Let's face it. The biggest religions in America are the NFL and the NBA (
not necessarily in that order ).
This article has too many problems to cover in a 200 word post, so please read
the Delta Cost Project summary for the real story (which is, as we already knew,
small-time athletics is a drain, but big-time sports generates profits). The
writer couldn't even get the name of the institution that sponsored the
Delta Cost Project (it is the "American Institutes for Research" not the
American Institute for Research) right.
We need to remember that most student fees go to funding the "social"
aspect of a college education. They pay for the student association activities,
for music and drama programs, and even to expand the library offerings.
Athletics fees do the same thing, expanding the social aspect. They rarely
subsidize football or men's basketball, but they do heavily subsidize
track, softball, volleyball, and many other sports. They build and maintain
athletics facilities for people to enjoy games and work out. Students get
discounts on (or sometimes free) admissions to athletics event or the athletic
facilities. They help pay for many of the things that contribute to graduates
supporting their school financially or encouraging others to attend. While many
students don't care about these things, even more usually don't care
about other things that are funded by student fees. But just about all students
after graduating can claim to be an alumni of a school many people have heard
of--because of athletics. Utah's and BYU's currency as schools here in
the east is greatly augmented by what they have done particularly on the
football field and in the basketball arena over the years.
@ mikejohnson: You claim that "...the benefits [of athletics] to most
students significantly outweigh the costs." What are these benefits? And
what is their economic value? Would the money spent on athletics [even if it is
just a small amount] be better spent on actual educational experiences for the
For much of the period of data collection in the study, the years 2005 to 2010,
Utah Valley was in transition from NJCAA to NCAA Division I. They had added
several sports to qualify as a Division I program. They expanded scholarships.
They did rely very heavily on student fees to pay for their program. Large
numbers of students paying modest student fees (compared to most) can bring in
money.In the 2011 to 2012 year--the last year reported to the
Department of Education--UVU reported revenues of $2,867,696 for all men's
sports (basketball was about 40%), $2,575,229 for all women's sports, and
$2,446,315 for all revenues not associated with a sport or gender (student fees
would be a lot of this number). Total revenues were $7,889,240, which was also
the total expenses. So, they now rely on less than 31% of the required revenue
from student fees.I know some people don't like funding
athletics with student fees. But, I don't have a problem with it. It is a
small part of the overall cost of education and the benefits to most students
significantly outweigh the costs.
All the chart shows me is that the more important football is to the school, the
lower the so-called subsidy and that schools without football need the most
subsidy for the entire athletic program.Athletics are a part of the
student experience; at least that is the justification for using student fees.
They get voted in by the students themselves.Does football pay for
itself? Almost always. 869 schools reported they had football to the US
Department of Education about athletics last year. All schools except the
Service Academies are required to report the financial status of their athletic
departments. Using just football revenues and football expenses, 385 had more
revenues that expenses, 419 balanced, and 65 reported more expenses than
revenues (and thus had to rely on other sources such as student fees). Five of
Utah's 7 football playing schools had more revenues. Snow was one of those
with equal. Only Weber State reported more expenses than revenues last year.Of course, football programs rarely pay for the entire athletic program,
but for many schools they do subsidize other athletic programs. Donations for
all other purposes, including academics, is higher when there is a football
What is completely missing from this is what percentage of the schools overall
budget is spent on athletics. The amount of subsidy is relative to the size of
the program it is sponsoring. UVU has only a small subset of the athletics that
Utah has... and there for just because is subsidizes the budget at a higher rate
for athletics, that rate may still be a much smaller percentage of the overall
schools budget.There is no context to this report. This is like
saying families of 6 kids spend more on food than families of 2 kids. So what.
If the family of 6 is pulling in a deep six figure income - it means nothing.
Where as if the family of 2 were recent grads, the percentage of income spent on
food could be way higher than the family of 6 pays.So this is more
stats and reporting that tell you at best a partial story.... and most likely
not enough of the story to be meaningful.
I wonder if Deseret News could do a follow-up article on the cost of high school
athletics. I'd really like to know because so many people tell me that gate
receipts cover the costs. Perhaps we could see a sport by sport breakdown.
"In the state of Utah, Utah Valley University got 89 percent of its athletic
funding from subsidies — the second-highest subsidy amount among the 202
schools analyzed."To put this into perspective, it would be
helpful to know what fraction of UVU's budget is spent on athletics. In
other words, if athletics were eliminated completely, would it help the budget