Spending on Sports Is Hardly Worth It

Spending on Sports Is Hardly Worth It

So this probably isn't going to make anyone forget about the bizarro, Catfish-meets-Rudy saga of Manti T'eo's fake girlfriend. But while we're all on the topic of college sports scandals, I thought I'd briefly draw your attention to a problem that will still be with us long after we've all stopped obsessing about hoax Twitter feeds. 


That would be the outrageous growth of university athletics budgets, which is costing schools -- and taxpayers -- millions of dollars every year. As researchers at The Delta Cost Project show in a new issue brief this month, among schools at the top-ranks of college sports, institutional spending per athlete swelled 61 percent between 2005 and 2010. And that may be the least worrisome part of the trend. 


Even among the most visible sports schools, very few athletic departments earn enough from ticket sales, TV deals, conference payouts, and their other various revenue streams to break even. Even in the top-tier Football Bowl Subdivision -- home to BCS powerhouses like Alabama and Ohio State -- less than a quarter of 97 schools made more than they spent on sports in any given year between 2005 and 2010. But at least the big boys manage to cover most of their own expenses.

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