Wednesday, Dennis Dodd of CBSSports.com wrote a piece that outlined the Pac-12 protesting the inclusion of for-profit universities into Division I athletics.
Grand Canyon University in Phoenix is the first and, so far, only for-profit institution slated for play in Division I sports in the 2013-14 school year, so it is receiving the brunt of the perceived Pac-12 ire.
But university president Brian Mueller doesn’t believe this about the Pac-12 being against for-profit colleges. He believes it’s much more specific than that.
“It’s the president, Michael Crow, has decided he’s not happy with Grand Canyon University and so he’s pushing an agenda that started over a month ago and we decided we were going to keep very quiet about it and take the high road if we possibly could,” he told Arizona Sports 620’s Doug and Wolf Thursday. “Then the story came out and we feel compelled to talk about it.”
Mueller, who said he does not believe the quarrel has anything to do with the Pac-12 or even Arizona State University as a whole, elaborated that the issue started shortly after GCU announced their jump to Division I as a member of the Western Athletic Conference.
“Three or four days after the announcement, Dr. Crow instructed the athletic director to instruct the coaches to cancel all games (with Grand Canyon),” he said. “The coaches had immediately begun scheduling games — it makes sense to have a baseball series and a softball series and other events because we’re within 15 miles of each other. There can be a tremendous cost savings and the Valley would get interested in that.
“But they were instructed to cancel all the games that had been scheduled. So that took place and we decided that we were going to just go about our business and let that be as it is and hopefully that would change.”
Mueller then alleged that Crow encouraged other Pac-12 presidents to follow suit and cancel games scheduled with GCU and that a request that GCU’s inclusion into Division I become an agenda item at an executive council meeting in August. That knowledge spurred Mueller to place a phone call to Mark Emmert, the president of the NCAA.
“He indicated that I shouldn’t be concerned about it, and that it was a discussion item. If some action item were to take place, then he would certainly want us to get involved,” Mueller said.
The Grand Canyon president and CEO believes Crow is making an issue of this because he finds his institution in unfamiliar territory.
“Arizona State has never had to compete for traditional-aid students in the state, nor have they had to compete for non-traditional working adult students attending online,” Mueller stated. “I know that’s a big goal of theirs, to replace lost tax revenues with online students, and we’re a big player in that arena.”
Arizona State, while having a traditional on-campus enrollment of over 73,000 during the 2012 academic year, had just 6,500 online students. GCU, on the other hand, has 8,500 on-campus undergraduates and over 45,000 non-traditional online attendees.