Running up the bills

Bloated athletic programs at Power Five schools are a losing financial proposition — often with students footing the bill.
  • Nov 23, 2015
(Sam Craft/The Bryan-College Station Eagle/AP)
(Sam Craft/The Bryan-College Station Eagle/AP)

Why students foot the bill for college sports, and how some are fighting back

Mandatory fees can go unnoticed on large tuition bills, and guarantee a lot of revenue for athletic departments.
  • Nov 30, 2015
(Mark Gail/The Washington Post)
(Mark Gail/The Washington Post)

College sports’ fastest-rising expense: Paying coaches not to work

As athletic departments switch coaches in search of quick fixes, severance fees add up.
  • Dec 11, 2015
(Courtesy of Clemson Athletics)
(Courtesy of Clemson Athletics)

The latest extravagances in the college sports arms race? Laser tag and mini golf.

In efforts to one-up the competition, schools are spending on increasingly lavish amenities for sports facilities.
  • Dec 21, 2015
(Juan Lainez / Marinmedia.Org /Cal Sport Media/Associated Press)
(Juan Lainez / Marinmedia.Org /Cal Sport Media/Associated Press)

As college sports revenues spike, coaches aren’t only ones cashing in

Here’s what a $313 million payroll increase buys you in college athletics: more administrators, support staff.
  • Dec 30, 2015
About College Athletics Spending

To examine spending trends in college sports, The Washington Post requested financial records for 2004 and 2014 from athletic departments at all 53 public schools in the "Power Five," the five wealthiest collegiate athletic conferences. Every year, each school sends a report detailing athletic expenses and revenues to the NCAA. Through open records requests, reporters collected 2004 and 2014 reports from 48 schools. Twelve Power Five schools are private, and their financial reports are not public records. Four public schools (North Carolina State, Louisville, Oregon State and Penn State) refused to provide 2004 reports, which are not public records in those states. One public school -- Pittsburgh -- refused to provide both 2004 and 2014 reports. To determine which departments are profitable, reporters used a methodology similar -- but more favorable to athletic departments -- to how the NCAA determines which are profitable. From earnings, reporters subtracted mandatory student fees and financial support a school gives athletics, leaving behind what the NCAA refers to as "generated revenue" -- the actual money a sports department makes. From expenses, reporters subtracted money athletic departments report giving back to schools, which the NCAA counts as an expense. All 2004 figures are adjusted for inflation.

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