One of the victims in the growing arms race in big-time college sports is students. With university budgets tight and athletics programs unable to self-fund, schools are increasingly turning to student fees to fund skyrocketing athletics budgets.
For the second consecutive year, Rutgers University topped Bloomberg’s list of universities that provide the biggest subsidies for athletics. Rutgers moved $28.5 million from the university budget and student fees to the athletics department. With the $19.4 million that came specifically from the general budget, Rutgers could’ve hired about 256 assistant professors or 132 full professors, based on salary figures provided by the university.
William Dowling, an English and American Literature professor and long-time activist against big-time sports at Rutgers, recently won the 2012 Robert Maynard Hutchins Award, which is given annually by The Drake Group to someone who has shown courage in standing up for academic integrity in the face of commercialized sport. He recently told League of Fans that the faculty is working hard to stop the commercialized sports machine at Rutgers.
There is “serious alumni, faculty, and student opposition to the way the academic and intellectual values of the university are being prostituted to commercialized Div IA sports,” according to Dowling. (See: “Q&As with Leading Sports Activists: William Dowling)
Recently, the Rutgers faculty voted 174-3 to demand an end to funding the athletics program out of general university funds. As Dowling says, there is hope.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of FansPrint
- League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.