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College Sports Expense: How Much Are Students Paying?

The Huffington Post  |  By Posted: 05/08/2012 10:00 am Updated: 05/09/2012 8:38 am

Amid cuts in state funding and tuition hikes, college athletics programs are under the gun to fund themselves with earned revenue or produce winning seasons.

Bloomberg compiled data on 54 public universities, supported by tax dollars, with major athletic programs. In some cases, such as Rutgers University and Washington State University, the schools charge each student nearly $1,000 in fees to support athletics. While Rutgers spends more than almost any other school in the country, it ranks in the bottom 10 for return on investment.

The Bloomberg report pointed out that in the cases where athletic budgets are funded in part by student fees, the students do not get to vote on whether or not to raise or pay those fees.

According to the NCAA, 22 out of 120 Football Bowl Subdivision athletic departments earned a profit in 2010, and that number rose to 48 in 2011.

Look at the 15 public universities charging their students the most for college sports, the total amounts include student fees and funds directly and indirectly from the university:

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  • Rutgers University

    Rutgers spends $28.5 million on athletics, including $9 million directly from students.

  • Oregon State University

    Oregon State spends $17 million on athletics, which breaks down to about $1,000 per student.

  • South Florida

    South Florida spends $16.6 million on athletics, almost entirely funded by student fees. South Florida's budget relies more on student fees to fund athletics than any other school in the Bloomberg report.

  • Maryland

    Maryland spends $15.9 million on athletics, which comes out to about $640 per student.

  • Colorado

    CU spends $15.5 million on athletics, or $625 per student.

  • Connecticut

    Connecticut spends $15 million its athletic teams, which is $855 per student.

  • Cincinnati

    Cincinnati spends $14.7 on its athletics, which breaks down to $786 for every student.

  • Virginia

    UVA spends $13 million on its athletic programs, breaking down to $938 for each student.

  • Washington State

    Washington State drops $11.5 million on college sports, or $781 per student.

  • Arizona State

    The ASU Sun Devils collect $10.7 million from the University, breaking down to $227 per student.

  • Louisville

    The Louisville Cardinals get $10.1 million from the university or $636 per student.

  • California

    California in the PAC 12 conference spends $10.5 million on athletics, including $2 million funded by students. Pictured: Sherry Lansing, chairman of the University of California board of regents, pauses as she speaks during a press conference following the University of California board of regents meeting in July 14, 2011.

  • Utah

    Utah spends $9.4 million on the Utes or $401 per student.

  • North Carolina

    UNC tosses $8.8 million at the Tar Heel athletics or $503 per student.

Check out Bloomberg's interactive chart on spending at public universities on college sports here.