- A new American Association of University Professors report released Monday showcases the expanding athletic spending by colleges and universities amid flat or falling academic budgets.
- An academic watchdog group, the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics, also sees this trend spreading from Division I schools to Division II and III, and even community colleges, with co-chair and University of Maryland Chancellor William Kirwan saying the report shows "our worst fears are coming to pass.”
- According to one of the report's co-authors, Hampden-Sydney College economics professor Saranna Thornton, hypothesizes that the spending increases at the Division II level and lower may be an effort to drive recruitment with more impressive athletics.
This morning, we covered what this same report had to say regarding faculty salaries (they're up, but not by much). American Council on Education Senior Vice President Terry W. Hartle tells the New York Times, however, that the numbers in the AAUP's report must be "viewed in context" and "may not be alarming," since the organization "has a vested interest in finding that too little money is going to faculty and too much to sports and administration."
Still, some of the findings are quite telling. For example, if only 23 of the over 1,000 colleges and universities in the NCAA have athletic programs with greater revenues than expenses, then it stands to reason that many of these schools, like Rutgers, are being at least partially financed from their schools' general funds. In that context, it's quite troubling that athletic spending is taking away from funds meant for instruction, research, and public service — and it's also more fuel for the argument that college athletics, which have also been called out for allowing institutions to take advantage of their star athletes, are overdue for a rethinking.