MU athletics spending rises while academic falls below median

Wednesday, December 4, 2013 | 9:23 p.m. CST
Data released Wednesday by USA Today and the Knight Commission on intercollegiate athletics revealed MU spending on athletes, especially football players, has increased since 2005. In 2011, the spending per football player had more than doubled, while the spending per student had increased only 3 percent.

COLUMBIA — In 2011, MU spent an average of $12,595 in academic funds per student while the university's athletics department spent an average of $119,702 per student athlete, a database released Wednesday by the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics shows.

It is among many comparisons made possible by the database, which combines information provided by USA Today's database for college sports finances and the Delta Cost Project on NCAA Division I universities. The new database includes:

  • Academic spending per full-time equivalent (FTE) student
  • Athletic spending per athlete
  • Athletic spending without scholarship expenses per athlete
  • Institutional funding for athletics per athlete

Academic spending per student includes direct and indirect costs related to educating students, such as instruction, departmental research and academic support. It excludes other university activities such as sponsored research and auxiliary services.

Athletic spending per student athlete includes total athletic operating costs, including scholarships. The Missourian does not have further information on what constitutes MU's total athletic operating costs at this time.

The MU athletics department is self-supporting and operates from the revenue it generates, similar to a private business. Sources of revenue include ticket sales, TV revenue and donations. The database shows that institutional funding for athletics per athlete decreased by 10 percent between 2005 and 2011, from $5,575 to $5,003. 

Other findings from the database, drawn from 2005-2011 numbers, include:

  • MU increased academic spending per student by 3 percent, while the athletics department increased its spending per student athlete by 30 percent.
  • Average academic spending per student at MU went from $1,156 more than the Football Bowl Subdivision median in 2005 to $1,141 less than the median in 2011.  The median academic spending per student in the subdivision increased by 24 percent from 2005 to 2011.
  • MU's athletics department spent $30,933 more per student athlete than the Football Bowl Subdivision median in 2005, and $22,754 more than the median in 2011. The median spending per student athlete for a Football Bowl Subdivision university's sports program increased by 58 percent from 2005 to 2011.

All data for MU are drawn from years that the university was in the Big 12 Conference. The university announced on Nov. 6, 2011, that it would join the Southeastern Conference. Both conferences are part of the Football Bowl Subdivision, which is the subdivision of Division I athletics for universities that have a minimum of 16 varsity teams, including football. They must also play at least 60 percent of their regular-season football games against other FBS institutions and meet home football attendance requirements.

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Corey Parks December 4, 2013 | 11:54 p.m.

One thing that should have been noted is that the average GPA for Student Athletes is well above the general student body average.

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