Money grab? We seem to be forgetting what college athletics are about

uva athleticsI’m at a loss as to the mini-furor that has erupted in some corners over the move by UVA Athletics to cash in on the basketball national championship.

Hello! College athletics is about money.

I’m not being cynical when I say that. It’s a business!

That’s why you hire coaches, staff, trainers, strength and conditioning experts, for millions a year.

Build a $125 million arena, commit another $180 million to building a new training facility.

Millions more go into funding scholarships.

You don’t do that just to win games.

You do that to win games so that you can make more money.

It’s a business!

And so, on Sept. 19, UVA Athletics is having a public event at JPJ and charging for admission.

Fifty bucks for a seat in the lower bowl, twenty-five to sit up top.

You seriously thought they’d just open the doors?

Let’s think that through. How we decide who gets in if it’s a free event?

You wanted it done at the first basketball game. I can see that. You’d have to pay to get into that one.

And, let’s be honest about it: you’d probably end up paying a lot more to get in for that first game.

I’d advise folks to think big picture here. Running some numbers on this, it looks to me that this event might be able to bring in upwards of $750,000 to $1 million for UVA Athletics.

The annual budget for UVA Athletics, at last count, was around $100 million.

A million-dollar day is a big day for UVA Athletics.

It’s a million dollars that will end up going back into the budget to pay coaches, training staff, strength and conditioning staff, pay for scholarships, for travel.

So that the teams on the court and on the field get better.

And maybe win more championships.

And, you know, provide cause for having more banner-raising ceremonies.

I’m a UVA alum and life-long UVA Athletics fan.

I want more banner-raising ceremonies.

Column by Chris Graham

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Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, by Jerry Ratcliffe and Chris Graham, is available for $25.

The book, with additional reporting by Zach Pereles, Scott Ratcliffe and Scott German, will take you from the aftermath of the stunning first-round loss to UMBC in 2018, and how coach Tony Bennett and his team used that loss as the source of strength, through to the ACC regular-season championship, the run to the Final Four, and the thrilling overtime win over Texas Tech to win the 2019 national title, the first in school history.

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