Reading at the Crossroads

Reading at the Crossroads is an archive for columns and letters which appeared in the Terre Haute Tribune Star. I also blog here when my patience is exhausted by what I feel is irritating, irrational and/or ironic in life. --gary daily

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Location: Terre Haute, Indiana, United States

The material I post on this blog represents my views and mine alone. The material you post on this blog represents your views and yours alone.

Friday, March 21, 2014

$3.25 goes into sweat for every $1 spent on academics at ISU

Athletics costs out of balance

Here is a new take on a familiar spring ritual.

A March 5, 2014, Readers’ Forum letter (“Great work by TV sports staff”) passed along this information:

“On Feb. 19, six senior athletes, their coaches and their families gathered at Terre Haute North High School to sign letters of intent to attend colleges and universities for fall 2014.”

Local TV cameras and other media attend and highlight this sacred ceremony each year.  Chests swell. Involuntary tears roll. Fists of victory wave in the air. Coaches and school administrators stand by looking gratified, smug and vindicated — all at once. I hope the kids enjoy the spectacle. They paid for it.

I’m not certain how much taxpayers paid for the athletic success of each of these six hard-working kids. A clear statement on this never makes it into the non-transparent, arcane budget issued each year.

It’s safe to guess that the amount spent on these six athletic success stories far exceed the amount spent on six, average, non-athletic students in our local schools.

We do know, thanks to the recently released database of the Knight Foundation, the amounts spent on athletics vs. academics at the university level. These amounts vary widely. Their report shows, for example, that “In 2011, Georgia spent more than $25 on every scholarship football player for every dollar it spent on a full-time equivalent student, according to the database.” That’s a peach of a pot of gold for the coaches and the relatively few kids they goad, groom and grind into winners (or losers) each season … season after season.

Closer to home, at Indiana State University, academic spending for each student in 2011 was $11,298. Amount spent for each athlete came to $37,027.

The TV cameras, print media, coaches, trustees, administrators and faculty don’t gather around and swell with pride over these figures. And now, thanks to the Knight Commission, there’s no excuse for not knowing that approximately $3.25 goes into sweat for every $1 spent on academics at ISU.

Students taking on education debt and the parents and grandparents footing the college bills never hear these disconcerting facts. They should.

Letter to the Editor TH Trib Star  (published 3-18-2014)

And how is your school doing?  Try this database.  It's easy, it's accurate. 

Website of Knight Foundation  database on athletic v. academic spending



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