How Much Does Our Football Program Cost?!?

The following item, which appeared in the Ohio Conference’s weekly communications to our members, highlights the value of getting “our” message out and not relying on our institutions and our administrations to be the only spokespersons on higher-ed-related legislation.

By the way, in typing the title of this post, I just realized that we routinely refer to intercollegiate athletics as “programs,” if they were equivalent to, rather than ancillary to, academic programs. That has the effect of making the costs seem routine, if not required, rather than discretionary or optional.


Last Sunday, March 30, the Dayton Daily News published this story about the price students at Ohio’s universities are paying to subsidize intercollegiate athletics.

Journalists at Dayton Daily were prompted to investigate this issue after reading our 2015 Ohio Higher Education Report and discovering that each university, save Ohio State, takes heavily from the academic side to pay for athletic programs that can’t sustain themselves.

The article revealed startling numbers of how much students will pay for – or how much debt they’ll accrue to pay for – athletics over a four-year college career.

For instance, each student at Miami will end up paying over $4,500 to subsidize their athletic programs and their new ice arena.

At BGSU, students will pay nearly $3,300 by the time they graduate, if they graduate in four years.

The article quoted the questions raised in our report:

“We have to ask ourselves if the athletic expenditures are worthwhile, especially when students are the ones footing a substantial part of the bill, probably largely unknown to them,” the report says. “This is an issue of priorities and whether we are willing to say it is acceptable for students to accumulate thousands in debt over a four-year period to pay for athletic programs that neither make money nor are self-sustaining.”


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