The public colleges of Utah are apparently spending more money on sports than ever before, despite also getting less funding from the state. According to an article by Paul Koepp in the Deseret News:

[Utah’s college] officials [are] expressing little enthusiasm for cutting athletics programs even as their overall budgets saw a 12.5 percent decrease in state funding last year.

And in most cases, they say it hasn’t been much of an issue on campus, even as athletics spending has grown: from $12.8 million at Utah State University in 2006-07 to $17.8 million just two years later, and from $5.7 million to $7.2 million at Southern Utah University in that same period.

This isn’t, of course, straight-up awful. Colleges want to improve their athletic standing because that helps improve the prestige of the institution, bringing in more applicants and, perhaps more importantly, higher-paying out-of-state students. But it’s still somewhat troublesome.

Last year, for instance, students at Utah State University narrowly decided to increase student fees in order to provide $2 million to the struggling athletic department (that’s USU’s Romney Stadium above). At the same time, USU forced all faculty and staff to take an unpaid week’s vacation at spring break to close the school’s budget gap. Students did not get a chance to vote on that decision. [Image via]

Support Nonprofit Journalism

If you enjoyed this article, consider making a donation to help us produce more like it. The Washington Monthly was founded in 1969 to tell the stories of how government really works—and how to make it work better. Fifty years later, the need for incisive analysis and new, progressive policy ideas is clearer than ever. As a nonprofit, we rely on support from readers like you.

Yes, I’ll make a donation

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer