College sports spending poses big risk to university budgets

Kylie Lacey's picture

College sports are becoming bigger financial risks for universities throughout the country, according to a report issued Friday from Moody's Investors Service.

A vast majority -- 90 percent -- of college sports programs operate at a loss and require subsidies from the colleges, Moody's noted. Between 2008 and 2012, university subsidies funneled to sports programs increased by a median of 25 percent, according to the report. During roughly the same period, state spending on higher education declined by 28 percent, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities concluded in March, often resulting in higher tuition.

A USA Today analysis published in July found that only 23 of 228 athletic departments at NCAA Division I public schools earned enough cash to cover their expenses in 2012. Schools spend more on each athlete than they do on each student, Think Progress reported in January, and money for sports teams is more likely to come from school subsidies if the program is not profitable.

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