NCAA Suspends Membership Dues and Looks to Cost-Cutting Measures

By Ken Kerschbaumer

The NCAA suspended membership dues for 2009-10 as part of a national office effort to relieve fiscal pressure on member schools during an economic downturn affecting all of higher education. The NCAA Executive Committee approved the suspension of dues for Divisions I, II and III members at its April 30 meeting in Indianapolis based on a recommendation from the Executive Committee’s finance committee.

The move will save schools about $1.3 million as dues range from $900 to $1,800 depending on division affiliation. Other potential changes include a review currently underway in the Division I governance structure regarding possible legislative or procedural changes that have a direct impact on institutional budgets.

The Executive Committee also approved a procedural change in April that should streamline committee operations and produce cost efficiencies. The Executive Committee approved a recommendation from its finance committee that, as a first option, all future NCAA committee meetings will be held in Indianapolis.

Executive Committee members cited increased efficiency and effectiveness of national office operations as reasons for the change, which is projected to save about $500,000 when fully implemented. The new approach will make better use of national office meeting space and staff services, such as technology.

The new policy includes a limited number of exceptions, such as for meetings that already have a signed contract for a property outside of Indianapolis or for meetings when lodging and meeting space are not available in Indianapolis. Exceptions also will be granted if it can be demonstrated that the meeting can be run more efficiently and cost effectively outside of Indianapolis. In those cases, national office staff liaisons will work with the NCAA travel-service provider to identify locations.

Meanwhile college conferences, like Conference USA, are making cuts. The conference asked its 12 schools to collectively make athletic budget cuts in excess of $10 million.

C-USA is not alone. The ACC has said that football travel teams will be limited to 72 players for conference road games and the 2010 baseball tournament will be held in Greensboro, N.C., instead of Boston’s Fenway Park. The Big 12 is looking at eliminating regional track and field championships, non-traditional playing seasons and foreign travel. Also most leagues are advocating videoconferencing instead of in-person meetings and reducing the number of printed media guides.