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ERIC Number: EJ769760
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-May-18
Pages: 1
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0009-5982
After Costly Foray into Big-Time Sports, a College Returns to Its Roots
June, Audrey Williams
Chronicle of Higher Education, v53 n37 pA33 May 2007
When the Birmingham-Southern College football team plays Mississippi College this fall, it will be the first time since 1939 that athletes at the Alabama institution have suited up against an opponent on the gridiron. But the football season will also serve as a high-profile signal that Birmingham-Southern athletics events are no longer what they used to be: face-offs between powerful NCAA Division I colleges. This fall the private liberal-arts institution will join the Division III ranks after an eight-year stint in the big time. Birmingham-Southern is leaving Division I because playing sports on that level had created a running $6-million deficit that the university could not sustain. The shortfall led Moody's Investors Service to repeatedly downgrade the institution's bond rating in recent years, until it reached junk status in February. At the same time, lower-priced, public-college competitors in Alabama have been chipping away at the college's enrollment, which was about 1,500 in 1999 when the college jumped to Division I and is 1,300 today. The institution lost many students after announcing its move to Division III. Students and fans protested the transition from Division I, and nearly a third of the university's athletes have transferred. But G. David Pollick, president of Birmingham-Southern, defends the decision, saying it will allow the college to slash its athletic expenses and bolster the university's operating budget. He hopes that the NCAA reclassification, under which the college will add five teams, including football, will eventually help increase enrollment.
Chronicle of Higher Education. 1255 23rd Street NW Suite 700, Washington, DC 20037. Tel: 800-728-2803; e-mail: circulation@chronicle.com; Web site: http://chronicle.com/
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Alabama