Rutgers is a great school, with a great tradition academically and, of course, for originating college football. But, it has not often been an athletic powerhouse. It joined the Big 10; but it’s athletic department has a history of significant funding issues. Students subsidize athletics to the tune of $10 million.
A New York Times article discusses their problems:
One report (USA Today) has IU athletics using an approximate $2.5 million subsidy. Of course, accounting matters, and questioning how building depreciation is put into the formula matters significantly. Purdue operates without subsidy. Rutgers is the leading deficit financed program in the country.
It is not surprising that economists, whose concern is resource allocation, lead in questioning big time college athletic funding. Mark Killingsworth is a famous labor economist. Rutgers alum Milton Friedman inveighed against excessive college athletics, stating:
As colleges become more expensive for students, should they be taxed for athletics? As football and basketball players are underpaid in college athletics, should coaches be receiving large rents for their services? Are we, generally and older generation and calling for more wins at the expense of a young student, the problem?