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Report: Pac-12 fighting Grand Canyon U., for-profit schools

Jul 18, 2013, 12:00 PM EDT


The Pac-12 conference CEOs have begun questioning whether or not adding a for-profit school to Division I athletics is a good idea, according to a report from Dennis Dodd of

They sent a letter to Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott, and it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that the target of that letter is Grand Canyon University. The school joined Division I on June 1st, becoming a member of the WAC, and will be eligible for the NCAA tournament in 2017-2018.

Grand Canyon has 6,500 students on their Pheonix campus and another 45,000 taking classes online. IT was founded in 1949, but was taken over in 2004 when the school was broke and turned into a publicly-traded company.

From Dodd’s story:

“It’s gotten on the radar of our schools and are trying to raise it as a policy issue as to whether for-profit schools ought to be playing Division I athletics, or not, before there are any,” Scott said. “It’s always hard to put the genie back in the bottle.”

The school was been assured by an NCAA official that “he didn’t feel like [non-profit status] would have any tangible affect on our membership,” according to Grand Canyon AD Keith Baker.


Scott said the concern among the league’s presidents and chancellors arises from such a school being “responsible to financial partners and shareholders. That’s the bottom line of accountability.”

The Pac-12 action originated with Arizona State, according to several sources.

“It’s not about Grand Canyon,” Scott said. “It’s about institutions whether they should be granted membership to Division I. This issue has been flagged by our presidents as something as they think the NCAA board and the membership more broadly ought to really think about just before letting it happen.”

This will be something to keep an eye on, but for now, the Antelopes are nothing more than a program with a couple of notable names. “Thunder” Dan Majerle is their head coach, which Demetrius Walker transferred into the program.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

  1. eagles512 - Jul 18, 2013 at 12:59 PM

    What, are they worried it’ll hurt their own profits?

  2. tomtravis76 - Jul 18, 2013 at 2:17 PM

    Isn’t all of the realignment so the schools and conferences can increase their profits.

  3. Anoesis - Jul 19, 2013 at 10:47 AM

    Just because you get to call yourself non-profit for tax purposes doesn’t mean you don’t actually make a profit. The only difference is that the money goes to the suits in charge instead of outside investors. An industry that can pay millions of dollars a year to the guy who coaches boys playing a game hardly evokes the image of a traditional non-profit.

    “(R)esponsible to financial partners and shareholders. That’s the bottom line of accountability.”

    GCU has financial partners and shareholders and so does every other Div. I school. In the case of PAC12 schools, for example, those partners and shareholders are television networks, advertisers, and school employees. Some of these schools are state-run, but many are private institutions.

    If it wasn’t so pathetically transparent, it would be funny watching these pots calling the kettle black.

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