Sandy Barbour Defends Pat Chambers, Talks Bowl Revenue
In just over half a year at Penn State, athletic director Sandy Barbour has proven herself to be unafraid of speaking out on issues surrounding the university’s athletic department. On Tuesday, that trend continued.
In an interview on the Steve Jones Show, a radio program based in State College hosted by the long-time voice of Nittany Lions sports, Barbour defended men’s basketball coach Patrick Chambers, addressed the impact the returned bowl revenue has on the Penn State athletic department, and also touched on cost of attendance and freshman ineligibility.
“Pat Chambers is my guy”
Following Tuesday’s announcement that Penn State would be fined $10,000 for Chambers criticism of Big Ten officiating after Saturday’s loss to Maryland, Barbour said she supports the fourth-year coach’s “passion.” Despite diminishing returns on the court following a 12-1 start in non-conference play, she’s encouraged by the way Chambers is continuing to build the program.
“We’re not having the kind of success on the court that I believe, and I know Patrick does too, we agree on this, that those student athletes and this community deserves,” Barbour said. “I believe that we are headed in the right direction. Again, it’s not manifesting itself in the win column the way maybe we thought it would, but I think where we’re going with these kids, the recruiting obviously has really pointing up.”
“Patrick Chambers is my guy,” Barbour added. “He’s gonna be with us and I believe he’s gonna build us a long-tern sustainable winner at Penn State, and I support every ounce of that.”
Return of bowl revenue
Just last week, it was announced that Penn State would be eligible to receive its share of Big Ten bowl revenue again, starting with the 2015-16 season. After being cut out the last three years due to the Big Ten’s additional sanctions on the program, Barbour said Penn State is in line to bring in $6 million.
“Part of how we’ve approached [the success of our student athletes] is through a series of $10 million loans to the department, of which we’re going have to repay, but at least we had the opportunity to stay relatively whole,” Barbour said. “We can now look at that $6 million-plus coming in next year as we either don’t have to take part or all of that loan, or we do have a lot of one-time costs, particularly as they relate to capital projects and needs around facilities, that we’ll certainly analyze and take a look at how we get those done.”
With the release of the 2014-15 budget revealing the addition of a new profitable program in the form of men’s hockey, the return of the bowl revenue is a big step toward recovering from the financial burden of the last four years.
Cost of attendence to be $1.7 million
Dating back to her ten years spent as the athletic director at Cal, Barbour said she’s been eyeing the cost of attendance of student-athletes for four years. In October, Penn State announced the beginning a nutritional health program for student athletes, giving the university’s 31 athletic teams access to healthier and sport-specific meals at fueling stations located in athletic facilities throughout campus.
At Penn State, Barbour estimated the cost to be $1.7 million beginning Fall 2015. This past year, Barbour said the athletic department experienced an incremental cost of roughly $750,000.
On the Pac 12 proposing freshman ineligibility
Barbour’s old stomping grounds, the Pac 12 conference, presented a proposal last week to make freshman ineligible again for the first time since 1972 in order to try and eliminate the “one and done” phenomenon that’s happening in major college sports. Barbour doesn’t personally support the idea, claiming that “it’s unfair to the kids that do that ability to take it on.”
“I find it really, really interesting that when you look at the discussion around amateurism, and ‘pay for play,’ image and likeness, and unionization, there isn’t anything there that paying student athletes solves. A pay check doesn’t solve that.”
“More money doesn’t solve that, but really looking at are they prepared when they come to campus and how much time do they truly have to become students I think gets at the issue,” Barbour added. “Freshmen ineligibility is really a flame thrower to get us talking about that.”