Thursday, January 17, 2013

Snow is Cold, Sky is Blue, College Sports Are Expensive

This story demonstrates something that we have known for quite some time--that despite the argument that universities make money from the big sports, the reality is that the big sports are often huge money pits.  I have long been annoyed at how much the athletics tail can often wag the academic dog.

This was most obvious two stops ago on my academic journey at Texas Tech.  I never did feel pressure to pass failing athletes, but it was obvious that the big sports were sucking money away from the rest of the poorly managed institution.  But it is not just TTU--it is endemic.
Between 2005 and 2010, on a per-capita basis, the report found, athletic costs increased at least twice as fast as academic spending at institutions with top-tier athletic programs.
Yow.  And, of course, the most expensive sport is football:
Football consumes much of the athletic budget. At institutions competing in the top-tier Football Bowl Subdivision, the report found, median athletic spending per athlete was $92,000 in 2010, compared with median academic spending per full-time student of less than $14,000. In the other Division I subdivisions, median athletic spending per athlete ranged from $37,000 to $39,000, compared with median academic spending per full-time student of about $11,800. 
And this does not even build into the budget the costs of the concussions the student-athletes are accumulating.

One of the nice things about Canadian universities, even though they have significant sports programs, is that the sports programs do not seem to have much power or influence, at least not when compared to those in the U.S.

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