The University of Connecticut spent $27.2 million last year subsidizing its sports teams and programs – the third highest in the nation among public schools with Division 1 sports teams. Only Rutgers University and James Madison University subsidized athletics more, a review released Monday by the Chronicle for Higher Education found.
USA Today routinely ranks UConn’s subsidies among the highest in the nation.
Mike Enright, a spokesman for UConn, cautioned against comparing UConn’s spending against the 234 other public universities with Division 1 sports teams.
“Every school does their budget differently. It’s not as neat and clean as comparing one school to another,” he said during an interview.
He said some schools don’t include spending on intramural sports or student scholarships in the athletics budgets.
The review by the Chronicle found that, while UConn’s athletics budget has grown over the last five years, revenue from things like ticket sales and TV broadcasting contracts have remained almost the same. Meanwhile, subsidies provided from the university budget have nearly doubled. The university receives most of its funding from student tuition and fees and state support.
With an overall athletics budget of $71.5 million last year, UConn had the 40th largest sports budget among public universities with Division 1 teams.
Asked last week by faculty about the expense of sports programs, UConn Provost Mun Choi said budget officials are working to reduce costs.
“How do you increase revenue? Ticket sales help, a winning football team helps. Realignment of the conference and getting a better TV contract helps. We are thinking about the revenue side very, very carefully. At the same time, reducing the cost of travel helps. So this is something we discuss all the time and you will see more progress in that area,” said Choi.
“Having said that, athletics at this university really help the academic side in terms of increasing our reach as a destination university beyond Connecticut. The fact that we are able to attract so many students from beyond Connecticut and international students in some way has to do with athletics.”