A recent study from the Delta Cost Project reveals a shocking truth only known to those with eyes who have been paying a minimal amount of attention: Universities spend way more money on athletics than is justified.
Though big-revenue sports like collegiate football and basketball like to justify their existence by claiming to bring money into the institution (something the Knight Commission has conclusively and repeatedly demonstrated that this only true for the top 5-10 earners in football, and even fewer basketball programs), even if this was true, the disparities are still pretty insane.
For instance, in the football-crazed SEC, the average school spends a whopping median of $163, 931 per athlete. For those who are too far removed from their high school stats class, median means half of all spending is higher than this number, half below. I'll let you take a wild guess as to which side is populated by the football team and which by the women's rowing team.
Not only is this expenditure insane in-and-of-itself, it also represents 12.2 times as much money as these Universities spend on their students. You know, the people who are supposedly the reason the University exists in the first place.
What makes this even sadder is that the median spending on athletes vs the general student body is still over 3:1 in the FCS schools (formerly the I-AA). Because the other justification always given for this runaway spending is that a successful football/basketball program brings more students to the university. And maybe (and that's a strong maybe) this is true for the storied and legendary programs like Alabama or Notre Dame, but no one, and I mean no one, can even begin to make that claim for FCS schools. As someone who attended one, I can note that of the approximately 12,000 students at the University I attended for undergrad, a full 10-20 of them may have been fans of the school team.
And, of course, this is to say nothing of how all this money is spent without a single cent of it going to the athletes themselves. But this is America, and building multi-billion dollar institutions on the back of free labor provided by a mostly-Black workforce is one of our proudest national traditions...