A recent article in the Wall Street Journal suggests what he might have mind. Go for it, Senator Resniak!


For a start, take an online tour of the John E. Jaqua Academic Center for Student Athletes at the University of Oregon. Inside this edifice of sparkling glass and stainless steel are 40,000 square feet of spaces to facilitate college education.

Professor Howard P. Chudacoff, Brown University

These include an auditorium with 114 leather seats, 35 tutor rooms, 25 academic and life-skills advising offices, a conference room, a computer lab, a graphics lab, library, study carrels, lounge with a wide flat-screen TV and plush sofas, full kitchenette and cafe, all outfitted with state-of-the-art equipment.

Virtually all of its rooms, technology and staff are the exclusive reserve of varsity athletes. These privileged few—about 2.5% of the undergraduate population—can enjoy more than their own private academic rooms. The center furnishes each student athlete with a laptop encased, like the auditorium seats, in Maserati leather.

The Jaqua Center may be extreme in extravagance but it is representative of similar centers at elite sports schools—check out Paul W. Bryant Hall at the University of Alabama; the Stephen M. Ross Academic Center at the University of Michigan; or the Dick and Peg Herman Family Student Life Complex at the University of Nebraska.

Crimson Tide Spa & Training Center, University of Alabama

These athletes enjoy luxury and academic services that ordinary students cannot access, much less afford.

Athletes in big-time "revenue" college sports—mainly football and men's basketball—garner benefits that compare favorably with those of their professional counterparts. They walk the campus in high-price athletic and leisure attire, often provided free by Nike, Under Armour, Adidas and the like.

Deferred maintenance, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ

At Oregon, the 145,000-square-foot football center (about half the size of the average Wal-Mart ) houses three indoor practice fields, a two-story weight room, multiple whirlpools and trainers' tables, lockers the size of a crypt, several plush lounges with flat-screen TVs and gaming stations, a cafeteria, conference and classrooms, a pool table and barber shop.

The Anderson Training Center at the University of Tennessee also spans 145,000 square feet, and includes an indoor practice field, multilevel weight and cardio area, nutrition bar, a 7,000-square-foot locker room (well-ventilated) with connections for mobile devices at each locker.

Deferred maintenance, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ

Once a university constructs an expensive Jaqua Center or lavish football training center, its rivals feel pressure to keep pace or outdo. The resulting perks are the costliest and most outlandish feature of the college sports "arms race," and athletes are the beneficiaries.

Howard Chudacoff is George L. Littlefield Professor of American History at Brown University. He is the author of "Changing the Playbook: How Power, Profit, and Politics Transformed College Sports" (University of Illinois Press, 2015).

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