غير مصنف

This is how much it costs for colleges to get to the Final Four

[ad_1]

Over the past few weeks, everyone has gotten a chance to witness the basketball skills required to make it to the Final Four.

Now, as Saturday’s tip-off approaches, it’s time to get a sense of the financial prowess it takes to rise to the top in college sports. Michigan State University, Auburn, the University of Virginia and Texas Tech will compete for the championship.

Major college sports programs, including the four teams playing this weekend, work with tens of millions of dollars at minimum. Those funds flow to the schools’ athletic programs through many sources, including media deals, donors, ticket sales, corporate advertising partnerships and in some cases, students and the broader university coffers. And the money is used on a variety of expenses, ranging from coaches’ compensation to recruiting to facilities to scholarships for athletes.

“There is more money than ever being generated by college sports and there’s just that basic question of where that money is going,” said Amy Perko, the chief executive officer of the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics, which tracks money in college sports. “Are the financial priorities for spending appropriate and does there need to be a different allocation of the revenues?”

Thanks to the Knight Commission’s data, you can get a sense of the priorities of the Final Four teams below and make that judgment for yourself.

The billions that flow through universities, college sports conferences and broadcast networks thanks to college sports comes amid a backdrop of funding challenges facing colleges, particularly state schools. Though in some states, funding for public colleges has ticked up over the past few years, it largely hasn’t returned to pre-recession levels. That’s pushed some colleges to raise tuition to cover the lost funds.

“It’s important to have these critical conversations about is there money spent on these athletic programs that could be going to non-athletic sources?” said Sara Garcia, senior research and advocacy manager for postsecondary education at the Center for American Progress, a left-leaning think tank. “You can’t really talk about the revenue generated by athletic programs without talking about broader higher education problems.”

The financial relationships between colleges and their athletic departments vary and are complicated. The majority of colleges support their sports teams financially, but many of the best-known — and most lucrative — college sports programs are self-sustaining, meaning they generate their own revenue and use that money on their own expenses. In even fewer cases, the athletic programs make enough money to send some to their broader university.

Inside the finances of the Final Four teams
At Michigan State University, athletics are self-funded and the school uses no tuition or fees to support its athletic teams, Mark Haas, the school’s vice president for finance and treasurer, wrote in an emailed statement. In some years, the school’s athletic program has provided funding to its academic mission, Haas wrote.

Auburn’s athletic department is also self-sustaining and “strongly supports the university’s academic mission,” Preston Sparks, a university spokesman, wrote in an email. That includes efforts like ensuring that student-athletes maintain high academic progress rates, scholarships for first-generation students established by both the school’s football and basketball coach and a $1.5 million pledge from the athletic department for a new marching band facility, Sparks wrote.

University of Virginia’s athletic department is also self-sustaining and receives no funding from the state, Anthony de Bruyn, a spokesman for the school, wrote in an email. Though students do help support the school’s sports programs through fees, that fee level has been frozen since fiscal year 2011 and students get free admission to all sporting events.

“Athletics is an important part of the University of Virginia experience,” de Bruyn wrote. “Athletics and athletic contests are long-standing conveners and community builders.”

Weaning Texas Tech athletics off institutional funds
When Lawrence Schovanec began his tenure as president of Texas Tech in 2016, he tasked the school’s chief financial officer and other officials with making the university’s athletic department self-sustaining, he said in an interview. At the time, the athletic department at Texas Tech, which is making its first Final Four appearance this year, received about $1 million per year from the university, which came from money the school earned on auxiliary services like housing and hospitality.

“We didn’t want any faculty member thinking that resources that may go to the academic enterprise may be diminished through the support of athletics,” Schovanec said of his decision to push athletics to be self-sustaining.

Now, the athletic department covers its own expenses with its own revenue. Students do pay athletic fees — about four percent of the department’s revenue, according to the Knight Commission — but that covers their admission to athletic events, Schovanec said.

Schovanec is proud of Tech’s ability to wean its athletic department off institutional funding, but he recognizes that not all college athletic programs are in a position to take that step. Like in everything, there are haves and have-nots in college sports. The colleges in the major conferences, known as the Power Five, earn the most from media deals and other revenue sources, but of course spending is often required to be able to compete at that level.

“Being in a Power Five conference makes a world of difference in terms of what you can do and how it lessens the burden of athletics on the general academic enterprise,” Schovanec said.

Schovanec, who rose from a math professor to the school’s provost — essentially chief academic officer — before becoming president, is committed to preventing athletics from being a drain on the school’s academic mission. Still, like many college leaders, he believes Texas Tech athletic programs benefit the school.

“How do you put a value on the marketing?” that comes with reaching the Final Four, he said. “My sister in Pasadena, California sent me a shot she took of the front page of the sports section in the New York Times on Sunday,” where Tech and the other Final Four teams were featured. “What’s that worth?”

It’s hard to say whether that attention will translate into concrete results, like a boost in applications to the school. There’s some evidence that visible sports appearances draw more applicants, though Tech didn’t see that effect when it made it to the Elite Eight for the first time last year, Schovanec said.

Regardless, Schovanec is pleased that Tech has made it this far with the smallest budget of the Final Four teams. “We get a lot from what we have,” he said. But the athletic department still isn’t making enough to send funds back to the school to directly support its academic mission.

“We’re not there yet,” Schovanec said.

[ad_2]

Source link

اظهر المزيد

مقالات ذات صلة

زر الذهاب إلى الأعلى