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ERIC Number: ED536146
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Mar
Pages: 35
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
Funding the Arms Race: A Case Study of Student Athletic Fees
Denhart, Matthew; Ridpath, David
Center for College Affordability and Productivity (NJ1)
Intercollegiate athletics (ICA) is becoming an increasingly expensive venture at America's colleges and universities. Some big-time athletic powers have athletic budgets exceeding $100 million annually, and even schools with lesser reputations in the NCAA's Divisions II and III have had sharp increases in athletic budgets in recent years. Increasingly, ICA threatens to crowd out other higher education activities, including the core mission of teaching and research. As institutions dig into their own pockets to fund ICA programs not supported by ticket, logo, concession, broadcasting, parking revenues or private gifts, they are increasingly forced to rely directly on funds provided by student fees. The funding of ICA has historically been mired by secrecy and, arguably, deception. Schools have fought to keep the public from knowing the subsidy students pay, the salary of the football coach, some of the less than optimal practices used to maintain player eligibility, etc. This study focuses on student funding and how much students know about their own financial contribution to ICA--and whether they approve of it. The empirical section of the study focuses on one institution, Ohio University, and its students. Ohio University is in many ways a rather typical state university of around 20,000 students, of mid-quality and reputation, both with respects to academics and athletics. The study shows that the claims of proponents of big ICA spending often mislead the public, and that student enthusiasm for ICA is far less than claimed by supporters. To be sure, there is an issue of the representativeness of Ohio University and its students, and this study needs to be replicated and expanded to other institutions. The results, however, suggest the efforts of students, faculty and other educational reformers to rein-in ICA costs and increase transparency regarding spending are important and more necessary than ever. Appended are: (1) Survey Demographics; and (2) Survey Text. (Contains 16 charts and 18 footnotes.) [Introduction was written by Richard Vedder.]
Center for College Affordability and Productivity. 1055 Thomas Jefferson Street NW Suite L 26, Washington, DC 20007. Tel: 202-621-0536; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Center for College Affordability and Productivity (CCAP)
Identifiers - Location: Ohio