Show me the money

By Dina Usanovic

Universities across Ohio place a major emphasis on athletics with a major portion of their budget going to their athletic department. At face value, this does not sound like a huge issue- sports games are fun, sports bring a school’s community together, and it is important to nurture students’ passions other than academics. However, the “major portion of their budget” poses an important question: who is paying for these high-end facilities and games? 

In Cleveland State University’s case, the students pay. If this seems off-putting, it should. According to a presentation by Wright State, CSU pulls 73% out of the academic budget for athletics. More than half of the academic budget is being utilized for athletic functions and facilities. 

The average student- including students who do not play sports and students who do not attend any sports function- pays 8% into the athletic budget. While athletics might foster a sense of school spirit and improve enrollment and recruitment rates, it’s immoral to use a major portion of the budget set aside for academics to fund athletics. 

This is especially true when the university does not make virtually any portion of that money back. It takes approximately $13 million a year to fund athletics, and Cleveland State University only makes $4 million a year from athletics. There is a $9 million deficit each year. With 73% of the academic budget going to a department with a yearly $9 million deficit, it makes me wonder how much of the academic budget is lost yearly to sports. 

Students go to college for a degree. We go to college to learn how to turn our academic passions into careers. Sports are incredibly fun and entertaining, but is it worth it to possibly damage the university’s academic reputation?
To learn more about this major deficit at Cleveland State University and other colleges around Ohio, visit Wright State University’s ‘Presentation on Athletic Funding’, which can be found here.

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