Priorities serve as a guideline as to what is truly important. A new study complied by the Delta Cost Project at American Institutes for Research, begs to ask the question are priorities out of line on college campuses.
Research shows some staggering disparities when it comes to the amount spent on athletics per athlete compared to the amount spent on academics per student.
Annual spending on sports by public universities in big time conferences has surpassed $100 thousand dollars per athlete. That is six to 12 times the amount those same universities spend per student on academics.
The largest gap by far is in the Southeastern Conference. Median athletic spending in the SEC totaled nearly $164,000 pr athlete in 2010.
These numbers compiled in 2010 came at the same time state funding for higher education continued to fall and tuition continued to climb.
The study also addresses a common belief that college sports are a financial boon to colleges and universities. The report calls that thinking "generally misguided." It says, "although some big time college sports athletic departments are self supporting, and some specific sports may be profitable enough to help support other campus sports programs, more often than not, the colleges and universities are subsidizing athletics, not the other way around."
The study is out just ahead of the NCAA's annual meeting in Texas.