When it comes to being recognized as a top university in the sports world, NCAA and conference championship titles are often the main focus. However, researchers in the Laboratory for the Study of Intercollegiate Athletics (LSIA) have created another way for universities to win – win more championships while also spending less money.
When Dr. Michael Sagas was associate department head of Health and Kinesiology, he developed an award focused on a number of issues including diversity on campus, financial aid and other financial topics. Finding data on many of the issues was difficult. Eight years ago, Dr. Shane Hudson, as part of the LSIA, chose to make changes to the award and the Excellence in Management (EM) Cup was born.
“I liked the idea of finance and budget and I wanted to simplify the process. We came up with something that graduate assistant Rob Clark and I were interested in and that was financially efficient athletic departments,” explained Dr. Hudson, professor of sport management.
The purpose of the EM Cup is to bring awareness about NCAA athletic departments that are maximizing fiscal resources with the most championship victories. The scoring system awards more points to athletic departments that win conference and national championships with the lowest expenses. The scores are calculated in a formula that accounts for total athletic department spending, number of sports played and the number of championships won by each Division I (FBS) university.
“We wanted to do something that hadn’t been done as well as a study that would give every FBS university a chance to win. If your resources are limited you must spend wisely,” added Dr. Hudson.
The EM Cup has shown that smaller universities that spend money wisely are just as effective in winning titles compared to their larger counterparts.
“Schools spend a lot of money. It was interesting to see how they’re spending their money versus what they’re doing on the field. On the flip side, just because they’re not winning on the field doesn’t mean they aren’t spending their money well, it simply means that the dollar amount they are spending on athletics isn’t resulting in championships” explained Rebekah Rabun, a master’s sport management student.
Rabun is one of the graduate assistants assigned to the project this year. She and Juanita Rodriguez began collecting data at the end of the baseball season. Congratulatory letters and trophies are sent to the winning universities the first week of September.
The 7th annual EM Cup champion is Eastern Michigan University. You can read more about the EM Cup by visiting http://lsia.tamu.edu.