It may be obvious to some that most large conference athletic associations operate on large budgets. However, what might not be as obvious are the total athletic operating expenses (including scholarship) in comparison to the full time student costs at larger institutions.
Academic spending is defined as the direct and indirect costs of educating students. The spending related to other university services and activities is not included. Athletic operating costs are defined as all athletic operating costs including scholarship, per unduplicated athlete.
At Georgia the academic spending has risen 23 percent in just six years. In 2005 the median average full time student cost was $8,891 and rose to $10,980 in 2011. Seems steep, right? Well, the athletic operating expenses at this state university rose 78 percent from $84,302 in 2005 to nearly $150,000 ($149,832, to be exact) in 2011. The most interesting portion of Georgia’s athletic and academic spending may be the fact that the institution allocates and spends 4 percent of the general fund, state or government support, student fees, or indirect facilities and administrative support. The four percent that is spent is divided and spent per unduplicated athlete.
It may also be obvious to assume that a smaller school in say, the Sun Belt conference, lacks the large spending that Georgia, or a larger school may have. That would also be a correct assumption.
Middle Tennessee State University, a school in the Sun Belt, does in deed lack the funds, but more so in athletics rather than academics.
At Middle Tennesse the academic spending has risen a mere 3 percent in six years, from $8,844 in 2005 to $9,138 in 2011. Athletics did see a larger 44 percent rise in athletics, but the rise was only from $43,072 in 2005 to $62,062 in 2013. In comparison the the 4 percent that Georgia allocates from the general fund, Middle Tennessee allocates 47 percent. This 47 percent that Middle Tennessee allocates is clearly a much larger amount than Georgia’s 4 percent. Middle Tennessee may allocate more money because they are a smaller school that relies less heavily on private donations.