Football’s accounting surplus has not enabled the KU’s minor sports to be very successful. Why?

  • Given the football surpluses used to heavily subsidize minor sports, why are KU’s minor sports so reputedly bad relative to other school’s minor sports? Are they really worse than most other schools’ minor sports programs? If they were much worse, and if no one but participants cares much about minor sports, would their lack of winning necessarily be a bad thing?

    Thoughtful comments will be appreciated?

  • KU’s track programs have had on again, off again success. The womens basketball program had a solid run of success under Washington for a while, but none really since she left. Baseball has had some good years. Women’s volleyball has been particularly strong the last few years.

    The key to minor sport success is high quality coaching. Because you don’t have the recruiting budget to recruit far and wide, you have to really have a strong overall program. KU is at a bit of a disadvantage compared to other programs because the local area does not produce a surplus of D1 athletes in minor sports like soccer, track, baseball, softball, etc. This is why you see SEC, ACC and Pac-12 schools excel in minor sports (as well as schools like Texas and OU). The local area produces enough of a surplus of D1 performers in those sports that a school like UCLA can have their pick of great HS volleyball players locally without having to recruit nationally.

    KU doesn’t have that luxury because the state of Kansas (and the four state region of KS, MO, IA, and NE) does not produce an outright surplus of D1 talent in many of these sports. The smaller population in Kansas also makes that more difficult.

    You will notice that KU has had quite a bit of turnover in coaching in several minor sports. That’s indicative of the issue with needing to find the right coach. It looks like volleyball has done that. If one or two other minor sports do the same (soccer? womens hoops? track?) that can help, but many of those minor sports aren’t hugely popular locally like say, lacrosse is in New England, or like baseball and softball are in the gulf coast and sun belt.

  • @justanotherfan

    The women’s basketball team had a decent two year run a few years ago with w Sweet 16 trips tat ended with loses to the # 1 and 2 ranked teams.


    The women’s track and field team won the National outdoor Title in 2013. The women’s golf and tennis teams have done well although they have been outsourced and the great majority of athletes are foreigners. The Volleyball teams has had recent steady success.

    Reality is that women’s sports have very little appeal and tiny audiences and they all work at a loss. The UConn women’s basketball program, arguably the most successful College sport program in recent memory with 10 national titles in this century alone, still works at a loss.

    There are two primary college sports that show profit, football and basketball and football profits are much larger. Every other sport, with a few isolated exceptions, loses money. You will get a positive ROI by improving these two programs, everything else is a wash or a loss.

  • @JayHawkFanToo

    Agree with everything that you said. The best you are hoping for with the minor sports is break even. That’s the absolute best case scenario.

    More likely, you’re just trying to minimize your losses.

    When Tennessee was the top women’s basketball program under Pat Summit in the late 80’s through the 90’s, they were operating at roughly break even some years, or a small loss in others. UConn operates at a loss in large part because, although they recruit nationally, they are located in an area that requires a lot of expense to bring in recruits. That’s best case scenario.

    KU isn’t hoping for that. They are hoping to minimize the losses so that the amount that football and men’s basketball have to subsidize is lower. That’s the ideal. That’s what happens at places like UCLA, Ohio State, Texas, Florida, etc. The losses are minimized.

  • A lot of those small sport athletes don’t receive scholarships either. I know the track and field teams only have so many to give. Doesn’t really have anything to do w/this but doesn’t help. KU has some really good throwers that have placed nationally, vaulters too. Sharon lokedi has placed nationally too, and won the KU women’s athlete of the year last pm along w/guess who? Devonte! I think Doke won something too. Maybe somebody posted this. Pressed for time but saw team pic. Those were the rock chalk awards

  • @justanotherfan

    Thanks for weighing in. It seems like you have made an excellent argument for not worrying about KU’s minor sports performance. They are doing about what they should given the population base and lack of revenue generation.

  • @JayHawkFanToo

    Is it Goofball not for profit accounting of athletic departments in universities that reputedly makes football appear “profitable” to you?

    Oh, and it’s surplus, not profit.


  • @Crimsonorblue22

    So you are citing all these anecdotal cases like KU throwers. Are you saying KU minor sports are being mischaracterized when referred to as not as successful as KSU, or OSU, or ISU?

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