College sports are big business, but just how big? In the SEC, on average, schools spend 12 times as much per individual athlete as they do per individual student. Not on the athletes, of course, just around them. There are priorities here. And for most schools, athletic revenue doesn’t come close to covering these expenses, requiring universities to dip into general funds to keep their sports programs humming.
As university presidents meet in Texas for their annual conference, the Delta Cost Project at American Institutes for Research today released a study entitled Academic Spending Versus Athletic Spending: Who Wins? That study can be found below, but the shortest answer is: the coaches.
These are the figures that everyone’s going to be talking about: how much the athletic conferences spend on their athletes versus their students. (A note on the data. Figures are from 2010, the last year available. Numbers are conference averages and not broken down by individual institutions. Only public universities’ spending is available.)
This is a good graph telling an important story: