Published: Sunday, Feb. 24 2013 12:00 a.m. MST
This is an important article. I wish the author would have gone further and
discussed the role played by student fees. At many universities, students vote
a fee on themselves to support athletics. Is this fee part of the subsidy
mentioned above or are those subsidies beyond the fee?
This reminds me of an SEC university with classrooms where the paint was peeling
off the walls and the bathroom fixtures were original 1911, yet the football
stadium was given a 25 million dollar overhaul.
College football and basketball programs in particular, have become such
important money and prestige generators that the educational institution is
becoming secondary. The joke at many large universities is that they are "a
football team with a school attached." The biggest problem is that the
revenue generated by sports programs, goes right back into the sports programs
(even the money losing programs) instead of anywhere near what should be the
priority of these institutions- education.
Review of sports spending is, of course important and WAY overdue.But, in order to make a genuine impact on college affordability, we need to
add a meaningful review of the outrageous proliferation of staff, faculty, and
liberal feelgood programs, as well as the deranged inflation of salaries and
perks.It is particularly important to closely examine the corporate
welfare costs associated with never-ending physical-plant enhancements,
especially since they always benefit staff and faculty, but rarely benefit the
students and their families, who, after all, pay the bills.
I'm not arguing that universities should be in the sports entertainment
business rather than the education business, but this article is a bit
misleading. For example, the article says "public universities now spend six
times as much to support student athletes as they spend to support the education
of their larger student bodies." Actually, six times more is spent on the
average student athlete (after factoring in coaches, facilities, etc.) than on a
non-athlete. Because the number of non-athletes dwarfs the number of athletes,
universities actually spend vastly more to support the education of their larger
student bodies than their athletes. According to the study (cited by
this article) 60% of all FBS football and basketball programs fully support
themselves, including all "big-time" programs. All of the
"big-spending" football programs (including all the PAC 12 programs)
fully support themselves. The sports that require outside support are sports
other than football and basketball.So it is disingenuous to imply
that Utah's football and basketball coaches' salaries are a financial
drain when those programs support themselves. If money is the real issue, then
the discussion should be whether all other sports should be discontinued.
I've thought this same thing for years, that tax or tuition dollars
shouldn't go to payfor sports, especially given that tuition isso high at the U.When ever I have mentioned this peoplehave
told me that sports pays for itselfthat it is a money maker. According
tothis article, this isn't true.If cutting back on sports
means we couldimprove academic opportunities and lowertuition, we
should cut back on sports.
When Ricks College became a 4-year university, they dropped inter-school
athletics. Many people were upset, but the educational atmosphere on campus
improved significantly. When Ricks made the transition, they called a number of
universities that traditionally recruited students at Ricks. When told that
BYU-I would not have inter-school sports, one of the university presidents said:
"That's the smartest thing you can do." I've never been able
to understand what having a football team has to do with education. Mostly,
it's an expensive distraction.
Your editorial made some interesting points. However it was odd when you listed
the schools in Utah you left out any mention of the school with the largest
football stadium,the largest basketball arena and probably the largest
athletic budget in the state. Even though this school is private the same kinds
of issues certainly apply. A passing acknowledgement of this school along with
the others in the state would have been appropriate.
I wouldn't even know about half the universities in this country if it
weren't for their athletic programs. It's great advertising and
advertising is expensive. The article does say that athletic success
doesn't increase enrollment, but schools will only enroll what they can
handle. I think the advertising athletics provide is valuable especially since
universities love to attract people from different parts of the country and
world. Another thing that might be getting left out is all the
merchandise revenue in bookstores and other stores that comes in because people
want to have their school colors to wear at games.
A review of sports spending is long overdue!. Unless a Universitiy's sports
progams can show that they are paying for themselves, they should NOT be
subsidized by other University funds. With the cost of Education being out of
control, a college degree in many fields is not worth the investment struggling
families put into it. Our Education system has evolved into an empire unto
itself and no longer serves the public good the way it once did. As much as I
love BYU and Utah and other Utah college sports, its time to put an end to this
madness of pouring funds into these athletic progams. Again, if the sports
progams can demonstrate that they cover their costs, fine, if not, its time to
lower the cost including salaries for coaches, facility expenditures and
Utah valley University seems to do ok with the largest student body in the state
and no football team.
@ vinny: When was the last time Harvard and Yale and Columbia had a great
football team. The best publicity is a great academic reputation; not a great
Yet the NCAA will disqualify a student athlete over a $5 gift. It's
hypocritical and the schools take complete advantage of the athletes who can
barely pay their rent or eat.
I think 1aggie makes a good point. Numbers can be skewed and "enhanced"
to reflect any point you want to make. This article makes it sound like you
could just chop off and end the sports programs at most major universities, and
that would solve ALL budget problems. I bet the truth is that you would hear a
lot of crying and moaning about all the lost revenue that leaves when the sports
leave. I would be in favor of universities not being held to regulations (title
IX), that stupidly require them to provide funding to athletics that cant
Athletics aside, higher education is a business and the business is not
JSB,I didn't say a "great" football team was needed for
advertising. As the study in this article indicated, more successful teams
didn't make much of a difference. Harvard, Columbia, and Yale all have
athletic programs but they are more well known for their academics, world
renowned in fact. I went to SUU for a couple of years and I there
aren't a ton of people who know it exists unless they live in Utah or if
their school plays them in sports. I'm just pointing out another benefit
of having athletic programs. There definitely need to be more checks and
balances in place. I know of one school where the principal took funding from
academics and put it toward a new turf football field. Things like that
shouldn't happen, but I don't agree with the polarized idea of getting
rid of athletics completely, which you seem to support.
Utah taxpayer funded schools should follow thelead of BYU Idaho.
Discontinue sports betweenschools and let sports be an activity for
recreationand fitness of the students at each school.Students
get into far too much debt to get acollege education, given this its time
totake a look at ways to cut costs.
The University of Utah wins a national championship yea hu.The
question is at what cost, perhaps instead it could had the best math department,
or even art department, and/or affordable tuition rates.We need to
rethink our priorities.
It is unfortunate that a discussion of this type always leaves out BYU because
they are a private institution. Surely, the students at BYU pay a lot of fees
along with tuition to support their athletic programs but the public at large
can never find out just how much. Utah actually did its students and the tax
paying public a big favor by joining the PAC 12 where student fees are some of
the lowest in the country due to large amounts of TV revenue. Utah's
student fees may actually decrease as the share of TV revenue from the PAC 12 is
fully implemented. As I have stated many times, the U of U is operated as a
public university but is is funded more like a private university. The state
legislature only allocates enough tax revenue to the U to cover 8% of its
operating expenses. The rest comes from private donations, tuition payments,
fees, the medical hospitals and clinics and federal grants.
Meckofahess,Almost all men's football and basketball programs
in the major athletic conferences support themselves. A recent study just
showed that the Utah football team not only supported itself but returned a
profit even higher than the football program at BYU. You suggested cutting out
all sports programs that cannot support themselves. At most schools that would
include the minor sports outside of football and basketball and most definately
all of the women's teams. Is that what you are really advocating? Just
have men's football and basketball teams because they can, at most schools,
be supported by ticket and concession sales and TV revenue? By the way, in
order to do that NCAA regulations and Title 9 rules and regulations would have
to be scrapped. The article and the editorial accompanying it in the Deseret
News is indeed misleading and needs to be rewritten with better researched and
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