Tuesday, April 1, 2014

USF Athletics Balancing Budget on the Backs of Students

Mark Harlon found his plate very full very quickly when he officially started as USF's new athletic director in March.

He inherited a basketball team without a coach, a struggling football team, and sagging attendance numbers at Raymond James Stadium. But beyond the obvious issues, Harlon also inherited an athletics budget balanced on the backs of students, regardless of whether they ever set foot inside a single stadium.

Through public records requests, 10 Investigates obtained athletic budgets from Florida's largest public universities. And few major athletic departments -- anywhere in the country -- rely as heavily on student fees as USF.

Last year, USF Athletics reported $44.6 million in expenses, but $16.2 million were covered by student fees. At $14.73 per credit hour plus a $10 flat rate charge, the average student on USF's Tampa campus will spend $444 a year -- nearly $1,800 by the time they graduate -- supplementing the athletics budget.

As USF faces constant pressure to avoid tuition hikes and cut academic spending, even the once-threatened nighttime hours at its library, the athletics department's appetite for spending has continued to grow. The Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics, a national group dedicated to preserving academic balance in college sports, has been critical recently of universities that have over-emphasized varsity sports.

LOOKUP: Any university's athletic, academic spending

USF's athletic fees are larger than any of the other fees most students on the Tampa campus will pay, including the health fee ($9.94/credit hour) and campus activities and services fee ($12.08/credit hour). Students pay an average of $3,250 a year in various fees on top of tuition.

For more, continue reading on WTSP.com.


  1. The students doesn't bring in as much revenue like basketball & football can to help give more back to the students in the long run, while being able to get the brightest kids though the athletics notoriety...


    1. Academic donations exceed athletic donations at probably every university in the country. Athletics help, but so do tough admission standards, notable alumni, and academic reputation.

  2. What a car salesmen reply. I guess there's No(ah) progressive public investment worth the money, I guess everything should be as it is until everything collapses by the wrath of nature, and then maybe a road, a park, a ballpark, a bridge, a business, and everything else would then be worth spending a dime on. The nice thing is that government would have the $ knowing they didn't investment a single dime back into our society for over 500 years. Why? Because it's led here to believe that everything about government is wrong...
    I understand "whistle blowing", but being single minded is often thought of by those living in the middle of no where, where there is no infrastructure, no local economy, lil' to no government. Where you grow and raise your own food w/out needing the FDA, where you build your own house from trees around w/out needing permits, where you carve your own road w/out needing Fdot, where you make your own fun w/out needing places of business to go to. Imagine the city of Tampa stopping all money going out until downtown becomes a place of cavemen-like people living anywhere, doing anything w/out over sight or any governing... LOL