Division III athletics have become more then high school athletes holding onto a dream and competing at the non-scholarship level of the National collegiate athletic association. From 2004 to 2012 the average cost of having a division III athletics program has gone up 200% (Fulks, 2013). From 2004 until 2012 the average cost per athlete has also gone up, from $3,500 to $5,800. This money does not even touch the levels that are being spent in Division I, but Division III athletics are on an upward trend of spending.
The commitment to athletics in Division III has lead to money being spent on new sports and recreation facilities. So much so that it’s been put to question if there is an “arms race” to who can build the biggest and best facilities. In division I there has been almost 15 billion dollars spent on new facilities since 2000. From 2002-2008 50 brand new facilities were built on college campuses throughout the NCAA with thirteen of them being in division III. All of which cost more then 20 million dollars to the school.
These small, mostly private schools are spending millions on Football fields, Gyms, indoor and outdoor tracks and student recreation centers. This battle seems almost unnecessary considering almost zero of these athletes will become professionals and in most cases athletics takes away around 20-25 hours of school work time to there student athletes. Looking at the research there seems to be three reasons why schools sell the idea of how a new facility can bring more then a large bill to the school. These points are first recruiting success that leads to athletic success and the enrollment bump in not only the student athletes but also the student population as a whole. Finally how the school finances the buildings.
Recruiting With Bigger and Better Facilities
There is no question recruiting in the driving force behind athletics. Recruiting itself is about building relationships, giving the player the idea he or she could be apart of something bigger and most of all showing 17-18 year old kids what there future could be. The point of facilities has been to give the “wow” factor to visiting prospects. In almost all cases the facilities at a college will be better then the high school or junior college the student athlete is coming from. It is also believed that having better facilities will directly correlate with recruiting success, especially against rival colleges.
The belief that new facilities bring in better recruits was tested by the research into the subject. Although new facilities did attract more initial interest from recruits (Schneider, 2012) the final decision about which school to attend came down to other different factors. In the study of “The impact of Athletic Faculties on the Recruitment of Student Athletes” college athletic prospects were asked why they choose the college they did. With factors such as playing time, location, tradition, education, facilities,...