Collegiate Sports in the Caribbean

Go Lean Commentary

CampionExcelsiorK20120911IASports play a big role in Caribbean culture. Education plays a big role in the empowerment of communities. There is a junction between sports and academics; this is the sphere of college athletics.

Cuba has 37 universities…alone. In total, the Caribbean has 42 million people (2010 figures) in all 30 member-states. So surely there is enough of a student population to field sports teams.

More so, there is a fan base in the communities to complete the eco-system of sports spectators and community pride. Yet, there is very little college sports being facilitated in the region right now. Despite the breadth and talent base to form leagues and rivalries among the established universities within the Caribbean. Any system for college athletics is noticeably lacking.

This is the mission of the Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU); to function as a Caribbean version of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) in the US. We have much to learn from this organization’s history, successes & failures.

“The NCAA was founded in 1906 to protect young people from the dangerous and exploitive athletics practices of the time,” so states the NCAA on its official website.[a]

According to Dan Treadway, Associate Blog Editor for the Huffington Post online news magazine[b]:

The NCAA often likes to harp on tradition and the sanctity of the term “student-athlete,” but it fails to recognize its true roots.

The association in fact got its start because, at the time of its creation, football was in danger of being abolished as a result of being deemed too dangerous a sport. During the 1905 season alone, 18 college and amateur players died during games. In response to public outcry, Theodore Roosevelt, an unabashed fan of the sport, gathered 13 football representatives at the White House for two meetings at which those in attendance agreed on reforms to improve safety. What would later become known as the NCAA was formed shortly after on the heels of this unifying safety agreement.

Collegiate Sports is now big money; an economic eco-system onto itself. How much money does the NCAA make?

For the 2010-11 fiscal year, the NCAA revenue was $845.9 million, (not including College Football). Total rights (broadcast & licensing) payment for 2010-11 was $687 million, of all NCAA revenue. The remaining revenues are mostly event ticket sales.

How did the NCAA go from being an agreement to promote safety standards so as to prevent death on the playing field, to a multi-million dollar enterprise? Chalk that up to 100 years of social evolution.

The book Go Lean … Caribbean serves as a roadmap to advance to the end of the evolutionary process and establish the economic engines to empower the Caribbean region, even in areas like sports and culture.

So how to build sports franchises anew? How will colleges & universities create success from collegiate athletics? It’s a complex “art and science”, but first, it starts with facilities – the CU’s Fairground administration will fund, build and manage sports venues. The CU will be the landlord; the academic institutions, the tenants.

The Go Lean roadmap navigates the changed landscape of globalization and pronounces that change has come to the Caribbean but the region is not prepared. Despite the great appreciation for sports, and the excellent talent of its athletes, there is no business model for the consumption of Caribbean collegiate athletics.

Now, for much of the Caribbean, the population tunes in and pays for cable/satellite TV service to consume American collegiate athletic programming. But how many people in the region are watching Caribbean college sporting activities? None. Though there is a demand, undoubtedly, there is no supply process in place.

In the adjoining table in the Appendix, 36 schools are identified that are capable of fielding credible sports teams, if the appropriate facilitations were in place.

There is the demand. What’s missing is the organized market for consumption. The implementation of this Go Lean roadmap fills this void. This completes the supply!

Applying the model of the NCAA, much can be learned. We can copy their success, and learn from their pitfalls. The NCAA credits tremendous revenues for itself, but not necessarily for all of their members. Under NCAA supervision, the majority of athletic programs, in fact, lose money and are subsidized by funds from their respective university. While the NCAA is needed for academic integrity in college sports, many times, it fails at this responsibility. They lack the CU’s lean execution ethos.

After 100 years later, does the world still need the NCAA? Absolutely! For more than the collective bargaining/negotiations role for the business side of college athletics. They are also the governing body for college athletics, ensuring fairness and good sportsmanship. For the Caribbean Union, this role is to be assumed by the CU Sports Administration, to provide technocratic efficiencies. The resultant eco-system facilitates the CU mandate, to make the region a better place to live, work and play.

Download the book Go Lean … Caribbean – now!


APPENDIX A – References:
b – daniel-treadway/johnny-manziel-ncaa-eligibility_b_3020985.html


APPENDIX B – Caribbean Regional Colleges & Universities




Antigua and Barbuda


Antigua State College


University of Aruba


College of the Bahamas


University of the West Indies – Cave Hill, American University


University of Belize
Galen University


Bermuda College (Community College)


University of Havana Universidad de Oriente, Polytechnic University José Antonio Echeverría
Dominican Republic


Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo (UASD) – (English: Autonomous University of Santo Domingo)
French Caribbean


University of the French West Indies and Guiana Guadeloupe Campus, Martinique Campus, French Guiana Campus


University of Guyana


Caribbean University / Université Caraïbe, Université d’Haiti


University of the West Indies – Mona, University of Technology (U-Tech), Mico University College, Northern Caribbean University (NCU), University College of the Caribbean (UCC), International University of the Caribbean (IUC)
Netherlands Antilles


University of Curaçao
Sint Maarten University of St. Martin
Puerto Rico



Caribbean University, Metropolitan University, University of Puerto Rico, University of Turabo


University of Suriname Anton de Kom Universiteit van Suriname
Trinidad and Tobago


University of the West Indies – Saint Augustine University of Southern Caribbean (USC) University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT)
US Virgin Islands


University of the Virgin Islands

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