Cost of College Sports
You look across Beaver Stadium only seeing blue and white shapes making up over 100,000 people. Everyone is gathered together witnessing their team conquer. You scream and jump with excitement as you hear echoes of cheering classmates.
College sports increase school spirit and bring students together like Division I football at Pennsylvania State University. Although, if your priority is to attend a college with a top football team, you will be paying the price. USA Today Newspaper analyzed the 119 Football Bowl Subdivision athletic programs in 2010 which revealed that 60% of their income came from the universities’ general fund and/or student fees. These colleges financially focus on their athletic programs over departments that cater to other groups of the student body. It should not be customary for schools to devote large percentages of funding to an athletic program. Student fees and tuition are skyrocketing and students are taking the fall for it. The excessive amount of funding that colleges give their athletics must be regulated.
Firstly, it is becoming the norm for top colleges and universities to invest large portions of their budget towards athletics compared to other academic programs. Athletic costs increased at least twice as fast as academic spending, on a per-capita basis across each of the three Division I subdivisions. This results in these colleges not being able to advance other departments for their student body. A USA Today article states that Northern Kentucky University can’t afford a new nursing center, but it can expand to Division I sports. This shows how schools need to stop neglecting other areas of their institute that caters to different groups of the student body.
Next, students are paying directly for their college’s athletics’ budget. Georgia State’s attendance to football games last year as one of the 10 worst in their level. However, the 32,000 students are still required to pay student fees which have totaled $90 million in the past five years. Students who attend colleges with top sport teams also pay higher tuition to help fund shortages in the athletics departments. It isn’t surprising to hear that tuition at state universities across the nation have risen about 30 percent since 2000. However, it was shocking to learn that states with strong college football programs have increased tuition around 55 to 65% since then.
Lastly, when families pay the bills to their university they don’t know how much of their money is funding sports. At many universities, when students register for classes, there is an item on their bills listed as “Activity Fees.” Students assume that this for their use of recreational sports; not towards the athletic department. In the last NCAA financial survey for Division I football schools, the money raised from student fees averaged $1,196,000 per athletic program, and was up to 60% of total revenue. This excessive and hidden amount of funding that schools provide for their athletic programs must be made known.
To resolve the extreme cost of college sports for students, colleges must find alternative ways to provide funding for their athletic programs. Moreover, these solutions must allow students to not have to finically support their school’s athletic programs while the sport teams are still being taking care of financially. Commercial funding is a way for top sport colleges to gain marketing revenues, promotions, and sales from professional agencies like the IMG College, Learfield Sports, and ISP. These agencies guarantee athletics departments millions of dollars in addition to selling the university’s sports marketing inventory to corporate sponsors and broadcast partners.
The great thing about commercial funding is that it will decrease college’s needs to take money from their students. In 2009, Ohio State University signed a deal with IMG, guaranteeing Ohio’s athletics department $11 million a year for 10 years in marketing revenue. That same year, when Ohio State’s $30 million fundraising effort to renovate the school’s main library needed help, the athletic department stepped up with a $4 million pledge to complete the drive. This rare event where an athletic department has money to share with the academics on campus was resulted from the gain of commercial funding.
Although commercial funding is a great solution for decreasing cost of athletic programs for students, it can make athletes think their sport obligations are superior to their academic duties. This is because college athletes are indirectly getting paid by professional agencies. Duke University offered a testament to the struggle of balancing responsibilities for revenue-producing athletes in 2008. The results explained how the pressures associated with athletes competing in highly commercialized sports were identified as threats to the university’s ability to maintain their connection to academics.
Lastly, efforts to adopt restraints on the use of student fees is another solution taking place. Responding to concerns that many of the state’s public universities were putting too much of a financial strain on students, the governor of Virginia signed into law a bill that set limits on the percentage of athletics budgets that can be funded through student fees this year. Thus, effective jobs at reducing the cost of college sports for students by using commercial funding and directly putting a cap on student fees are occurring.
Athletic departments at big universities receive too much money from their school and students. The system must be regulated for the sake of their student’s financial regards. To find a solution to help highly populated state schools will have a greatest impact on the most people. Commercial funding has been shown to be a successful resolution to financially aid Division I sports and has allowed student fees to decrease. Even though it puts stress on the athletes and college, college students will be able to enjoy sports games with not having to worry about how much they are paying.