College athletics play a significant role in the landscape of higher education, especially with regard to those colleges and universities participating in the highest level of competition. The costs associated with participation at this level are also significant and the majority of these athletics programs depend on institutional financial support, or subsidy, to keep their athletics programs afloat. In recent years, a number of these colleges and universities have decided to shift athletics conferences with the hopes of both generating more revenue and increasing the status of their respective institutions.
By using a quantitative research design, I evaluated total athletics expenses, total institutional subsidy and the ratio of athletics expenses covered by subsidy per student-athlete at each of the public colleges and universities that participated in NCAA Division I football between 2005 and 2015. I then evaluated and compared each of these variables by athletics conference, by Power 6 institutions as a whole and non-Power 6 institutions as a whole and as conference shifters as a whole and non-conference shifters as a whole. The results of my research suggested that there were differences in all three variables across various athletics conferences and with varying degrees. Power 6 institutions had higher expenses, smaller needed subsidy amounts and smaller percent subsidy values per student-athlete than their counterparts. Finally, the institutions that shifted athletics conferences had lower expenses, but higher subsidy and percent subsidy values compared to those institutions that remained in the same conference.
Education Policy and Leadership
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Upham, Brent D., "The Price to Play Ball: Athletics Expenses and Subsidy at Public FBS Schools" (2018). Department of Education Policy and Leadership Theses and Dissertations. 1.