Monday, April 4, 2016

How Much do State Universities Subsidize Athletics? Part 1 - Aggregate

Late last year, the Chronicle of Higher Education provided reported budget data for the period 2011 to 2014 more than 200 state universities which compete under the NCAA's Division 1. That data allows for some interesting analyses.

The graph at the top of this post shows how subsidies for athletics changed from 2011 to 2014 as a proportion of total state higher educational revenues (black line). The total state higher educational revenues come from data collected by the State Higher Educational Officers Association (specifically, Table 3 in this PDF, note 2010 is extrapolated).  The graph also shows how external funding of athletics across all of these 201 schools as a proportion of total state higher educational revenues.

The data shows that external funding of athletics in 2014 i\was about 4% of total state school educational revenue and the state subsidy was about 1.6%. Following the Chronicle, the "subsidy" is defined as the sum of institutional transfers to athletics plus student fees for athletics. If you add the two numbers together you'll get the total revenue for athletics. You can divide that by total state higher educational revenues across the 206 schools to get a sense of the comparative size of athletics of that total, which was about 5% in 2010 and about 5.6% in 2014.

Some additional data for 2014:
  • Total educational revenue = $136.7 billion
  • Total athletics spending = $7.5 billion
  • Subsidy of athletics = $2.2 billion
  • External funding of athletics = $5.5 billion
In a follow up post I will look at individual schools.


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