The quintessence of college football is the Big Ten, with each program holding a rich tradition.
Then there's the Big Ten's hardscrabble neighbor, the Mid-American Conference. The big Midwestern industrial states once had the resources, population base, and committment to provide lots of capacity for higher education, and a number of directional teachers colleges became directional universities, with several such universities in Ohio and Michigan particularly becoming the Mid-American.
Unlike the Big Ten, the Mid-American is a major money suck for member institutions.
[I]n the Big 10 only 0.16% of university budgets go to subsidize athletics. Yet, in the poorer Mid American Conference (MAC), subsidies make up over 5% of the schools' overall budgets (see this [College Affordability] study for more on the regressive athletics tax). At some schools this percentage is even larger. For example 10.5% of total core expenditures at SUNY Buffalo go to subsidize athletics. At another MAC school, Eastern Michigan, the figure is 7.9%.Among the Mid-American universities, students pick up some of the tab, in exchange for prepaid admission to games, a benefit few avail themselves of.
However, even many FBS schools charge high student fees to subsidize sports. Here are a few examples:Virginia is not a Mid-American program; Ohio will play Northern Illinois in the Mid-American title game, which will be played December 3 in Detroit. (First prize, a weekend in Detroit. Second prize, a week in Detroit).
Ohio University $765
University of Virginia $657
Bowling Green State University $650
SUNY Buffalo $474
University of Northern Illinois [c.q.] $453
Over the course of their 4+ years in college, students at many schools will have paid thousands of dollars to prop-up unprofitable athletics programs, regardless of their personal interest in sports.
And Akron recently borrowed for a new stadium that doesn't do much to draw audiences for a rebuilding football team.
UA Athletic Director Tom Wistrcill said he is disappointed InfoCision Stadium hasn't drawn as expected. But it's easy for fans to become dispirited when the team loses soundly and often.Let's see if I understand this: the football coach draws a larger salary for working five hours on 12 days, and the professors, who draw a smaller salary for teaching four classes, are taking the stick.
''You only have 12 [game] days,'' he said. ''You work 365 days a year for 12 days. That's six home games. It's a cruel sport that way.''
And, as much as I'm enjoying the current Northern Illinois football season, and, having experienced a BCS run and a campus shooting, I much prefer the BCS run, apparently the football visibility is not the enrollment bonanza some observers would expect. I've learned more about the rationale for the branding initiative: apparently we're losing students to other institutions that don't offer Division I football.