How Much UM and MSU Spend to Subsidize Sports

By Beacon Staff

USA Today has compiled an impressive database that shows how much universities have spent on athletics over a five-year period. Across the country, as school budgets are cut to make up for funding declines in cash-strapped states, subsidies and fees to support collegiate sports have continued to rise.

At the University of Montana during the 2008-2009 year, operating expenses outpaced operating revenue, $17,308,690.00 to $16,754,677.00. And UM students recently rejected a proposed increase in athletic fees – from $92 a year to $144 – by almost a two-to-one margin. The money was to be used to improve athletic facilities and build a new art annex.

Still, “direct institutional support” for UM athletics, according to the database, has risen from $3.8 million in 2004-05 to $4.5 million in 2008-09, now making up about 27 percent of its “revenue.”

Sports are costing Montana State University even more. In the 2008-09 season, it spent about $6.3 million in direct institutional support for athletics, almost 40 percent of its reported revenue.

Some universities, such as Texas, manage to make money off their athletic programs. But not many. Check out the database here.

Direct Institutional Support for UM athletics
2008-09 $4,530,017
2007-08 $4,447,162
2006-07 $4,267,430
2005-06 $3,998,194
2004-05 $3,791,685

Direct Institutional Support for MSU athletics
2008-09 $6,347,584
2007-08 $5,876,778
2006-07 $5,768,032
2005-06 $5,061,670
2004-05 $4,866,775

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