Why College Sports Are Broke

Greed and need to compete ruin many programs
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 29, 2012 3:20 PM CDT
Why College Sports Are Broke
Empty student seating looms in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium as LSU and Mississippi play out the fourth quarter of their NCAA college football game in Oxford, Miss., Saturday, Nov. 19, 2011.   (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

College athletic programs across the country are slashing sports and running up debts like teenagers with their first credit cards. Of the 227 public universities in Division I, just 22 turned a profit last year. Why? Because the drive to compete in theoretical cash cow sports like football and basketball drove many to invest in pricey stadiums and coaching staffs—investments that pay off only for the most successful and popular schools, the Washington Post reports.

"Quite frankly, I think we’ve gotten ourselves in a terrible situation with intercollegiate athletics," says the chancellor of the University System of Maryland. This weekend, Maryland will cut seven of its 27 varsity teams to deal with a $4.7 million deficit. Yet schools say they can't cut their big-ticket football and basketball expenditures, because they're the only programs with the cache to bring big donations. "Unilateral disarmament is nothing that will fly," an ex-Penn State official says. (More college sports stories.)

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