The Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics releases today its Athletic and Academic Spending Database for NCAA Division I to provide greater transparency for athletics finances and better measures to compare trends in academic and athletic spending. The user-friendly spending database provides unprecedented access to academic, athletic and football spending data, from a range of sources, for more than 220 public Division I institutions.
The primary goal of the database is to enable administrators, researchers, policymakers, taxpayers, fans, and others to compare trends in spending on core academic activities with spending on athletics in public Division I institutions. Trends in institutional funding for athletics through student fees and other institutional sources are also provided. Given the significant role football plays in shaping Division I spending patterns, football-only spending data are included for additional analyses. The database, which draws on data provided in various public reports, allows users to compare trends and search by institutions, conferences and subdivisions.
The database displays spending per student and spending per athlete data for each institution, Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) athletic conference, Division I subdivision and FBS spending quartile. Users can customize comparisons using different spending variables and generate reports to adjust for inflation. Athletic spending projections for 2015 and 2020 are estimated using prior rates of change.
The database provides a number of opportunities to make comparisons and trend assessments, such as:
- Comparing athletic spending per athlete to academic spending per student. From 2005-2011, in every Division I subdivision, athletic spending per athlete grew at a faster rate than academic spending per student. The gap is largest among those institutions competing in the FBS and smallest among those institutions without football.
- Evaluating the growth of athletics expenses without the costs of scholarships. From 2005-2011, academic spending per student at institutions in the FBS grew just 3% after adjusting for inflation, while athletic spending per athlete grew 31% and football spending per football player grew 52% even without considering spending on athletic scholarships.
- Examining the significant growth in coaching salaries at institutions and conferences. The growth in coaching salaries has been a big factor in athletic spending growth rates: among the five conferences with the largest athletics budgets, median coaching salaries increased as much as 54% in inflation-adjusted terms from 2005 to 2011, compared to 24% for all FBS schools.
- Comparing the growth in institutional funding for athletics through student fees and other institutional funding sources with the growth in academic spending. From 2005-2011, in every Division I subdivision, the growth in institutional funding to athletics per athlete was greater than the growth in academic spending per student. The same general trend is represented in each of the FBS spending quartiles, except for the top spending quartile where more significant growth in generated revenues has decreased the reliance on institutional funding through student fees and other institutional sources.
- Projecting spending out to 2020 by athletic conference and FBS spending quartile. The median football spending per scholarship football player at all FBS institutions is expected to rise from $138,424 in 2011 to $212,303 in 2020, based on prior growth rates and controlling for inflation. By comparison, in the top FBS spending quartile, the 2011 median spending level of $243,900 per scholarship football player is estimated to increase to nearly $400,000 in 2020.
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Includes important info about data sources.