Sunday, August 26, 2007

Post: OU Athletic funding for football tops other MAC schools

YourTurn: OU Athletic funding for football tops other MAC schools

Published Thursday, August 9, 2007

I would like to disagree with the assertion that Ohio University athletics needs more money to attract quality athletes and coaches, presumably allowing the athletic department to rekindle the success it had during the 1960s.

Thanks to the Equity in Athletics Disclosure Act, all universities are now federally required to submit a yearly report of their athletic revenues and expenses for each sport offered by a university. The public can review this information at:

According to this Web site OU spent $22,964 per male basketball athlete during the 2005-06 school year. This is more than what someone earning $11 an hour, working forty-hour weeks, makes in a year. The football team spent $10,117 per athlete for 2005-06. What’s remarkable is that these amounts do not include the students' athletic scholarships.

It also does not take into account their coaches’ salaries. It also does not take into account the salaries of athletic department administrators, academic compliance coordinators, athletic trainers or any other support staff such as secretarial, strength and conditioning, equipment, and facilities/grounds staff. Nor does it take into account the supplies and operating expenses the support staff used directly for athletics.

Although it is difficult to determine an exact amount on such a figure, it appears the yearly amount spent on a male basketball or football athlete at OU could be more than $50,000 — possibly more than $100,000.

And wouldn’t it be nice to go to Hawaii to compete, like the OU golf team did at the Kauai Invitational this past year? The EADA information also reveals that the OU women’s volleyball team’s operating expenses were almost twice the MAC average and that the operating expenses for Ohio Football during the 2005-06 school year were more than the operating expenses for the entire men’s sports program — six sports — offered at Central Michigan University. Ironically CMU was the team that beat OU for the MAC title last December.

Yet OU administrators had the audacity to cut a sport like men’s track and field, with yearly operating expenses of $491 per male athlete, so the athletes and coaches of these other teams could have more. Try telling that to track-and-field team member Eric Bildstein, who spent a year and a half rehabilitating for the 2007 track season after his Humvee hit a roadside bomb while he was in Iraq. Bildstein serves in the Marine reserves.

I would say that OU athletes in the major sports were already receiving a “high-quality student-athlete experience,” and if staying in less than superior quality hotels is the worst thing they ever experience in their lives they can consider themselves blessed!

Drew Frum is a former track athlete who writes from Youngstown, Ohio

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