Subsidizing Athletics Remains Problematic for Colleges

A USA Today analysis of college athletics budgets found subsidies were reduced at five of 227 public NCAA Division I institutions between 2009-10 and 2012-13. The article states, “roughly one in three of the other 48 power-conference public schools have reduced subsidies for athletics while one in 13 of the non-power-conference schools have done so.”

The article highlights how some “power-conference” institutions have used increased revenue from media contracts to reduce student fees or other institutional subsidies to athletics. Institutions outside of the power conferences are unable to make similar changes due to generating less revenue. As stated: “Schools outside the power conferences have resisted these types of changes [as reducing student fees or institutional subsidies], in part, because they know their athletics departments will have a tough time generating enough new revenues to cover the increased costs. That will mean falling further away from the elites – or continuing to increase subsidies, either by making greater demands on debt-burdened students or on tight university budgets.”

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