Universities Spend More on Athletes Than Education

by Gerri Willis

 

We talk a lot on this show about the problems facing college graduates. A lack of job opportunities is one, and debt is the second.

The average debt burden faced by newly graduated seniors is the highest it has ever been at $23,000. Add up all the student loan debt in the country and it's over $1 trillion.

One of the reasons is the pernicious inflation in college tuition and other costs. Inflation in public schools beats out broader economic inflation each and every year.

This past year it was 4.8%, and each and every year, schools add bells and whistles to compete for your college-bound son or daughter's tuition dollar. For example, the Olympic sized swimming pool, or the sushi bar in the lunchroom. It goes on and on. Spending rises, and tuition rises as well.      

To say that universities have their priorities screwed up is an understatement, especially when you consider a story in USA Today.  The paper reported that state universities competing in NCAA Division I sports spend as much as six times more per athlete than they spend to educate students.

Likely for the first time ever, per-athlete spending at these public schools topped $100,000. Per-athlete spending is rising twice as fast.

Here's the numbers: $92,000 in median per-athlete spending, and not even $14,000 per-student on instruction.

I'm all for sports, but let's face it. These teams are a money maker. Most of athletic budgets support multi-million pay packages for coaches, and hundreds of thousands for the coaching staff, while Little Johnny struggles to make tuition for another quarter.

The priorities are all wrong at the nation’s schools, which are sponsored by taxpayers after all.

It's time for reform.