... I hope doesn’t happen. What is going on now could place colleges, not just baseball in upheaval. I hope there aren’t baseball programs at every level on the fence where today’s problem is the college’s opportunity it’s to drop baseball as the easy solution. 

** The dream is free. Work ethic sold separately. **

Original Post

I've been trying not to think about this but there are real issues for colleges and the ability of families to afford college.    I just saw this after googling the topic (USA Today article Today).   I wasn't thinking about commitments to sports going forward but that could be a concern for sure.   Below is a good quick read that highlights some issues.  I think we all will get through this, colleges and sports will survive and we all will get to watch our sons play baseball soon.   

https://www.usatoday.com/story...t-refund/2876589001/

 

What brought on the baseball thought was an article I saw on potential financial problems for middle of the road and lower academic, expensive, private colleges. I’ve never understood why kids pay for Crapola College rather than attending a branch of their state university. But that’s another conversation.

This educational financial issue has been a big problem for a long time.  Covid-19 may expose it.  Small to mid-size private colleges have been struggling for the last 15 years.   I recall being at a multi-private college conference about 10 years ago where I was asked to speak about the future of cloud computing.   A the event, every small to mid-sized college President, CFO, CIO discussed this financial issue in front of the group.   It was an issue that every school was experiencing.  

My understanding is public universities struggle but in a different way as their tax payer funding has been slowing eroding over the same time 15-year period.  Public Universities have tried to replace that state funding through research grants and research institutes as well as through athletics (conference alignment, etc...).   Some more successful than others.   Now, you throw the Covid-19 pandemic on top of this of the educational economic time bomb and it isn't going to be good for small to mid-sized private college athletics...in my honest opinion.   Educators and folks looking for advanced education in small and mid-sized private colleges will have a lot to think about in the near future.  

Financially, it may come down to getting what you need in an education @ a small to mid-sized private college, but not everything you want to include athletics.   This may not be such a bad thing, as there is a surprising number of students that don't care about college athletics.   I went to a small private college (D2 at the time) in New England and played college tennis.  That same college is now a University and playing at the D1 level.   Frankly, when I attended college the only people that cared about athletics were the athletes themselves.  Athletics was not something the entire school rallied around and it was not for the betterment of everybody's education.  I probably would have gone there without tennis.  Times have changed.  Colleges think that having a football team puts your college on the map, drives admissions applications, and gives the alumni a reason to come back to the school or donate money.   Potential college athletes are thinking scholarship...I know I did when I saw what was being offered to my son.   But, I'm wondering if all of this athletic arms-race is really sustainable or necessary.  I guess the athletics in the small to mid-sized private schools will be the canary in the coalmine in the coming years.

As always, JMO.

Last edited by fenwaysouth

I emailed a friend who is a Dean at a Business School.  Here is his reply:

Definitely going to have an impact on those of us in the less than elite world. I think there may be a big move towards distance learning as the entire world moved online quickly and high schoolers are forced to become more comfortable learning that way. If a student can complete a large number of their course remotely, less may be willing to spend half of their money on room and board. You may see universities start the price war that the public has been calling for as we can deliver online instruction for a much lower cost than face to face. I have been thinking of the questions you are asking Scott and I am not sure how this is going to play out, but there will be a great number of changes coming. Higher education has always moved at a glacier's pace, but like the glaciers themselves I expect the pace to pick up in ways that we haven't thought of yet

My experience had been with larger universities, and I didn't really see what the value of a small college was - until my son went to one, and I see how having small classes with very involved professors is incredibly valuable to the learning process.  He loves his classes, in a way that he did not in high school.  When you enjoy a class, you are more motivated to do the work, and you learn more.  It's entirely possible to have a close relationship with professors at a large university, but the student has to work harder to make it happen, and it's much easier to fall through the cracks. 

Second, I've read on threads here about over-recruiting that some schools have 50+ players on baseball teams because they figure it's a way to get kids into the school.  I've known students who went to small colleges to play baseball, when they could have gone to the large state school without baseball.  I saw it with football at some schools also.  These students are getting good educations, the schools are getting good students who happen to like playing sports.  I thought that the argument is that alumni who played sports are more likely to give back to the school (hence team alumni weekends).  Not that the students who didn't care about sports at the time will donate more as alumni because of sports.

The question is, are the expenses worth it for the return?  Maintaining a football or baseball field, buying equipment, paying a coach, etc. are not cheap.  Even most D1 schools don't make a profit from their sports, including football.  I'm guessing that most schools have the data to make decisions about whether having sports is bringing more money into the school than the costs. 

But that's about athletics at small schools, not the very existence of small schools.  Some of those are in trouble, and some are not.  Certainly if the recession is very deep, families may well decide that they can't afford to pay for small private colleges, even if the education is better for their students.  And, public universities have been staying afloat by attracting wealthy foreign students who pay out-of-state tuition, and that may dry up as well. 

 

Re New England college sports ...

Its just never caught on. BC has trouble selling out ACC football games in a 35,000 seat stadium. If Conte Arena sells out 8,500 for an ACC basketball game it’s probably Saturday with the visiting team dominating attendance.

ACC baseball draws 200-300 per game. I’ll watch marveling a family wouldn’t bring the kids on a nice late April or May weekend day. Not showing up for March games I understand.

Even BC, BU, Northeastern, UMass and UMLowell with traditionally ranked hockey programs have trouble selling out except big rivalry games. Only Maine sells out all their games. It’s because they’re fifty miles past the middle of nowhere with not much else to do. A pizza shop is the center of town. 

The exception is UConn for men’s and women’s basketball. 

Article on the major financial challenges at colleges.  A family friend has a son going to play soccer at NVU-Johnson.  They are closing the campus now it seems.  Made me want to look for up to date articles on finances and came across this - big big losses in here $150m Bucknell, $125m Holy Cross (endowments). Miami of Ohio expecting 20% fewer incoming.  School budgets cut and visiting professor layoffs.  Going to take a while to work through all of this.  

https://www.wbur.org/edify/202...ome-fight-to-survive

Last edited by Gunner Mack Jr.

We have a small D3 private college here in town. Something like 70% of their students (maybe more) play in some level of athletics. Continuing their careers draws a lot of kids to the school, including some who could probably play at a higher level but don't want to work that hard. And when you compare their cost to large publics, it's really not that far off once financial aid is taken into account. The problem will be if the investments that back up that financial aid doesn't come back.

The fear that all of this will make it easier to cut baseball has occurred to me (and to my son).  Hoping that our status as Iowa's only D1 baseball program will serve as some protection, but I think almost everything will be up in the air these days.

 

I won't bombard this board with info but this article hit this am, good read.  Hopefully people can get access, it's behind a paywall but you get a number of free reads.  Discusses impacts on sports at colleges.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news...clemson?srnd=premium

The below link is a cool find, its the amount of $ each school got in the CARES Act.  Significantly less then what they need for academic purposes let alone sports.  If colleges can't open in September so many will be in danger of closing in my opinion.  My daughter is at Holy Cross, online summer courses cost $2,400.  An in-person class (tuition divided by # of classes) is about $7,000.   Almost 2/3rds off for on-line education!  Then no room and board fees in not on campus and all the physical plant to maintain and all the people to pay if they can keep them which they can't.  I almost forget the credits that the returning students have from refunds of Spring room and board too, the schools need to work off those balances.  Its a mess but I am optimistic schools will be in person in the fall and am also hopeful fall sports occur, especially football even to empty stadiums (or partially empty).

https://www2.ed.gov/about/offi...8004a1ofcaresact.pdf

I think this Corona virus "inspired" online college experience is going to legitimize online education.  Right now every school in the country is charging full-freight tuition for an online education, and not getting any blow-back.  When they get into the job market or grad school no one is going to say, "yeah but you took one year of Princeton online".

Having done this, I can see top quality universities expanding their class sizes by including an online component of their incoming classes.  Imagine UCLA or Stanford accepting students for their online program Freshman year instead of deferring them.  They can grow revenue immediately and fill-in their on campus housing as students drop or transfer out.

The side effect is that 2nd tier colleges and universities will lose top students, and will have to backfill with lower students... and so on, as stuff rolls down hill.

I think this is going to have a profound effect on the ability of mediocre universities to survive.  Many of these schools charge $50-70k and aren't known outside of their region.  Why pay top dollar for no-name college if you can get a degree from Top State U or Top Private U for the same or less money.

Smitty - I totally agree that the Covid situation is normalizing online education and that top schools could / should enroll more students to e-learning.   Watching both my kids e-learn, one in college and one a senior in high school I am currently not very impressed.   It seems the workload is lighter, there are more pass/fail options, withdrawals without consequence etc...   These things are likely more a consequence of the quick move to e-learning.   College is also about networking, learning to live away from home which includes finding "work" life balance and of course playing baseball.   Your point is right though - things have certainly changed going forward.   

For me though my biggest concern is what will happen to colleges that are forced to go remote in September, they likely can't adjust costs this quickly.  They will cut what they deem "non-essential" or sports that don't make money.  As you say second-tier schools and below won't be able to enroll more students quickly and then they have to figure out what to do with them when campuses open.  The perspective of posters who work at colleges would be helpful.  I know there is at least one.

If schools are not reopening in the fall my question is why send them back? I have 2 doing the online life of college now and it is a joke. They aren't learning, it is pass fail grading, there is no social outlet, athletic outlet, personal growth experience...

Why would we buck up 20k give or take for a semester of online in the fall? I don't give a damn about their overhead, you want to charge full rate open your campus, if you can't you better start charging a different package. for 50k to 60k per year you need to provide something besides a link...

old_school posted:

If schools are not reopening in the fall my question is why send them back? I have 2 doing the online life of college now and it is a joke. They aren't learning, it is pass fail grading, there is no social outlet, athletic outlet, personal growth experience...

Why would we buck up 20k give or take for a semester of online in the fall? I don't give a damn about their overhead, you want to charge full rate open your campus, if you can't you better start charging a different package. for 50k to 60k per year you need to provide something besides a link...

I couldn't agree more.  Most colleges would have to massively discount tuition if e-learning.  The colleges are in a really tough spot weighing student safety with the college's actual viability.  It will be interesting to see it play out but if the summer really does bring the virus to a virtual standstill it will give college administrators the opening they need to bring kids to campuses and my guess is they will have to take that risk.  They know they can always send them home too.    I want my son to go away to college, not just so he can play baseball, but for the full experience.  Especially as a Freshman.

Gunner Mack Jr. posted:

Smitty - I totally agree that the Covid situation is normalizing online education and that top schools could / should enroll more students to e-learning.   Watching both my kids e-learn, one in college and one a senior in high school I am currently not very impressed.   It seems the workload is lighter, there are more pass/fail options, withdrawals without consequence etc...   These things are likely more a consequence of the quick move to e-learning.   College is also about networking, learning to live away from home which includes finding "work" life balance and of course playing baseball.   Your point is right though - things have certainly changed going forward.   

For me though my biggest concern is what will happen to colleges that are forced to go remote in September, they likely can't adjust costs this quickly.  They will cut what they deem "non-essential" or sports that don't make money.  As you say second-tier schools and below won't be able to enroll more students quickly and then they have to figure out what to do with them when campuses open.  The perspective of posters who work at colleges would be helpful.  I know there is at least one.

I think e learning can work but it is not for every kid. In Germany there has been a big remote university for more than a decade and they have lots of students, many of them doing that in the evening after work but you need to have the discipline.

Sure in theory college students are adults but we all know that we weren't fully mature at 18-19 and at home there are lots of distractions especially the internet.

Not every student can motivate himself as well in that environment as he can in a class setting with peers and a professor.

 Also many social aspects of college are missing in e learning.

Overall e learning will increase but I don't think replacing college fully with e learning (including closing the social and sports aspect of college) is good.

 

 

Last edited by Dominik85
old_school posted:

If schools are not reopening in the fall my question is why send them back? I have 2 doing the online life of college now and it is a joke. They aren't learning, it is pass fail grading, there is no social outlet, athletic outlet, personal growth experience...

Why would we buck up 20k give or take for a semester of online in the fall? I don't give a damn about their overhead, you want to charge full rate open your campus, if you can't you better start charging a different package. for 50k to 60k per year you need to provide something besides a link...

I have a college junior now home from his pricey private liberal arts college, and he hates his online classes.  He has already asked me if he can take a semester or a year off if the college wants to extend online learning in the fall.  

Not sure if anyone else has mentioned this, but I believe the University of Cincinnati has already announced it is cutting its men's soccer team and Old Dominion is cutting wrestling.

Dominik85 posted:
Gunner Mack Jr. posted:
 

I think e learning can work but it is not for every kid. In Germany there has been a big remote university for more than a decade and they have lots of students, many of them doing that in the evening after work but you need to have the discipline.

Sure in theory college students are adults but we all know that we weren't fully mature at 18-19 and at home there are lots of distractions especially the internet.

Not every student can motivate himself as well in that environment as he can in a class setting with peers and a professor.

 Also many social aspects of college are missing in e learning.

Overall e learning will increase but I don't think replacing college fully with e learning (including closing the social and sports aspect of college) is good.

I like to compare some online learning to online hitting instruction.  That is what my son is going through right now (the HS hitting coach is working with everybody remotely).  It is better than nothing, but obviously not as good as in person.  For most graduate level courses, online can work reasonably well, but for undergraduate courses that are important (i.e. Major courses that are challenging), it is not good.  Laboratory courses is a whole other animal that probably are as useful as the online hitting lessons, but again, better than nothing.

 

 

Viking0 posted:
 
 

I like to compare some online learning to online hitting instruction.  That is what my son is going through right now (the HS hitting coach is working with everybody remotely).  It is better than nothing, but obviously not as good as in person.  For most graduate level courses, online can work reasonably well, but for undergraduate courses that are important (i.e. Major courses that are challenging), it is not good.  Laboratory courses is a whole other animal that probably are as useful as the online hitting lessons, but again, better than nothing.

 

 

It depends on the graduate degree (as you seem to point out).   One of the greatest values I got from my MBA (Columbia) is the network that I built through personal connections made in classrooms, group projects and perhaps most of all socializing.... That is the same for undergraduates too but the lab work comment I totally never thought about.

This article op ed is worth a read but could stir up commentary on this board....

https://www.news-journal.com/o...fd-5f42f1ec610e.html

 

For some people, college is about acquiring a set of facts and skills to do a type of job, and that's all.  For others, it is about learning in an interactive way, and about all of the social factors.  The latter is a luxury, but, if you look at the history of education, going back to the ancient Greeks and Romans, it always has been.  The "best" education was learning from the best teachers, alongside the best other students.

Elite colleges that have been around for 100+ years began by catering to the wealthy; they only really let in other people after WWII, and only pushed to include lots of other people very recently (and some would argue that they still don't do that).  There is obviously still a market for that.  Older state universities took up that model; more recent universities are, in fact, less residential.  Those older universities are also the ones who started college sports, which was also about socialization, that's why they still push the "scholar-athlete" model, the whole point is that their students are supposed to be in classes with athletes as well as with other types of people (whatever that means!).  This does still work at small colleges today.

The model of having a close working relationship with really good professors still works, but, in larger universities, a student has to seek it out.  Working on a research project is a type of learning that you can't get any other way than by close mentoring, working in a lab, etc.  You cannot get that through online education, and I doubt that schools like Stanford will go for it, it would completely dilute what they stand for.  It's entirely possible for a student to get through a large university and not have that experience.  Those parents may well start wondering what, exactly, they have been paying for.  Some parents are fine paying for extracurriculars like sports, fraternities/sororities, etc., others might not be.  Small colleges, ironically including the ones that might go under now, usually build such research requirements into their programs.

It is important also that students learn from each other.  I proofread my roommate's senior research thesis, and I learned a lot about her subject.  Students do talk to each other about what they are learning, and they get to know each other in classes they take.  I would think that happens less in online classes.

One of the reasons that online classes right now seem like a joke is that professors literally can't figure out how to do testing and assignments that (a) don't disadvantage students without access to resources, and (b) don't open the door wide for cheating.  But online learning, even when done properly (not like what is going on now) has big problems.  The biggest is that it is so easy to cheat - that, I think, devalues it quite a bit.  Also, most students don't have the motivation to complete the courses.  

My grandfather left school at age 12 (in 1912) and went to work as an office boy.  He took classes at night, and became an accountant.  So, it was possible to do that then, and it's possible to do it today and succeed, if you have self-discipline.  He sent his children to residential colleges, because after WWII he could, but he knew that it was about more than learning the skills.

Having said all of that, if my son's college is still online next fall, I don't know what we'll do.  I hope that between testing and treatments, they will feel comfortable bringing the students back.

Let me add that it will be difficult for many of us to make a decision what to do with our guys if we are online in the fall between baseball and school.  Mine is out of state and costs a lot more than the local schools.  He is on scholarship so the scholarship would likely pay the full amount since we would not need room and board, as long as they honor the baseball scholarship.  That will be the next big hurdle is whether all schools would honor their sports scholarships if there is not sports.  I don't think this will be a concern because I think unless the numbers skyrocket once the nation is opened it will be hard to shut back down again.  Don't want this to get into a corona discussion. 

On the other side, If a player transfers to a local school, it will mess with their baseball eligibility for the future. 

I think some teachers are definitely struggling how to teach in this online world.  Most of my son's classes are fine and the teachers are doing a great job but his hardest class, the Business Management class, teacher dropped all daily assignments and projects and is just giving mid term and final which will greatly impact grade unless he ultimately is just going to pass everyone who tries which is what I have heard some say.  I think they will have a hard time justifying failing a kid who logs in every day and had good grades pre-Corona and does not once it went online.

Gunner Mack Jr. posted:

  For me though my biggest concern is what will happen to colleges that are forced to go remote in September, they likely can't adjust costs this quickly.  They will cut what they deem "non-essential" or sports that don't make money.  As you say second-tier schools and below won't be able to enroll more students quickly and then they have to figure out what to do with them when campuses open.  The perspective of posters who work at colleges would be helpful.  I know there is at least one.

I think the fallout will go wider and deeper than sports.  This is going to push some schools beyond cutting costs - it's going to put them out of business.  For years many middling schools have been benefitting from the exclusivity of top schools, taking advantage of student loans and charging exorbitant tuition.  Access to legitimized online education from prestigious schools, even at a high cost, is going to cut into their market.  I get that it's not a full college experience, but it doesn't have to be a 4 year deal - it could be just frosh year since many schools have on-campus spots open up sophomore year.

old_school posted:

If schools are not reopening in the fall my question is why send them back? I have 2 doing the online life of college now and it is a joke. They aren't learning, it is pass fail grading, there is no social outlet, athletic outlet, personal growth experience...

Why would we buck up 20k give or take for a semester of online in the fall? I don't give a damn about their overhead, you want to charge full rate open your campus, if you can't you better start charging a different package. for 50k to 60k per year you need to provide something besides a link...

I agree.  I'm in the same boat.  But... I'm pretty sure my son will want to continue to forge ahead and graduate with his class rather than sitting out a semester (or a year).  In the end he will end up with a credential that is very valuable and down the road no one will put an asterisk on his degree... I guess this is what the schools are banking on.

Smitty28 posted:
Gunner Mack Jr. posted:

  For me though my biggest concern is what will happen to colleges that are forced to go remote in September, they likely can't adjust costs this quickly.  They will cut what they deem "non-essential" or sports that don't make money.  As you say second-tier schools and below won't be able to enroll more students quickly and then they have to figure out what to do with them when campuses open.  The perspective of posters who work at colleges would be helpful.  I know there is at least one.

I think the fallout will go wider and deeper than sports.  This is going to push some schools beyond cutting costs - it's going to put them out of business.  For years many middling schools have been benefitting from the exclusivity of top schools, taking advantage of student loans and charging exorbitant tuition.  Access to legitimized online education from prestigious schools, even at a high cost, is going to cut into their market.  I get that it's not a full college experience, but it doesn't have to be a 4 year deal - it could be just frosh year since many schools have on-campus spots open up sophomore year.

A lot of mediocre, private four year colleges have been in financial trouble for years. I’ve never understood why students would choose mediocre, expensive privates over a better state school.

In New England and other northeastern areas there’s a snobbery thing about private colleges. When I told someone my son was attending a Big Ten their first response was, “ He didn’t take high school seriously?”

 

Last edited by RJM
PitchingFan posted:

I think some teachers are definitely struggling how to teach in this online world.  Most of my son's classes are fine and the teachers are doing a great job but his hardest class, the Business Management class, teacher dropped all daily assignments and projects and is just giving mid term and final which will greatly impact grade unless he ultimately is just going to pass everyone who tries which is what I have heard some say.  I think they will have a hard time justifying failing a kid who logs in every day and had good grades pre-Corona and does not once it went online.

Wow, to drop assignments and go to two exams seems a little bit crazy.  I did the opposite, I increased the number of exams and homework assignments to better motivate students to keep up.  It also has the impact of inflating the grades, as homework assignments are a lot easier to do well on than exams.

For your specific situation, I am in on many administrator meetings, and I can tell you that we discuss faculty who do what your son's instructor is doing, and the fact that it is not allowed.  I'd discuss it with the department head (ask for anonymity, of course), and if he gets a bad grade, I'd consider doing an official grade dispute (I am sure the University has a formal process), considering that the grading scheme became more difficult than what was on the syllabus.  That's what I'd advise any student who brought it up to me.

I’ve done my best to stay positive. I hate posting this. But what I am hearing is a 30 game season, conference only, and no conference tournament. (D1) I really hope this is a bad rumor. 

The Bad thing of this is that it pushes some advancements back.

Public pressure for more scholarships and an  extra paid coach was growing on NCAA and they might have needed to give in soon but now they have an excuse to cry poor and this likely will push those advancements back 5-10 years.

 

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