MINOT, N.D. — The NCAA requires its member schools to make certain financial disclosures about athletic programs.
These disclosures, which the folks at USA Today organized into a public database, are revealing and pierce the fiercely-held mythology among sports fans that programs, and in particular high-profile programs like football and basketball, pay for themselves.
For the most part, they do not.
These programs are heavily subsidized money from students — including fees and tuition dollars — as well as the taxpayers. As such, they inflate the cost of higher education, both for taxpayers and, more importantly, the students who are seeking an education.
How much of our nation’s roughly $1.78 trillion in student loan debt has gone to subsidizing lush salaries for coaches and perks that benefit a small minority of elite athletes on campus?