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Rutgers Students Pay Nearly $1,000 Each to Finance Athletics

Take your pick on which is the most damning statement about the Rutgers athletic department, based on a report by Bloomberg News this week examining spending in big-time sports:

a) Rutgers gave $28.5-million from the university budget and student fees, or almost $1,000 per student, to finance sports during the fiscal year ended June 30, 2011.

b) The $19.4-million that Rutgers allocated to athletics from its general budget would have been enough to hire about 256 assistant professors or 132 full professors, based on salary figures provided by the university.

c) Fiscal 2011 included the first losing football season in six years. Ticket sales for all sports, led by football, plunged by $3.1-million; donations fell $1.5-million; and income from royalties and licensing declined $477,558.

It was the second-consecutive year that Rutgers topped Bloomberg’s list of universities that provide the biggest subsidies for sports. Rutgers officials defended the spending, saying it represents less than 1 percent of the university’s overall budget and provides positive exposure for the institution. (After you cancel out all the media drubbing, that’s kind of hard to imagine.)

Among the other highlights from the Bloomberg report:

* While none of the other 53 public institutions Bloomberg surveyed came close to giving as much to sports as Rutgers, Oregon State actually nudged out the Scarlet Knights on one count: Students there pay an average of $1,050.76 each per year toward intercollegiate athletics.

* Six of the surveyed institutions reported no financial support for athletics from the university or student fees, including Texas, which had the largest budget ($150.3-million) and No. 2 Ohio State ($131.8-million).

* Filling out the top five in subsidies for sports were Oregon State ($17-million); South Florida ($16.6-million); Maryland ($15.9-million); and Colorado ($15.5-million).

For more nuggets, be sure to check out this nifty graphic showing subsidies for all 54 programs.

(Photo from Rutgers U.)

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