November 17, 2012; Athens, GA, USA; A general view of the field prior to the game between the Georgia Bulldogs and the Georgia Southern Eagles at Sanford Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Only 20 NCAA Football Bowl Division programs cover expenses

The NCAA revealed today that only 20 Football Bowl Division schools generate enough revenue to cover expenses.

The average loss among schools in the five wealthiest conferences was $2.3 million in 2012 – 2013. But for the less fortunate FBD schools, the average is $17.6 million underwater.


Athletic programs not operating in the black receive subsidy from the college or university.

One trend is especially alarming: typical athletic department budgets rose faster than college and universities budgets.

“If the trend of athletic spending outpacing institutional spending continues, institutions will need to be able to justify that spend to the university community and the general public,” said NCAA Chief Financial Officer Kathleen McNeely.

That covers the obvious.

So, what level of subsidy is proper? How much is enough?

Is it appropriate to spend tax dollars to support the track team?

Is the funding  answer different for public universities and private colleges?

Do some athletic programs have an advantage over others because their leadership and community place a higher value on athletics and provide more funds to cover the expense-revenue gap?

It’s not a question we face in Georgia – athletic programs are by law denied state funds. Still, the question raises important issues within the larger context of the university or college mission.

Ultimately, each school will decide for itself how much financial support an athletic program will receive. The result will be unfair advantages and disadvantages for schools in various intercollegiate competitions.

Nothing  can make athletic funding fair, to create a level playing field.

Each school will make athletic funding decisions based on how athletics supports, and promotes,the school’s mission. The correct funding level is different for every school.

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