WASHINGTON, DC—As Americans tune in Monday for the College Football Playoff National Championship to watch the Clemson Tigers rematch against the Alabama Crimson Tide, higher education reformers are pointing to the runaway costs of college sports and calling for increased oversight of athletic spending and the policies governing athletics. Dr. Michael B. Poliakoff, president of the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, released the following statement addressing the issue:
“The excitement over this year’s football championship should serve as a reminder that too many colleges and universities are engaging in reckless spending, amassing dangerous levels of debt and sacrificing academic standards and integrity in pursuit of winning programs. Athletic glory should never trump academic excellence.”
“Higher education leaders need to rethink their priorities and exercise better discretion when it comes to managing college sports. Collegiate athletics have many important benefits for students, communities, and fans, but financially, the vast majority of schools never see a profit, even for many Bowl-eligible programs. Teaching and learning must always be a school’s spending priority.”
College athletics has become a multi-billion dollar industry and schools are spending big, but only 24 of the 128 athletic programs in the Football Bowl Subdivision turn a profit. For more fast facts on college football overspending, read the op-ed by Dr. Poliakoff and ACTA research associate/editor Alexis Zhang published in U.S. News & World Report.