Jeff Gravley

College $ports: #MissionorMoney was a learning experience for me

Posted September 24, 2013
Updated September 25, 2013

#MissionorMoney  thumbnail

Our goal in the documentary College $ports: #MissionorMoney was to show how complex college athletics can be.

It’s a near-impossible balancing act to field competitive sports teams that generate millions of dollars in an academic setting.

“Our athletic programs are basically running a sports business in an educational setting,” explained ACC commissioner John Swofford. "And those two things need to be balanced appropriately.”

We tried to get insight from all angles of the story. We talked to those with academic priority like Duke professor Orin Starn. “The reality right now is that Division I universities across the country are running this billion-dollar sports entertainment complex,” Starn said. “And I don’t think that sounds very good to put up front in your mission statement.” 

We interviewed those who make a career out of college athletics including athletic directors, broadcasters and coaches. “You worship at the altar of your program,” former ECU, Boston College and NFL coach Steve Logan said. “You do what it takes to win the football game, to do the best you can to do it the right way, but don’t tell me you’ve never broken a rule. Don’t tell me that.”

Programs have cheated to win and bent the rules to keep players academically above ground. Players have accepted money and impermissible benefits but also feel they should be getting more than the value of their scholarship.

The mission statement of college athletics is incredibly murky, but fans continue to pour their hearts, souls and money into the schools they cheer for. 

“As a scholar who’s worked and written about the history of sports,” Starn said, “I can say that I don’t think there’s ever been a society in human history that has been as obsessed and as crazy enthusiastic about sports as America in 2013.”

UNC system President Tom Ross agrees. “The American public is really where the control of all this is, because it is the American public that has become very devoted to college athletics.”

Charles Clotfelter is a professor of public policy, economics and law at Duke. He also wrote the book, Big Time Sports in American Universities. “The conclusion I came up with is that the trustees want to have competitive teams, period. End of story,” he said.

Working on the documentary gave me this perspective on college athletics: It’s like a Rubik’s Cube. Some see it as impossible to solve, but it’s entertainment that people keep spending money on.

19 Comments

Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • StunGunn Sep 27, 2013

    WRAL did an excellent job with this documentary, with experts on many different levels presenting the facts. Solving the Rubik's cube is probably easier than coming to an agreement on how student/athletes should be rewarded.

  • NCSU84 Sep 25, 2013

    During the telecast, did Gravely, say "everybody does it.." If that is the case, please showcase the UNC type scandals at the other instate universities!

  • DEVILS1 Sep 25, 2013

    a small clothing allowance and insurance policies in case of life altering injuries for the student athlete, but not base salaries; there are going to be SO many problems that comes with that. These schools and conferences have more than enough money to make ALL of the base necessities be provided. I stated it before, it is time for Triple-A football for those needing a year or two before the NFL to home in their skills, bulk up and prepare overall, don’t use school to do it. There are too many people trying too hard academically in high school to be denied admission when many (not all) of theses knuckle heads we see on TV are accepted. The coaches’ salaries can be reduced, the schools can take care of all the needs and people would be able to afford it more. Also, the NCAA needs to also get their head out of their asss with a lot of the rules, if a player wants to work in the off season; I see no harm in that.

    View quoted thread


  • DEVILS1 Sep 25, 2013

    Maybe I'll stop spending time watching the games and get a second job to help pay off mine and my wife's student loans. She and I both worked while we were in school, with a family and did not have time to do a lot of other things, including extra study time; we managed...we were stressed, making ends meet paying bills, like mortgage payments, food, utilities, TAXES, insurance, medical/dental, child care expenses, home and vehicle maintenance…you know, the things MOST of us have. If they start getting paid, are they going to be treated like other employees at the School? When a player steps out of line are they going to be written up, or even fired? I doubt it-‘cannot fire Billy, got a big game coming up this weekend….’ What about taxes? I believe that if college athletes are to be paid at some point, maybe it would be OK if we as a society agree that the men and women that protect our freedom, dodge bullets in our own streets, rush into burning buildings, EMT personnel keeping someone alive on their way to the ER and teachers that educate our children start getting paid a hell of a lot more than they do; fine. I have played or been involved with sports my entire life, but I am simply ‘grossed out’ with what pro athletes and Pro/College coaches get paid, NONE of them are worth the money they get paid. I’ve heard discussions about low attendance in the stands; well no schit! The economy has been down and tickets are already too expensive for the average person/family to attend them. It sounds to me like pro sports needs to let people come in and play when they are old enough to vote and fight; if they are good enough. The ones not good enough, accept a scholarship in exchange for your talents and obtain a degree or two like I did and move forward. There are so many people without anything that still watch these people play a game…I feel the schools, conferences and NCAA should provide tuition, room/board, meals for seven days, a small clothing allowance a

  • Wheelman Sep 25, 2013

    I think we are making a mountain out of a molehill. Universities and colleges have "used" students for decades. The schools make hundreds of millions on government and private grant funding for research in lots of fields. New products and materials etc. are discovered every year. Who do you think does most of the grunt work in these labs? Students, of course. How much do they benefit financially from all this work? Zero. A professor at Univ. of Florida invented Gatorade and he and/or the university went on to make millions off of it. Do you think any students who helped do the lab work shared in those profits? Allow the student athletes to receive a couple of thousand a year from some approved sources such as booster clubs, apparel sales etc. with all of it being reported to the NCAA. As for graduation rates, they are not that different from the general student population. Stop allowing those who are not capable of doing college wok to start with and you pretty much fix that. And if you really want to see it fixed, make the programs keep those who have used up their eligibility on scholarship for an additional year so they can finish their education. Tell a coach that he will not have as many scholarship players because of this and you will see the emphasis on getting those capable of graduating and getting them graduated increase immediately. It becomes a self-imposed penalty.

  • BCampbell Sep 25, 2013

    View quoted thread



    So T Boone Pickens and Phil Knight can pay any player they want? Yeah, that won't decrease parity at all.

  • DEVILS1 Sep 25, 2013

    When I first heard of this doc, these were the first people I thought of!

  • jmcdow2792 Sep 25, 2013

    Students on scholarship can have a paid job as a lab or research assistant. Furthermore, they can go to work at the local McDonald's or at IBM in the Triangle if they want to. Athletes are not allowed to by NCAA rules. Fair? No.

  • Ken D. Sep 25, 2013

    View quoted thread


    Are you suggesting athletes shouldn't get scholarships? I'm not saying I don't agree with that, but athletes are already being paid by schools. They aren't being paid very much, and many of them aren't being paid commensurate with their contribution to the success of their team/school. But they are being paid. Scholarship athletes are professionals who are subject to an unrealistic salary cap.

  • 4tarheels Sep 25, 2013

    Here is a start...let boosters and agents pay the players they want to pay. Universities provide education, room/board, maybe a minimal stipend for other expenses.

More...

 

 

  • The Ryder Cup

    Saturday at 9:00 am on WRAL-TV

  • CFB: Duke vs. Virginia

    Saturday at 12:30 pm on FOX50

  • CFB: Oklahoma vs. TCU

    Saturday at 5:00 pm on FOX50

  • CFB: Arizona State at USC

    Saturday at 8:00 pm on FOX50

  • The Logan Zone

    Sunday at 11:00 am on WRAL-TV

  • The Ryder Cup

    Sunday at 12:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NFL: Panthers at Atlanta

    Sunday at 1:00 pm on FOX50

  • NFL: Kansas City at Pittsburgh

    Sunday at 8:20 pm on WRAL-TV

  • CFB: NC State vs. Wake Forest

    Saturday at 3:30 pm on WRAL-FM

AP Top 25
Thu, Sept 29
5:00 PT6:00 MT7:00 CT8:00 ET12:00 GMT8:00 北京时间5:00 MST7:00 EST
Preview
6
Fri, Sept 30
7
6:00 PT7:00 MT8:00 CT9:00 ET1:00 GMT9:00 北京时间6:00 MST8:00 EST
Preview
10
Sat, Oct 1
9:00 PT10:00 MT11:00 CT12:00 ET4:00 GMT12:00 北京时间9:00 MST11:00 EST
Preview
20
 
14
9:00 PT10:00 MT11:00 CT12:00 ET4:00 GMT12:00 北京时间9:00 MST11:00 EST
Preview
 
13
9:00 PT10:00 MT11:00 CT12:00 ET4:00 GMT12:00 北京时间9:00 MST11:00 EST
Preview
 
9:00 PT10:00 MT11:00 CT12:00 ET4:00 GMT12:00 北京时间9:00 MST11:00 EST
Preview
2
 
22
9:00 PT10:00 MT11:00 CT12:00 ET4:00 GMT12:00 北京时间9:00 MST11:00 EST
Preview
 
23
9:00 PT10:00 MT11:00 CT12:00 ET4:00 GMT12:00 北京时间9:00 MST11:00 EST
Preview
 
12:30 PT1:30 MT2:30 CT3:30 ET7:30 GMT3:30 北京时间12:30 MST2:30 EST
Preview
12
 
11
12:30 PT1:30 MT2:30 CT3:30 ET7:30 GMT3:30 北京时间12:30 MST2:30 EST
Preview
25
 
8
12:30 PT1:30 MT2:30 CT3:30 ET7:30 GMT3:30 北京时间12:30 MST2:30 EST
Preview
4
 
12:30 PT1:30 MT2:30 CT3:30 ET7:30 GMT3:30 北京时间12:30 MST2:30 EST
Preview
15
 
9
1:00 PT2:00 MT3:00 CT4:00 ET8:00 GMT4:00 北京时间1:00 MST3:00 EST
Preview
 
2:00 PT3:00 MT4:00 CT5:00 ET9:00 GMT5:00 北京时间2:00 MST4:00 EST
Preview
21
 
18
3:00 PT4:00 MT5:00 CT6:00 ET10:00 GMT6:00 北京时间3:00 MST5:00 EST
Preview
 
4:00 PT5:00 MT6:00 CT7:00 ET11:00 GMT7:00 北京时间4:00 MST6:00 EST
Preview
1
 
4:00 PT5:00 MT6:00 CT7:00 ET11:00 GMT7:00 北京时间4:00 MST6:00 EST
Preview
16
 
3
5:00 PT6:00 MT7:00 CT8:00 ET12:00 GMT8:00 北京时间5:00 MST7:00 EST
Preview
5
 
17
5:00 PT6:00 MT7:00 CT8:00 ET12:00 GMT8:00 北京时间5:00 MST7:00 EST
Preview
 
19
5:00 PT6:00 MT7:00 CT8:00 ET12:00 GMT8:00 北京时间5:00 MST7:00 EST
Preview
 
7:15 PT8:15 MT9:15 CT10:15 ET2:15 GMT10:15 北京时间7:15 MST9:15 EST
Preview
24
 
NFL Scoreboard
Thursday, Sep. 29
Miami 5:25 PT6:25 MT7:25 CT8:25 ET0:25 GMT8:25 北京时间5:25 MST7:25 EST7:25 CT4:25 UAE (+1)20:25 ET23:25
Cincinnati 
Sunday, Oct. 2
Indianapolis 6:30 PT7:30 MT8:30 CT9:30 ET13:30 GMT9:30 北京时间6:30 MST8:30 EST8:30 CT17:30 UAE9:30 ET12:30
Jacksonville 
 
Carolina 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET17:00 GMT1:00 北京时间10:00 MST12:00 EST12:00 CT21:00 UAE13:00 ET16:00
Atlanta 
 
Oakland 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET17:00 GMT1:00 北京时间10:00 MST12:00 EST12:00 CT21:00 UAE13:00 ET16:00
Baltimore 
 
Detroit 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET17:00 GMT1:00 北京时间10:00 MST12:00 EST12:00 CT21:00 UAE13:00 ET16:00
Chicago 
 
Tennessee 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET17:00 GMT1:00 北京时间10:00 MST12:00 EST12:00 CT21:00 UAE13:00 ET16:00
Houston 
 
Buffalo 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET17:00 GMT1:00 北京时间10:00 MST12:00 EST12:00 CT21:00 UAE13:00 ET16:00
New England 
 
Seattle 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET17:00 GMT1:00 北京时间10:00 MST12:00 EST12:00 CT21:00 UAE13:00 ET16:00
NY Jets 
 
Cleveland 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET17:00 GMT1:00 北京时间10:00 MST12:00 EST12:00 CT21:00 UAE13:00 ET16:00
Washington 
 
Denver 1:05 PT2:05 MT3:05 CT4:05 ET20:05 GMT4:05 北京时间1:05 MST3:05 EST3:05 CT0:05 UAE (+1)16:05 ET19:05
Tampa Bay 
 
Los Angeles 1:25 PT2:25 MT3:25 CT4:25 ET20:25 GMT4:25 北京时间1:25 MST3:25 EST3:25 CT0:25 UAE (+1)16:25 ET19:25
Arizona 
 
New Orleans 1:25 PT2:25 MT3:25 CT4:25 ET20:25 GMT4:25 北京时间1:25 MST3:25 EST3:25 CT0:25 UAE (+1)16:25 ET19:25
San Diego 
 
Dallas 1:25 PT2:25 MT3:25 CT4:25 ET20:25 GMT4:25 北京时间1:25 MST3:25 EST3:25 CT0:25 UAE (+1)16:25 ET19:25
San Francisco 
 
Kansas City 5:30 PT6:30 MT7:30 CT8:30 ET0:30 GMT8:30 北京时间5:30 MST7:30 EST7:30 CT4:30 UAE (+1)20:30 ET23:30
Pittsburgh 
Monday, Oct. 3
NY Giants 5:30 PT6:30 MT7:30 CT8:30 ET0:30 GMT8:30 北京时间5:30 MST7:30 EST7:30 CT4:30 UAE (+1)20:30 ET23:30
Minnesota 
 
Minor League Baseball
International League
El Paso 4:05 PT5:05 MT6:05 CT7:05 ET12:05 GMT
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre 
 
TOUR Championship (PGA)
PosNameScoreThru
1R. McIlroy - z-12F
2tR. Moore - y-12F
2tK. Chappell - y-12F
4P. Casey-9F
5H. Matsuyama-6F
6tJ. Thomas-5F
6tD. Johnson-5F
8tA. Scott-4F
8tJ. Dufner-4F
10tS. Kim-2F
View Full Leaderboard
z = Won in Playoff   y = Lost in Playoff
 
Reignwood LPGA (LPGA)
PosNameScoreThru
1L. Salas-49
2tI. Lee-314
2tS. Smith-311
2tW. Zhang-37
2tA. Jutanugarn-36
6tW. Liu-214
6tM. Uribe-214
6tS. Oh-212
6tN. Srisawang-212
6tM. Hur-211
View Full Leaderboard
 
European Open (EURO)
PosNameScoreThru
1A. Levy - z-19F
2R. Fisher - y-19F
3tM. Jonzon-16F
3tR. Karlsson-16F
5B. Wiesberger-15F
6M. Kaymer-14F
7tR. Bland-13F
7tE. De La Riva-13F
7tF. Fritsch-13F
7tG. Havret-13F
View Full Leaderboard
z = Won in Playoff   y = Lost in Playoff
 
Pacific Links (CHMP)
PosNameScoreThru
1C. Montgomerie - z-15F
2S. McCarron - y-15F
3tM. Jimenez-13F
3tJ. Sluman-13F
3tS. Dunlap-13F
3tD. Garwood-13F
7tB. Langer-12F
7tM. Dawson-12F
7tO. Browne-12F
10tF. Funk-11F
View Full Leaderboard
z = Won in Playoff   y = Lost in Playoff
 
ATP Scoreboard
Wednesday, Sep. 28
Chengdu Open (ATP)
Second Round
K. Khachanov3 6 6   
A. Mannarino6 3 1   
(3) G. Dimitrov77 6    
D. Lajovic61 4    
(4) F. Lopez6 7    
J. Monaco3 5    
(8) P. Lorenzi0 4    
D. Schwartzma6 6    
 
Shenzhen Open (ATP)
First Round
Y. Nishioka6 3 4   
T. Fabbiano3 6 6   
Second Round
(7) F. Fognini63 4    
M. Zverev77 6    
(2) D. Goffin62 6 2   
M. Jaziri77 3 6   
(3) R. Gasquet6 6    
A. Whittingto1 0    
(6) B. Paire0 77 5   
J. Tipsarevic6 65 7   
 
WTA Scoreboard
Wednesday, Sep. 28
Wuhan Tennis Open (WTA)
Third Round
(8) M. Keys6 4 6   
D. Kasatkina1 6 4   
(4) S. Halep6 6    
Y. Shvedova3 3    
(6) V. Williams2 2    
(9) S. Kuznetsova6 6    
(7) C. Suarez Nav5 66    
(11) J. Konta7 78    
(1) A. Kerber712 5 4   
(14) P. Kvitova610 7 6   
(3) A. Radwanska6 6    
C. Wozniacki4 2    
B. Strycova1 5    
J. Jankovic6 2    
(5) K. Pliskova 
(10) D. Cibulkova 
 
Tashkent Open (WTA)
Second Round
(8) N. Broady2 4    
I. Khromachev6 6    
(5) K. Nara2 2    
K. Pliskova6 6    
(4) N. Hibino7 6    
R. Ozaki5 1    
(2) K. Flipkens77 3 77   
M. Sakkari60 6 64   
(6) L. Tsurenko6 3 6   
I. Soylu1 6 1   
(9) D. Allertova7 6    
P. Tig5 2    
S. Shapatava2 5    
K. Kozlova6 7    
S. Voegele6 3    
F. Schiavone2 2