Sports

How Colleges Rip Off Students to Pay for Mostly Awful Sports Teams

Virtually no Division I programs pay for themselves, with many getting half their revenue from students and taxpayers.

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As part of its program featuring Charles Koch, the Wichita-based libertarian billionaire, MSNBC's Morning Joe crew also staged a fawning interview with big-wig froms Wichita State, whose men's basketball team, the Shockers, is ranked in the pre-season top 10.

What went unmentioned: Like all but a handful (as in maybe a dozen), Division I sports schools massively subsidize their athletic departments out of general revenue. Schools will often claim that the subsidies go mostly to sports that don't generate much if any revenue but all analyses show that the vast, overwhelming majority of spending goes to funding football and basketball teams. In a bid to enter the "big time," schools routinely raise students fees, tuition, and other costs that are directed away from academic pursuits that one assumes are more central to higher education than an Elite Eight appearance or football bowl game.

According to USA Today, which updates its figures every for state-assisted schools (private ones, who are possibly even worse at this, don't have to share numbers under public records' requests), Wichita State subsidizes its athletic department's budget by 30 percent. Fully $7.5 million a year flows from student's pockets to coaches, vendors, and athletes.

Go here to find your own school. My own undergraduate school, Rutgers, uses $38,000,000 in student fees and general revenue to cover fully 50 percent of an athletic program that includes a football coach who was suspended for pressuring an adjunct to change the final grade of a start recruit. Anyone familiar with the Scarlet Knights' on-field performance won't be surprised to learn that the coach failed even at that.

I love watching college sports but they comprise one of the most-indefensible wastes of taxpayer dollars at state schools. And please, save me your debunked Flutie Effect arguments. There's no serious connection between having a good sports team and a better student body or academic reputation. It's a waste of dough, diverts away from academics in every possible way, and exploits student athletes, who generally would be better off playing in the semi-pro leagues that would inevitably crop up if college sports disappeared.

Related: How Much is a College Athlete Worth?

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  1. Sports programs are nothing but marketing. They act to create a sense of identity and to link alumni back to the school. Get rid of college sports programs and people would feel much less attached to their former college and would be much less likely to give money.

    It never occurs to Reason that maybe the people who run colleges and raise money for them might know more about what they are doing than Nick and his Jacket. As far as tax money going to support these things, if it is a private school, that is a problem. If it is a state school, then the problem such as it is is with state funded universities as a whole not with the decision to use the money for a sports program to market the school.

    1. They act to create a sense of identity and to link alumni back to the school. Get rid of college sports programs and people would feel much less attached to their former college and would be much less likely to give money.

      That’s the default assumption, but I’m not sure it’s true. To wit

      School name (state) Two-year average percentage of alumni who donated U.S. News rank and category
      Princeton University (NJ) 62.9% 1, National Universities
      Thomas Aquinas College (CA) 58.3% 82 (tie), National Liberal Arts Colleges
      Williams College (MA) 56.9% 1, National Liberal Arts Colleges
      Florida College 54.4% 54 (tie), Regional Colleges (South)
      Bowdoin College (ME) 54.2% 4 (tie), National Liberal Arts Colleges
      Middlebury College (VT) 53% 4 (tie), National Liberal Arts Colleges
      Davidson College (NC) 52.9% 9 (tie), National Liberal Arts Colleges
      Wellesley College (MA) 51.4% 4 (tie), National Liberal Arts Colleges
      Carleton College (MN) 50.6% 8, National Liberal Arts Colleges
      Amherst College (MA) 49.2% 2, National Liberal Arts Colleges

      Below is a list of the 10 colleges and universities with the highest two-year average percentage of alumni donors in 2012-2013 and 2013-2014

      1. I am not sure either. I am however not in a position to second guess the people who work in the field who think it does.

        I would also point out those schools you list are all very small. It is quite possible that a small school doesn’t need a sports program to engender alumni loyalty but a huge state or private university does.

        1. I am however not in a position to second guess the people who work in the field who think it does.

          My wife works for a large university and I most of my colleagues are in academia. Based on their feedback, colleges can be extremely Balkanized. Different schools and departments within a college or university often have competing interests and levels of influence. So I don’t think it necessarily follows that the athletic department is interested in doing what is best for the larger university’s alumni donations, or that the development office is in a position to tell the athletic department how to do things.

          1. My wife works in academics as well. And worked in fund raising at two small private schools. Even at those schools, athletics was a very valuable fund raising tool. She would disagree with you.

            Again, I think it depends on the school and the alumni. Regardless, it is hardly the outrage Nick makes it out to be. Like I said below, which does more harm and rips off students more, the Wisconsin football team or the Wisconsin Women’s Studies department? It is not even close in my opinion.

            1. If college funding was anything like transparent, we wouldn’t have either.

              1. Maybe but I doubt it. Again, sports programs are huge marketing tools. How do you think a school like Duke competes for students? Durham is a shit hole and there are about ten or fifteen schools that are exactly comparable and in nicer places and compete for the exact same pool of applicants. Yet, Duke does really well every year and recruits a student base from all fifty states. How? A good part of that is the sell the bread and circuses known as their basketball program. Washington University may be in St. Louis, but it doesn’t have Cameron Indoor Stadium.

                The bigger question is why is running a basketball program as a marketing campaign offend your sensibilities so much? Duke, despite it pretenses to the contrary, is nothing but a corporation. If Budweiser ran a basketball team to market its beer, would you give a shit? Yes, Duke is private but that misses the point. If it is fine for Duke to market itself via a basketball program, then its fine of UNC to do the same. If that bothers you, your problem is with state funding of universities in general not with their choice in marketing.

                1. The bigger question is why is running a basketball program as a marketing campaign offend your sensibilities so much? Duke, despite it pretenses to the contrary, is nothing but a corporation. If Budweiser ran a basketball team to market its beer, would you give a shit?

                  Unlike Anheuser-Busch, Duke gets to be a “nonprofit” corporation. It also collects tuition paid for with student loans backed by federal dollars, but you can’t buy beer with WIC. People don’t vote for special treatment for colleges because of sports teams. They do it because of an idea that colleges are supposed to be educating the next generation.

                  1. All true Nikki. Your problem is with its status as a nonprofit in general. The solution to that issue is to take away its status as a nonprofit. The basketball team has nothing to do with it.

                    1. Great. But until it loses that status I, along with everyone else, have an interest in everything they do. That’s what public funding looks like. Everyone gets to bitch about every single thing you do, because they’re all out money for it.

                    2. Okay Nikki. You hate the basketball team. I hate the women’s studies department. Someone else hates the engineering department. Why do you get your way and the other person and I don’t?

                      I don’t see how you can have the system and then let everyone get an individual vote on what they do. The fact is the athletic program is about the only thing most people like about the local state university. If you think everything that uses tax dollars should be up to a popular vote of the taxpayers, fine. I do not however think you are going to like the results of such a system.

                    3. Am I even talking about who gets their way or not? I am saying you get to complain about it. And everyone should complain, about whichever little thing pisses them off, because it exposes the inherently oppressive nature of public funding.

                      If you sit there and say, “Well, the problem is with public funding, and we should end that, but we shouldn’t complain about its effects” — well, why would anyone end if if they can’t see any problems arising from it?

                      I mean, you’re encouraging people to push for ending funding but gutting their position of any substance. The whole point is that people don’t agree with one another, and that’s why public funding is wrong. If people agreed, what would be the problem?

            2. I agree that the athletic department benefits from alumni donations to the athletic department, I’m just not sure that the larger university benefits in most cases, or that the incentives are aligned in such a way that administrators in various departments are taking a holistic approach to fund raising.

              Like I said below, which does more harm and rips off students more, the Wisconsin football team or the Wisconsin Women’s Studies department?

              If we are talking about quantifiable harm in the form of taking money from taxpayers for use by special interests, then it may very well be the football team, though we’d have to look at the numbers to be sure.

              If we are talking about spreading ideas that you and I disagree with, well, I’m not comfortable calling that harm. Doesn’t seem like a good road to go down, IMO.

              1. There are more ways to do harm than wasting money LynchPin. I would rather see the money spent of a football team than on spreading stupid ideas.

                Again, every state school is going to spend money in ways you would not. If that fact bothers you, the solution is to not have state schools.

                1. I don’t think taxpayers should be subsidizing athletic programs. It’s pretty far down on my list of issues (maybe because I’m a huge college football fan) but I wouldn’t object if it ended. The idea, though, that we either have to get rid of state schools in their entirety or just live with whatever they waste money on is an odd position. You take small victories where you can get them (not that I think this practice will be changing any time soon).

                  As for spreading stupid ideas, well, labeling that as “harm” puts you on a slippery slope towards censorship, bans, and criminalization of whatever ideas are not in vogue at the moment. Libertarians aren’t going to end up on the winning side of that outcome.

                  1. LynchPin,

                    I wouldn’t demand they end the women’s studies program anymore than I would demand they end the athletics program. If you are going to have state universities, you have to let them be run as the people in charge see fit and judge them overall not by this or that program or expense you don’t like. If you can’t handle them spending money on things you don’t like, then you can’t handle the existence of a state university in general, which is not an unreasonable position.

                    1. I wouldn’t demand they end the women’s studies program anymore than I would demand they end the athletics program.

                      At least, one of those things is “academics” of a sort. My objection is taxpayer funding of things at a school which have nothing to do with education. Don’t tell me I have to accept everything they do – I still have the right to agitate against it if I want.

                    2. If you are going to run a business, and colleges are nothing but businesses, you have to market it Rhywun. And that is all athletics are. TV commercials are not “academics” either. Would you ban those as well? Phoenix University paid for the naming rights of the Cardinals’ stadium. Was that a waste of their investors’ money?

                    3. I’m not saying you would, but that it will set other people down that road.

                      If you are going to have state universities, you have to let them be run as the people in charge see fit and judge them overall not by this or that program or expense you don’t like

                      That’s one approach. And really, I lean that way myself. I find myself arguing in this thread for a position that I’m not that tied to. But there is another approach, which is that if taxpayers fund something, they should have a say in how that thing is run. And that isn’t unreasonable either. I don’t think micromanagement is going to have very good outcomes but it’s not something I can argue against on first principles so long as people are being forced to pay for something against their will.

                    4. I think they should have a say LynchPin. Two things about that. If they get a say, they can kill the women’s studies department just like they can kill athletics. So giving them a say creates the slippery slope you are warning about. Second, athletics would probably be the last thing they would kill. So college athletics, while of debatable value, are not the worst thing the Universities do and are not going anywhere anytime soon.

      2. That’s by percentage of alumni, but none of those places have power football teams.

        Of course there could be lots of selections effects going on here. That list is almost entirely small colleges. In my experience, people who go to smaller schools tend to choose their schools based on specific reasons, and the overall atmosphere is often one of the biggest. These are often people who specifically want to avoid the big state school and may be more likely to develop a strong affinity for their school. The big state schools may have more regression to the mean.

        Still, it suggests that big sports programs aren’t giving schools a huge advantage.

      3. The people who give money because they are fans (especially football fans) often give it to the sports program itself.

        And, of course, looking around at the biggest privately-funded endowments, and they are none of them sports powerhouses.

        1. You don’t have to be a powerhouse to use athletics to raise money. The Harvard Yale football game or the Lehigh Lafayette one are big deals and fund raising vehicles for all the schools involved.

          Again, if you don’t like you money going to athletics, go to a school that doesn’t have scholarship athletics. If you don’t like your tax money going to it, understand everyone has something they don’t like and be honest and just advocate for ending state funding of colleges in general.

          The big waste of money is the taxpayers in any state paying for a college they likely will never benefit. The fact that it has a football team and you hate that is incidental.

          1. The Harvard Yale football game or the Lehigh Lafayette one are big deals and fund raising vehicles for all the schools involved.

            If every Harvard student were evaporated tomorrow, Harvard would still be making tens of millions of dollars in profit from its endowments alone. Educating students, much less organizing student life events are money losing events for Harvard, which makes most of its money from a combination of endowment, graduate research, and public-private partnerships. Caltech is in a similar position.

            1. Good for them. The people who run Harvard view it otherwise. Why are you so convinced you know better what is good for them? You wouldn’t say that about any other organization. In the same way Libertarians suddenly fall in love with anti-trust law when it comes to the NCAA, they also seem to fall in love with the idea that top men outside the field know what is best for a huge and diverse set of organizations and totally lose faith in the market.

              If athletic programs didn’t in some way appeal to alumni and students, there would be more schools like the University of Chicago and CalTech. You guys hate sports being a part of the university system. That is fine and is not an unreasonable position. What is unreasonable, however, is the contention that every other reasonable person must agree with you and that these programs are somehow being foisted on unwilling taxpayers and students and are of no value to the universities. No, they are of value for the single fact that students and taxpayers seem to like them. You may disagree but you can’t say they have no right to think that way.

              1. What market forces, exactly, are sending signals to college administrators?

                The market in higher education is distorted beyond belief and you’re pissy that we don’t want to trust the top men running colleges to do the most efficient thing for their organization.

                1. Nikki,

                  The market for students. There is a huge free market for students. The competition among schools for the best qualified applicants is fierce. If you are the kind of student who is qualified and interested in going to CalTech, you are qualified and interested in going to a lot of other schools. If the existence of an athletic program were a net negative to students as a whole, schools with athletic programs would be at a disadvantage competing for students with places like CalTech who do not. Yet, that doesn’t seem to be occurring.

                  1. Yeah, I wonder why. Maybe because the students aren’t paying the actual cost of their education in any way, shape, or form.

                    1. I don’t know Nikki, but that is their business not ours. I am not going to assume that they are stupid or uninformed just because they make a choice different from the one I would make.

              2. Why are you so convinced you know better what is good for them?

                Where did I said I did? I just stated a fact, dude.

                1. It is not a fact HM. It is your opinion. You think it is a waste of money. They disagree. It is a subjective question. They like their football program. Who are you or I to say they are wrong?

                  1. You think it is a waste of money.

                    So shadow-boxing is your preferred sport, I take it.

                    What’s my favorite color?

                    1. Okay HM. If you don’t think it is a waste of money, I guess I don’t understand your point. Isn’t that what you were saying? If not, my apologizes for misunderstanding you, but please tell me what your point is because I am not understanding it.

                    2. You claimed the Harvard/Yale game is a “fund raising vehicle”, I pointed out that it certainly is not. It is an expense. I agree with you that schools have a right to spend their funds as they see fit. Athletics are popular, both with students and alumni. Athletic programs are more properly viewed as expenses to improve the quality of campus life, and, if the team is good, marketing.

                    3. HM,

                      My wife works in this field and I can say with complete confidence that Harvard and Yale view their football teams and that game as a fund raising vehicle. Maybe they are delusional but I think it is more likely that there is more to it that what you say.

                      These programs are marketing tools. They are used to market the school to prospective students and to keep alumni connected to the school. I don’t think their existence is per say irrational or bad for the schools at large.

                    4. If you mean that homecoming is the time when schools bug their alumni for money, then, yes, the game is a fund raising vehicle. But the proceeds of selling tickets to the game etc. are far from enough to cover the cost of the event. The games themselves aren’t profitable.

                      I agree wholeheartedly with your second point. In addition, they are fun. Young men and women, in general, enjoy using their bodies in strenuous, physical activity. This activity can take place in a dorm room or on a soccer field. Are we planning on returning to the Scholastic model of university, where students, when not attending lectures, are cloistered as monastics in cells? Spending money on an activity a large portion of the student body enjoys doesn’t seem wasteful to me.

              3. You guys hate sports being a part of the university system.

                Again, where did I say that? Especially considering the fact that I spent the morning at my institution’s fitness center. Indeed, if I were provost for a day, I would make participation in athletics a mandatory part of the curriculum. …In copora sano, and all that jazz.

                1. in corpore sano. Third declension neuter ablative.

    2. John, what about all of us taxpayers who didn’t go to the state U?

      Why do we have to pay for marketing an institution that we didn’t attend and didn’t want to attend?

      1. I feel for you. Your problem however is with state universities in general not with the sports programs. You hate funding the sports program. Okay. I bet there are a lot of other things going on there that you dislike just as much or more and you are forced to pay for those as well.

        Your problem is that you don’t like your tax money going to support something you don’t like or don’t use. The answer to that concern is for the state to stop funding colleges altogether not kill this or that part of its colleges to please you.

    3. Sports programs are nothing but marketing. They act to create a sense of identity and to link alumni back to the school. Get rid of college sports programs and people would feel much less attached to their former college and would be much less likely to give money.

      It’s almost as if you didn’t even read the article and the link to the story that mentioned a study showing this simply is not true and are instead just pulling stuff out of your ass. Unless, of course, you SF’ed the link that backs up your asssertion, in which case I would ask that you repost the link so we can all get a good look at where your data on sports programs and alumni donations are coming from. (If you’re just pulling it out of your ass, don’t bother with the link.)

      1. That is what one study says. There is nothing that says it si definitive. Again, it is none of my business how colleges choose to market themselves. And I am taking the word of the people who work in the field over Nick and some cherry picked study.

        I don’t care how colleges choose to market themselves. If it doesn’t work that is their problem. And to the extent my tax money is being wasted on such things, the athletic program is about one million in the list of ten million things that my tax money is being wasted on. If you want to end state funding of universities altogether or restrict to to include technical and trade fields only, you have my support. If we are going to have them as they are, however, I really could not care less if they want to run a football team as a marketing campaign.

        1. There is also the list I linked to above (w/ caveats I noted). You can’t just say “oh that’s just one study” and not provide a counter example of your own. Or, at least, you can’t do that and argue from a very strong position.

          1. Your list is all small schools. Big schools face a different set of problems. It is a lot harder to engender long term loyalty and identity in a school of 50,000 students than it is in a small liberal arts or technical college of a few hundred or thousand students.

            1. But the fact that the top 10 list of most loyal alumni almost all come from small schools at least suggests the possibility that big schools are not getting a very big advantage from their athletic departments.

  2. RK school conf total revenue total expenses total subsidy % subsidy
    12 Penn State Big Ten $117,590,990 $117,440,639 $0 0.00

    My school’s libertarian credentials are safe!

    1. And 4/7 teams with zero subsidy are Big Ten. That includes…Purdue? 45th in total revenue. I would not have guessed that.

    2. My school’s libertarian credentials are safe!

      Unless something has radically changed in the last 27 years, a few hours sitting on the steps of Old Main would discredit that statement. 😉

      1. I will continue to believe that everything I like is holy and pure so long as it is #winning.

      2. Unless something has radically changed in the last 27 years, a few hours sitting on the steps of Old Main would discredit that statement. 😉

        Or read the drek that pops up every now and then in Alumni Association newsletters or e-mails about lobbying the state government for more money.

    3. My school’s libertarian credentials are safe!

      Ahhh, my sarcasm detector is working.

  3. This is eye-roll inducing naive. If the counterfactual is “how much would the college’s budget be different without college sports?” then this silly counting exercise will miss: 1. additional alumni giving to the college because of successful sports programs; 2. additional merchandise sales and licensing for the college due to the reputation of the school’s sports programs; and 3. the degree to which the school can mark-up tuition because students have an expressed willingness-to-pay for sports programs.

    College sports may be a boondoggle, but this is a really poor argument why.

    1. Yes it is. Even if the budgets were larger, what reason is there to believe that the money would go to anything more worthwhile than college sports? Which does more harm to society and rips off students more, the Wisconsin football program or its Woman’s Studies department?

      And lets not forget, when Reason isn’t talking about the horrors of spending money on college sports, they are demanding a minimum wage and cash payments to college athletes. These programs apparently manage to both lose money and rip off the taxpayer and make millions on the back of exploited college athletes.

      1. These programs apparently manage to both lose money and rip off the taxpayer and make millions on the back of exploited college athletes.

        Is it supposed to be impossible, or even difficult, for a single entity to exploit multiple other entities?

        1. If the program is a money loser that needs taxpayer support, then it isn’t ripping off its workers. The proposition that they are exploiting the players depends upon the assumption that the programs are making millions off their efforts. Clearly they are not or they wouldn’t need taxpayer subsidies.

          1. The people working in the athletics program are still exploiting the kids. There are people making millions off it.

            1. No one makes the athletes take the deal. People who voluntarily accept an offer are by definition not being exploited. To say they are is to embrace the Marxist view of the world. The Universities don’t owe those athletes anything and the athletes don’t owe the universities going there. If the athletes don’t think playing college sports for tuition and room and board is a good deal, they are free to decline the offer. Indeed, many of them do. Every year the best baseball prospects turn down college offers to go play pro ball and other students do the same to take academic scholarships or not go to college at all.

              1. So why aren’t they allowed to unionize?

                The NCAA is a true monopoly, aided and abetted by the government. There is no free market in college sports.

                1. The NCAA is a cartel. No question about that. Since when are cartels bad and since when do Libertarians endorse anti-trust law? I am aware of no other context where libertarians endorse anti trust law.

                  Cartels sort themselves.out. The NCAA may have a monopoly on playing football directly out of high school, but they don’t have a monopoly on every life option. If you don’t like their deal, don’t play football and play baseball instead. A lot of athletes do. Every year top football prospects turn down the NCAA to accept better offers from professional baseball. If you don’t like it that talented basketball and football players cannot go pro out of high school, then your problem is with the NBA and the NFL not the NCAA. But the NFL and NBA have no more obligation to hire athletes out of high school than the NCAA does.

                  I don’t support anti-trust law and think cartels are of limited value and nothing but free association anyway. So, I don’t give a shit that the NCAA is a cartel with a salary cap.

                  And I would give anything to see college athletes try and unionize. I want to see Northwestern’s unionized football team take on Ohio State’s non union one. It would give America a first hand education in the folly of unionism. It would be like Toyota playing GM in football.

                  1. There is a distinct difference between anti-trust legislation and the removal of the regulatory environment that enables the NCAA to engage in their cartel-like behavior.

                    And for the record, the NLRB shot down the Northwestern union attempt in a blatant action designed to protect the NCAA.

                    1. Lee,

                      “Removal of the regulatory environment” is just a fancy way of saying “apply anti-trust law to the NCAA”. There is nothing about the regulatory environment that enables the NCAA to do what it does other than it not applying anti-trust law and forcing them to stop it.

                      And for the record, the NLRB shot down the Northwestern union attempt in a blatant action designed to protect the NCAA.

                      Yes. They ruled the players were not employees. I don’t know enough about Union law to comment on the correctness of that decision. Regardless, I am not bothered by it. Again, the players are free to leave if they don’t like the deal Northwestern is giving them.

                  2. Libertarians aren’t fans of anti-trust law. But most of them also aren’t fans of the ridiculously tilted playing field where a few select entities are exempt from those generally applicable laws, and don’t regard the cartels that form in that kind of regulatory environment as representative of free association.

                    1. Nikki,

                      How are cartels not a form of free association? Lets say you and I each run businesses selling the same or similar products and services and we agree not to poach each others’ employees. That is a cartel. Why are we not free to do that? If the employees don’t like the deal we are giving them, they are free to quit. They are free to work anywhere that will hire them and you and I are free to agree about whom we each will hire.

                      If the schools that are members of the NCAA want to all agree to only pay their athletes in kind through tuition and room and board, they should be free to do that just like the athletes should be free to either accept or decline the deal. The fact that the field is “tilted” towards the NCAA is of no concern. To say it is is to engage in Marxist bullshit. No one owes you a level field. Sometimes employers have the advantage, sometimes employees do. That is how life works.

                    2. Show me a cartel that operates without taking advantage of a cumbersome and prohibitive regulatory environment and I will agree that it’s free association.

                      Things like the AMA, drug cartels, and the NCAA/professional sports pipeline are not examples of this.

                    3. Show me a cartel that operates without taking advantage of a cumbersome and prohibitive regulatory environment

                      What regulatory environment? Show me what regulations allow the NCAA to form a cartel? You guys keep saying that but you never explain what that means. There is no regulation that says great athletes have to go to college or can’t do something else besides be athletes. And there is no regulation that stops people from forming minor leagues if they wanted to. Indeed, some top basketball players have started going to Europe to play out of high school rather than going to college.

                      The NCAA offers people a chance to play sports in return for free tuition and room and board. They are under no obligation to offer anything more and the players are under no obligation to accept the deal. Clearly, the players think it is a good deal or they wouldn’t accept. You have no right to intervene and demand they get a better deal anymore than you should be able to demand the terms of any other voluntary association be changed to fit your tastes.

      2. Which does more harm to society and rips off students more, the Wisconsin football program or its Woman’s Studies department?

        The way ‘green’ subsidies and projects are adopted and undertaken at universities and kids are given worthless degrees in the study of renewables, I’d put the climate ecology movement *way* ahead of sports in terms of ‘harms society and rips off students’.

        1. Very true. However much you hate athletics, it is well down the list of “stupid and harmful things” universities spend money on”.

    2. 3. the degree to which the school can mark-up tuition because students have an expressed willingness-to-pay for sports programs.

      Surely this point will also be used to defend X Studies departments and Queer Diversity Coordinators as good investments next, right?

      1. Sure it would. And while I don’t like those departments, there are alternative schools that don’t have such. If you are that angry about it, go to Liberty University or some school that doesn’t have such. If you don’t like big time college sports, go to a Division III school that doesn’t give scholarships and runs what amounts to club sports.

      2. The market works great at giving consumers what they want, except for higher education?

    3. 3. the degree to which the school can mark-up tuition because students have an expressed willingness-to-pay for sports programs

      Fine, then schools should be happy to list the sports subsidy separately on the tuition bill.

      1. They do. It is called a “student activity fee”.

        1. I was never told that went to sports. I was told it was for clubs and special events.

          1. It does. And I bet somewhere in the fine print it told you so. Regardless, you know now.

            1. OK, thanks for educating me in the way my school – which you don’t know – operated 20 years ago.

          2. Student fees go to maintaining athletic facilities open for student use which fall under the athletic department’s budget. Also students get free or extremely low cost tickets to games (because the school wants a raucous student section).

      2. Let me know next time you buy a new car if the dealer tells you how much of your purchase price “subsidizes” the marketing department, WTF that means.

      3. Fine, then schools should be happy to list the sports subsidy separately on the tuition bill.

        I’d love that… as long as they break it down by sport.

        Men’s football and basketball would show a profit at over half of Division 1 programs- It’s every other sport that is being subsidized. The subsidies are for Women’s sports- due to Title IX

        No more intercollegiate women’s sports at all. Also, no Swimming. no Diving. no Track and Field. no Gymnastics. No Lacrosse, Soccer, Tennis, Baseball, Softball, Hockey, or Wrestling (pretty much dead already due to Title IX), either.

  4. Fuck the NCAA.

    I have been forced to pay for a new stadium for the goph football team because I was told that it would be so awesome to have an “on campus” vibe. This despite the fact that the old Metrodome was closer to many dorms than the new stadium is.

    For the last year they have been telling me that we HAVE to build a new training facility for $113M or the Gophs will never compete.

    Why not just admit they are farm clubs and have the NFL, NBA and MLB run them? If a school wants to do a promotional tie in, let them but fuck this waste of my money.

    1. The Gophers are never going to compete in the Big Ten unless they completely professionalize like Ohio State, Michigan, and Michigan State. I guess they realize that.

      1. Yup. That is exactly what the sport talk radio guys were saying.

        If we want to compete we have to waste just as much money on sports as those other guys are. And why don’t you want to do that? Are you some sort of pencil necked dweeb with a small cock?

        1. I mean, I enjoy the fact that the Buckeyes are good, don’t get me wrong. But it’s ludicrous to waste so much money on making them so.

    2. The Gophers are seizuring the day! Pretty soon, they’ll have a fb team to Kill for.

  5. Fucking America-hating cosmotarians!

    Why are you out to destroy everything good and pure about this great land, Gillespie?

    1. WHYCOME THEM TOO GUD FER FOOTBAWL

  6. Why do we have to pay for marketing an institution that we didn’t attend and didn’t want to attend?

    Listen, those college administrators know what they’re doing. They have advanced degrees. What makes you think you know better than they do how your money should be spent?

    1. Maybe the solution is to not fund the institution at all? That sounds a lot better than bitching and moaning about this or that use of the money.

      For the 15th time, the issue is state funding not athletics.

  7. My alma mater’s basketball team has suddenly and suspiciously gotten good (suddenly, as in the last 10 years or so). That’s why I don’t give them any money anymore. Though I do enough seeing them in the tournament for one game each year.

    It’s a private school, though. Nobody’s being forced at gunpoint to give them a good team.

  8. Fuck the NCAA.

    This, 0n stilts.

    1. You know Brooks, there is an off button and channel changing button on your TV remote.

  9. Is there an off button for the tax support schools in the NCAA cartel receive?

    Inquiring minds, et c…

    1. Sadly no. Of course your tax money goes to a lot of other things that are a lot worse.

  10. 1st line, 3rd paragraph, you appear to have a typo.

    “According to USA Today, which updates its figures every for state-assisted schools”

    Year? Week? Month? Full moon? Blood moon? Republican primary? Mayan year? Halloween on a Friday?

  11. My own undergraduate school, Rutgers, uses $38,000,000 in student fees and general revenue to cover fully 50 percent of an athletic program that includes a football coach who was suspended for pressuring an adjunct to change the final grade of a start recruit.

    About 15 years ago there was some talk about Rutgers dropping down to 1AA and competing in the Patriot League (think Lehigh, etc.). Would have made it easier for the football program but allowed women’s basketball to stay at the same level. Then Schiano started winning games.

    1. And Rutgers isn’t the only university in New Jersey or the only state university. If it having an athletic department bothers you, don’t go there. There are schools, both state and private, in New Jersey that do not have DI athletic programs. If it bothers you but the advantages of attending there are greater than the perceived disadvantages of paying for the athletic department, you still got a good deal. It wasn’t the best deal but sometimes life is like that. No school or bargain is ever perfect.

    2. And now that will never happen because that pile of Big Ten money is just too sweet. Though I wonder what the rest of the Big Ten will do if Rutgers doesn’t deliver the NYC TV market, which is absolutely the only reason they were invited to join.

      1. Didn’t realize that about the TV market. That seems to be remarkably uninformed on the part of the Big Ten. NYC is a pro town as far as I can tell. Even when I lived in the area, the only college stuff that generated much excitement was the Big East BB Tournament and most of that was brought in by the schools themselves. The city, as a whole, doesn’t care about their own colleges so I can’t imagine Rutgers generating much excitement. Nine pro teams doesn’t leave much room for colleges.

        It’s the opposite of the problem North Carolina NBA franchises have.

        1. The city, as a whole, doesn’t care about their own colleges

          The city doesn’t have its own colleges. Temple, Army, and Rutgers are the only FBS programs within two hours of Midtown; the first is in Philadelphia and therefore disqualified and the second won’t be a major player in college football until President Trump reinstitutes the draft after starting a war with all of Latin America.

          Realistically it’s Rutgers or remote, and the market has historically cared more about the latter.

          1. The city doesn’t have its own colleges

            I was thinking beyond football so, St. John’s, Wagner, Fordham, et al. But even there, they don’t generate much of a following.

        2. NYC is a pro town as far as I can tell

          That is the argument that a lot of people made. The Big Ten made a bet, not so much on Rutgers itself being popular in NYC, but in the Big Ten being popular in NYC.

          This really isn’t about the number of people that watch a game, either. It’s about getting enough people that want the Big Ten network that local cable providers include it in their regular packages. If they do that, the Big Ten gets money regardless of who tunes in to the actual games. And it’s a sizable pot of money. So it doesn’t have to be Rutgers fans, it can be alums of Penn State, Ohio State, Michigan, etc., living in the NYC area, that put enough pressure on the NYC cable providers. Rutgers, given its proximity to NYC, raises the visibility of the Big Ten as a whole. That’s the bet, anyway.

          1. That makes a little more sense. But wouldn’t the Penn State, Ohio State etc. fans be demanding the network regardless of Rutgers’ status.

            1. I think they already have. BTN has been basic cable for Optimum, FiOS, and Comcast since well before RU’s jump AFAIK (I’m positive on the latter two, not sure about the first).

      2. If ABC/ESPN’s scheduling is any indication, they’ve already owned the NYC market for at least the last two decades. Poaching RU is a defensive action.

        NYC is an easy market: win and people pay attention. RU had two good seasons and managed to become top billing on the NYC sports scene for a bit. If the B1G cared that much they’d be pooling resources to convince Chip Kelly to take over for Flood and turn the Knights into a proper draw.

        1. Rutgers has always been a sleeping giant in college football. There are a huge number of great high school football players in New Jersey and Rutgers is the only DI program in the state. If Rutgers could ever dominate New Jersey recruiting the way other bit state universities dominate home state recruiting, Rutgers would be a very good program.

          The problem is Rutgers can’t seem to do that even after joining the Big 10. I guess New Jersey sucks so bad that no program or coach is going to keep top players from leaving the state at the first opportunity.

          1. Agreed, but there’s a couple of cultural issues stopping them. NJ HS football talent is concentrated in the parochial leagues and their top recruits have historically made a bee line for ND or BC. Also, because of the constant shittiness of RU Football over the years they’re simply not looked at as major college football. Every single person I know roots for a “national program” in addition to Rutgers, and I’m sure that goes for the recruits and coaches as well. It’s not surprising to see a blue chip recruit end up at Miami, Syracuse, or Michigan over RU even though you can me the argument that RU has been better than all 3 over the last decade-plus.

            1. Back in the day Nebraska used to get a ton of great players from New Jersey. I think some of what hurts Rutgers is its proximity to New York. A lot of parents want their kids to go to a college town like Happy Valley or South Bend and away from the temptations and environment of the big city.

              Also, Rutgers doesn’t have the alumni base within New Jersey that a big state school in the South or Midwest does in their home states. If you go to Dallas, a huge number of people went to UT or A&M. You go to Kansas City and a huge number of people went to KU or MU. You go to New Jersey and the percentage of Rutgers alums is much smaller. As a result, you get a lot of top recruits whose families have ties to other schools.

              College sports are just not as big and the ties to the local state university not as strong in the Northeast as they are elsewhere. I graduated from high school in Oklahoma and I would say 80% or more of my high school class had family ties to one or both of the mainline state schools. My wife graduated from high school in Boston. I can’t think of a single person she went to high school with who has any ties to UMASS. And only ten or fifteen percent have ties to BC, which is the big local university. It is just a different culture.

              1. When I was looking at colleges my Dad specifically recommended avoiding Rutgers just based on location. Same thing with Temple. As I had no real reason to want to go to either, I never even looked.

                Rutger’s biggest issue with regards to recruiting is that historically their football program has been a dumpster fire. They had a few good years in the Big East in the past decade but that’s not enough to consistently attract the best talent.

          2. There are a huge number of great high school football players in New Jersey and Rutgers is the only DI program in the state. If Rutgers could ever dominate New Jersey recruiting the way other bit state universities dominate home state recruiting, Rutgers would be a very good program.

            Yeah, about that

            😉

            1. That is awesome. And yeah., before all of the child sodomy stuff, Penn State was the official college football program of New Jersey just like Syracuse was the official college basketball program of the NYC area.

              1. And I think they are on their way back. I’m not 100% sold on the current staff (though I still think Franklin was a good hire), but they have been doing well on the recruiting trail in NJ and MD/NOVA.

  12. I’m skeptical. The NFL manages to make billions but colleges through ticket sales and TV contracts and players who make nothing can’t even stay in the black. Are we sure the money used in the program isn’t coming out of the general pot of money that the program contributes too.

    1. The other thing to remember is colleges have an incentive to plead poverty as a way of getting donors and legislators to give more money. The last thing a college wants to do is tell everyone how rich it is. Given that fact, you can’t exactly take their financial claims at face value.

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