overblown prices.
What we have now is a fan base which comes more and more from high income, elitist, stuff shirts that only go to games to be seen in their sky boxes or wherever they are sitting.
I’ve been a Tennessee football fan for over 50 years. I haven’t missed a home game in 42 years and this all makes me sick. It’s very sad.
Maybe instead of an All-Sports Trophy, the SEC should award an All Money Trophy to the school that raises the most money in a calendar year.
After all, isn’t that what college sports is all about now?
Money and Sports
By: Lee Ramsey