Anyone who’s had to work for their college tuition, or, worse, felt that slow pang of helpless guilt when your parents pay it, has wondered if it's going to the right places. I’m paying for school, right? Not mashed potatoes or some tenured flack's all-expenses-paid jaunt to the Marshall Island to study unpronounceable flora and fauna? Books and pencils, right? Good teachers, good materials? Right?
The Cauldron, Cleveland State’s student newspaper, had similar questions and decided to find out. In this pretty exhaustive article, the paper examined how student dollars are used. Specifically, they put the microscope to the General Fee Budget, a $15.6 million piggy bank fat on student tuition ($13.6 million of it) and responsible for propping up non-academic activities (academic stuff — that weight is carried by the State Share of Instruction [which is dropping] and instructional fees).
Not surprisingly (but pretty fascinating none the less) athletics take up the majority of the dollars.
Each budget is cumbersome, with significant line items unfolding beneath the umbrella budget. As displayed in the cover graphic, athletics eats a significant majority of the GFB pie. In fact, at 49 percent, it nearly equals the amount allotted to student activities and the two debt services [on student facilities] — combined.
What derives from that heavy financial commitment? Program by program, student's general fee dollars finance the salaries of coaches, additional fringe benefits, operating expenditures for the programs and departments like sports information, strength and conditioning and equipment control.
By far, the largest piece of the athletics pie goes to the Men's Basketball program, which had a net FY 2011 budget of $1.07 million. There is an additional $330,000 expected in revenue, but like most intercollegiate athletic programs, Men's Basketball bleeds money — student money.
Women's Basketball is a close second, with a $948,018 net FY 2011 budget. The women's program was only expected to raise $3,000 in revenue, a net loss of nearly $1 million dollars.
Other high net-budget programs include Volleyball ($399,722), Softball ($382, 751) Baseball ($382,009), Women's Soccer ($339,967). For perspective, Women's Cross Country ($42,951), Cheerleaders ($17,120) and Women's Fencing ($670) sit on the opposite end of the spectrum.