In re: Does OSU spend too much on sports?

At $109,382,222 for the current year, Ohio State’s athletic budget is the largest in the nation and the biggest in the history of college sports. It allows the school to field 36 varsity teams in everything from baseball and soccer to riflery and synchronized swimming. The school spends about $110,000 on each of its 980 athletes, which is triple the amount the university spends per undergraduate on education.  Inside College Sports’ Biggest Money Machine – Wall Street Journal

Its no secret that Ohio loves its sports, and the Wall Street Journal compared the amount of money spent on sports at OSU which currently is both the biggest school (number of students) as well as having the largest athletic budget.  The athletic department is self funded and actually turns a profit due to the huge revenues basketball and football bring in.  Is it wrong for people to spend all this money while tuition for schools is rising and thousands struggle with staggering debt loads.

Its a complex issue of course, people are free to spend their money how they choose – but what kind of message is sent by a school that has crumbling dorms (no first hand knowledge here) for normal students but has for players “a lounge that has six flat-panel TVs, three videogame systems and a juice bar” for football players.  (Part of the issue is the blurring between student athlete and the pseudo-professional sports big time college sports have become)

I generally am of the view that athletics allow alumni to stay a lot closer to their schools and that the publicity sports bring to schools helps the academics in countless ways.   A few people on Columbus Underground discussed this article, and most of them seem upset that the author wrote it in a way that didn’t stress that sports was self funded (and threw in all the stuff about Ohio’s crumbling economy) See post here .  But there is definitely a bigger issue here, whether we will continue to allow sports at colleges (basketball and football) to separate towards professional sports in the way they are run and the money or if schools should remain academic institutions through and through – as an OSU fan I may be a bit biased on the issue as a win on Sat. sure makes for a great week.

 At Ohio State, “nonrevenue” sports such as men’s lacrosse and women’s track don’t have to worry about earning their funding. Excluding football and basketball, OSU’s other 34 teams generate about $1.5 million in revenue. Last year, for example, expenses for the women’s hockey team totaled a little over $1.2 million while the sport brought in just $1,642, all of it from arena concessions. Many sports, including rifle, pistol, and women’s fencing, don’t contribute any revenue at all. “I’m sure my scholarship is possible because of the football team,” says Lindsay Quintiliani, a sophomore goalie on the field hockey team….A few years ago, the [athletic] department contributed $5 million to help fund renovations to the campus’s main library.”

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One Response

  1. I went to Michigan undergrad and OSU for law school,always thot that the $$ spent on sports at both schools was wasted. Just not into it, nor into anyone else who was. Most law firms don’t even know hat OSU has a law school, but they all know about b-ball and f-ball. BFD.

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