Universities Spend Six Times More on Athletic Programs than Scholarly Prosuits

Of course they do, Ath­letic depart­ments actu­ally bring in revenue.

Pub­lic uni­ver­si­ties com­pet­ing in NCAA Divi­sion I sports spend as much as six times more per ath­lete than they spend to edu­cate stu­dents, and likely for the first time per-athlete spend­ing at schools in each of the six highest-profile foot­ball con­fer­ences topped $100,000 in 2010, an analy­sis of fed­eral and school data finds.

Between 2005 and 2010, spend­ing by ath­letic depart­ments rose more than twice as fast as aca­d­e­mic spend­ing on a per-student basis.

Median per-athlete spend­ing by 97 pub­lic insti­tu­tions that com­pete in the top-tier Foot­ball Bowl Sub­di­vi­sion increased the most: 51%, to $92,000, between 2005 and 2010, while median spend­ing on edu­ca­tion increased 23%, to just under $14,000 per full-time student.

Mean­while, tuition at four-year pub­lic uni­ver­si­ties increased an aver­age of 38% and state and local fund­ing rose just 2%, research shows.

Oh, but the num­bers are even more messed up in that.  The report showed that of the schools with ath­letic depart­ment bud­gets big­ger than $70 mil­lion annu­ally, only 12.5%  of the actu­ally have pro­grams which are gen­er­at­ing more money than are put into them.

The rest of the money, comes from pro­grams which are sup­posed to help the stu­dents — all in the hope that the jocks gen­er­ate enough money for a new library someday.

Schools like UW-Madison don’t have an issue like that (yet), since the ath­letic depart­ment is both sep­a­rate from the school’s bud­get and is one of the most prof­itable in the coun­try.  But other schools aren’t so lucky and they’re play­ing a risky game if they’re hav­ing to decide who gets paid: a new physics pro­fes­sor or a new assis­tant coach for the foot­ball team.


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