Checking The Books: How Utah Colleges Are Subsidizing Their Athletic Departments | GMTM

Checking The Books: How Utah Colleges Are Subsidizing Their Athletic Departments

ByAndrew Pistone

Published on Fri Oct 29 2021

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2 min read

Checking The Books: How Utah Colleges Are Subsidizing Their Athletic Departments

In September, the Utah office of the State Auditor unveiled its findings related to athletic department revenue subsidization for colleges throughout the state. This type of deep dive investigation brings an interesting debate into question. It is to be expected that taxpayers and students are in some way contributing to an athletic department’s ability to function and thrive. The crux of the topic becomes, how much subsidization is enough, and is the taxpaying/tuition paying population interested in having their money fund a high percentage of its revenue stream?

There are a couple of different ways to look at it. Students who are talented and academically eligible can benefit from a higher level of funding through these channels; their merit on the field and in the classroom gives them that benefit. But what about students who aren’t interested in sports, and want to build a career in academia? Should they have to contribute funds to an area of the institution they might not care about?

According to the study, a college student in Utah pays $742 per year on average that finds its way towards their school’s athletic department. Additionally, in 2020, about 43

of Utah college sports revenue was supplied by tuition fees or waivers, and state taxpayers.

That’s not an insignificant percentage, but some feel like students(whether they’re personally gifted athletically or not), are fine with footing that much of the bill.

“Students are telling us that this is an important piece of their college experience. It’s probably one of the biggest things that engage the most amount of students, obviously besides academics and education,” said Amanda DeRito, who works in communications for the University of Utah. Via KUTV.com

State auditor John Dougall can understand this train of thought, but also brings another perspective to the table.

“...For some students it(funding a robust athletic department) might be very crucial, and for other students who are working and are trying to just put themselves through school, it may be an extravagance they can’t really afford,” he said. Via KUTV.com

It’s an interesting two-sided discussion, but the study appears to leave us with a conclusion that the gross amount of funding in the last eight years has increased. As with many things in life, the bills only will continue to grow higher—but the notion of whether this particular one should or should not will continue to be a hot theme.

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