COLUMBIA, Mo. -- Count college sports among the sagging economy's latest victims.
A newly released NCAA report shows that just 14 of the 120 Football Bowl Subdivision schools made money from campus athletics in the 2009 fiscal year, down from 25 the year before.
Researchers blame the sagging economy and suggested that next year's numbers could be even worse.
The research was done by accounting professor Dan Fulks of Transylvania University, a Division III school in Lexington, Ky. It shows the median amount paid by the 120 FBS schools to support campus athletics grew in one year from about $8 million to more than $10 million.
The NCAA doesn't release individual schools' revenues and expenses. But Fulks confirmed that Alabama, Florida, Ohio State, Texas and Tennessee are among the select group that made money. So is Missouri, which reported generating $2 million in profits from campus athletics in 2009.
NCAA interim president Jim Isch, who spent 11 years as the association's chief financial officer, called the latest numbers less a reflection of "runaway spending" in college athletics than a reality of the country's larger economic crisis.
I mean, I know accounting and other people are commonly described as bloodsuckers, but come on!
In all seriousness, this is a topic that's come up repeatedly in the past, and something that I've even asked Sandy about.
I tracked down Sandy again to ask her what her thoughts were on the recent university report condemning the athletics department (though my exact words were, how do you feel about the university task force report throwing the athletics department under the bus?), and her response is that it is a legitimate issue, and it's an age-old question - how many resources should an institute of higher learning devote to athletics? But it's not her job to question that, and it's just her job to work with what she gets. If the university decides to cut funding, it's her job to let the chancellor know that the performance of all of the teams affected is likely going to suffer, and there's no way around it.
Is that response good enough for you? Are you ok with the university diverting money (or at least spending it on athletics) when it could be used elsewhere?