The University of North Dakota, currently under the interim leadership of former Governor Ed Schafer, has announced that they’re axing the varsity men’s baseball and golf teams to address a $9.4 million budget shortfall.
You can read the full press release below.
I’m glad to see that athletics is on the chopping block at UND. Far too often sports are prioritized ahead of academics at these universities, and that shouldn’t be the case.
Public universities exist to serve the academic needs of students and the state. Not to act as host bodies to athletics programs.
And to be sure, the athletics programs are a big drain on university resources. So much so they actually increase the cost of attendance for students.
The NCAA discloses details on revenues for university athletic programs. In 2014, the last year for which data was available, the University of North Dakota sports programs received 56.09 percent of their revenue in the form of subsidies from the students and taxpayers.
What this means is that revenue from ticket sales and merchandise and alumni donations and concessions, etc. constituted less than half of the revenue for the athletics programs. The rest came from the UND’s general fund (tax payer dollars, tuition dollars, etc.) and student fees.
That percentage has been growing over the years thanks to subsidies growing much faster than revenues:
The amount of subsidies per student has also been growing at UND (NDSU’s numbers are included as a point of reference):
Axing the men’s baseball and golf teams are a good start. “By reducing its number of varsity programs, UND Athletics will see a departmental cost savings of approximately $720,000 in operating budgets and salaries,” the press release states.
But when subsidies from students and tax payers are making up over $13 million worth of revenue for the athletics programs, there’s a lot more UND can do.
Athletics shouldn’t make it more expensive for students to attend UND and get a degree, yet that’s exactly what is happening.
Here’s the full press release.
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