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It's pretty easy for an athletic department to just sort of muddle along, without bothering to really think about why they're doing what they're doing. You can tell your university community that an athletic department boosts enrollment, community spirit and engagement, exposure, and all the other standard answers.

But what happens when you sit down and really ask yourself if you're being successful at those things? And what do you do when you get a challenging answer?

Portland State is in the middle of this process. Back in February 2021, the university commissioned an "Athletics Future Committee," with university trustees, athletic department personnel, faculty members, and other stakeholders, to "to review the status of intercollegiate athletics at PSU and to make recommendations to the President and campus leadership about the future." The school commissioned Collegiate Consulting to assist in that process.

In September, Collegiate Consulting turned in a more than 400-page operational review of the athletic department, with interviews, benchmarking data, and recommendations. In late November, the Athletics Future Committee prepared a different report, titled "Status and Future of Intercollegiate Athletics at Portland State University," which included data and recommendations from Collegiate Consulting.

The two reports took a hard look at whether Portland State's athletic department is successful, and what options the school has to improve it. Extra Points has obtained a copy of both reports via an open records request, and those PDFs can be accessed below.

The documents painted a challenging choice. Does the school double down on athletics and increase the funding and resources required to be competitive? Does it drop its FCS football team and navigate an uncertain DI path?

Or does it get out of sports completely?

Before anybody can answer that, Portland State needs to determine why it has sports at all.

Via the November report: