Terrapin Inc. is big business

The Education Beat

Athletics: Men's sports get the lion's share of money, but they bring home the revenues.

March 20, 2002|By Mike Bowler | Mike Bowler,SUN STAFF

ABOUT once a week during March Madness, the thought strikes: The young men and women performing so splendidly in the NCAA basketball tournament are amateur student-athletes temporarily on leave from classes at their home colleges and universities.

It struck again yesterday as I skimmed the annual intercollegiate athletics report of the schools in the University System of Maryland. Prepared for the governing Board of Regents, the report provides a wealth of information about all of the USM teams, but particularly about the one we'll be watching this weekend in Syracuse. Considering the records, it might be called Terrapin Inc.

First, some good academic news. Members of College Park's 25 teams last year recorded an enviable 92 percent "exhausted eligibility" graduation rate. "Exhausted eligibility" refers to those who stayed at Maryland for their entire athletic careers. And 340 of 691 Terrapin athletes - about half - earned a 3.0 grade point average (on a 4-point scale) in the fall or spring semester. That's a school record.

The bad news for those who pay attention to gender equity is that men in sports at College Park get more of everything. Though men comprised 51 percent of College Park athletes last year, the school spent millions more on men's sports than on women's.

In basketball alone, Maryland spent an average of $43,000 on each of its male players and $23,000 on each of its women. It paid its 12 men's team coaches an average of $72,000. The 13 coaches of women's teams earned an average of $52,000.

And 69 percent of College Park's $387,000 sports recruiting budget went to entice athletes to men's teams.

Of course, money talks, and it's the men's sports that bring in the revenue. Men's basketball is especially lucrative. Last year, it accounted for 8.7 percent of expenses and 25.4 percent of revenue. Women's basketball, by contrast, brought in 0.2 percent of sports revenue while accounting for 3.5 percent of expenses.

So while we're toting up the score Friday and, we hope, Sunday, we can also tote up the revenue. Last year, according to yesterday's report to the regents, Maryland (men's) basketball spent $2.6 million and brought in $7.8 million. The irony is that the young men making these statistics possible would get their school in a heap of trouble with the NCAA if they took so much as a lollipop from an eager Terps booster.

Hopkins tuition increase is smallest in four years

Undergraduate tuition at the Johns Hopkins University will increase 4.5 percent, to $27,390, next fall. The $1,180 increase is the smallest in four years, according to university officials. Next year's room and board for undergraduates will increase 3.8 percent to $4,829. The addition of personal expenses brings the cost of a year at Homewood to $37,819. Ouch!

But not to worry, say Hopkins officials. Thanks in part to the generosity of board of trustees chairman and New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, 40 percent of Hopkins undergraduates receive need-based financial aid.

Our search continues for a Western Maryland name

Education Beat's search continues for a new name for Western Maryland College, the Westminster school that wants a new handle because it's neither state-affiliated nor in Western Maryland.

Recent suggestions are The College Formerly Known as Western Maryland and Signet College. Signet has a nice ring and a great meaning; it's a small seal, sometimes used to stamp official documents.

Western Maryland officials have informed me that the school is paying consultant Lipman Hearne $200,000 to "help ... with the process of defining [the college's] identity, testing naming options, creating a visual identity and marketing the institution," not to choose the new name. That will be done by a 32-member "Committee on the Naming Initiative."

But we'll still demand a cut if one of our suggestions is selected.

Towson High students urged to be upstanding

Towson General, the news bulletin of Towson High School, is filled with useful information, including a list of families that have contributed to the 2002 After Prom Party.

The March issue also carries a front-page item related to the Pledge of Allegiance.

"Recently," it says, "it has become more difficult to get some students to undertake the responsibility of standing during the Pledge. Some of our students seem to believe it is all right to enjoy the benefits of being in our free country without showing respect toward one of its most important symbols."

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