As March Madness comes to a close,* let’s turn to the same AAUP report to look at spending priorities in today’s university.
As we have documented in recent editions of this report, full-time faculty salaries have generally been stagnant for the last several years. We examined above how changes in faculty pay have compared to salary increases for senior administrators. Here we compare changes in median compensation for full professors to those for head coaches of men’s athletic teams in Division I, in a sampling of both “revenue-generating” and non-revenue-generating sports. The period covered spans 2005–06 to 2011–12, which includes the recession during which many faculty members were told that budgets were tight and raises were unavailable.
As figure 5 illustrates, by far the largest increases in compensation during this time period went to coaches—and not only in “major” sports. The median D1-A men’s basketball coach saw his pay increase by more than 100 percent, after inflation. D1-A football coaches scored slightly less, with a median compensation increase of 93 percent. But even coaches in so-called “minor sports” such as cross country, track, golf, soccer, and tennis racked up increases in their compensation packages that far exceeded those earned by full professors across all four institutional types. The lowest-scoring coaches, in cross country and track at D1-AA universities, saw their real compensation increase by 9 percent over these six years, which is more than double the 4 percent increase earned by the median full professors at doctoral universities. In contrast to the coaches, full professors at associate’s degree colleges actually experienced a loss in their compensation of 5 percent between 2005–06 and 2011–12.
Remember, also, that very few schools have athletic programs generate enough revenues to finance themselves as well as other sports.
The NCAA collects annual data on revenues and expenses of athletics programs from its member institutions.In the reports for 2012, of the more than one thousand college and university members of the NCAA, only twenty-three institutions reported that their athletic programs ran a surplus, with revenues greater than expenses. Those twenty-three institutions were all in D1-A. The NCAA includes the following revenue sources in its reporting: payments for the rights to broadcast games through television, radio, or the Internet; contributions from individual and corporate donors; program and novelty sales; parking; sponsorships; ticket sales; sports-camp revenues; endowment and investment income; NCAA conference distributions; and direct institutional support. Even when all these sources of revenue are included, the NCAA reports that the median institutional subsidy in 2012 accounted for 27.5 percent of the athletics program budget in D1-A, 73.0 percent in D1-AA, and 81.7 percent in D1-AAA.
*A period that has been a real problem for someone like me, who teaches at, was raised in the same state as, or has good friends who work at the four schools in the women’s and men’s Finals. That’s a lot of hoops to watch!