With March Madness underway, one of the nation’s leading sports economists will discuss the financial sustainability of collegiate athletics during two public events on the Pullman campus.

Andrew Zimbalist will present, “The NCAA money race: Can it be stopped?” at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, March 28. Earlier, he will join WSU Athletic Director Pat Chun in a public conversation about financing athletics at WSU. The visit is sponsored by the Foley Institute.

Dr. Andrew Zimbalist, a professor of economics at Smith College, earned his bachelor’s from the University of Wisconsin. He then attended Harvard University to earn and his master’s and doctoral degrees. He is the author of twenty‑eight books on sports economics, including “Unwinding Madness: What Went Wrong with College Sports and How to Fix It”, “Equal Play: Title IX and Social Change”, “Rio 2016: Olympic Myths, Hard Realities”, “No Boston Olympics: How and Why Smart Cities Are Passing on the Torch”, and “Circus Maximus: The Economic Gamble Behind Hosting the Olympics and the World Cup”. He has also been a private consultant to professional sports teams and cities and appears frequently on NPR and other media.

Zimbalist will discuss the problems and challenges in financing collegiate sports. Recently, universities have acquired large amounts of debt to build better athletic facilities and larger stadiums. Coaches have become the highest paid public employees in most states, and television contracts from different sports networks drive conference allegiances and create imbalances between conferences. In his evening lecture, Zimbalist will examine whether the current NCAA financial model is sustainable.

Closeup of Zimbalist.
Andrew Zimbalist

Professor Zimbalist will also be presenting earlier that same day as part of the Foley Institute’s Pizza & Politics Series, when he will join WSU’s Athletics Director, Pat Chun, and Nancy Zwanger, Chair of the WSU Athletics Council, for “Who’s paying for it? Financing athletics at WSU” a conversation about financing athletics at WSU in the institute at noon. Both events are free, and open to the public. They are sponsored by the Thomas S. Foley Institute for Public Policy and Public Service at WSU. The evening lecture will be held in the CUB Auditorium at Washington State University, and the noon conversation will take place in the Foley Speaker’s Room, 308 Bryan Hall at WSU.

The Foley Institute’s lecture series aim to spreading powerful ideas, and to broaden the educational experience of WSU students and the surrounding community by bringing engaging speakers to campus to encourage thought-provoking discussions.

The Thomas S. Foley Institute for Public Policy and Public Service is a non‑partisan public policy institute, located at WSU Pullman, focused on bringing world‑class speakers for public events; supporting student internships in public service; and supporting scholarly research on public policy and political institutions.