SEC No. 1 in spending on athletics, not on academics

The SEC is No. 1 again.

Not in football, but in how much its schools spend on athletes.

A USA Today story, drawing on work from the Delta Cost Project at the non-profit American Institutes for Research, which used federal and school data, shows median per capita spending on athletics at the Southeastern Conference’s public universities was $163,931 per athlete in 2010.

That total far eclipses the amount spent on each athlete at other conferences such as the Big 12, which came in second at $131,286. The Atlantic Coast Conference, Big 10, Pacific 10 and Big East were relative laggards in their spending on athletics among NCAA Division 1 programs.

On the flip side, spending per student for academic purposes at SEC schools was considerably less than it was at other conferences.

SEC schools spent $13,390 per student on academics in 2010, far below the $19,225 spent per student on academics at the Big 10. The SEC did edge out the Sun Belt Conference schools in academic spending, however.

14 comments Add your comment


January 16th, 2013
9:53 am

So the Big Ten, on average, has a higher academic rating than the SEC. Um, is this news? Sounds like an SEC hater trying to rationalize why his team/conference doesn’t measure up on the field.


January 16th, 2013
10:49 am

Exactly what this is KJ. And what a lengthy and insightful article it is too. I think the author could have just as easily said “I’m butthurt cuz an SEC team waxed my alma mater yet again so let’s change the subject. I know! We’re smarter than you! Nanny nanny boo-boo!”


January 16th, 2013
10:54 am

Yet another weak hit piece from the tolerant North. So, I guess I should take away from all these articles touting the amazing academia happening outside the South to mean that even the dumbest student at Ohio State is smarter than the brightest student at UGA? Thank God they keep pointing out how unwashed our Southern masses are!

No Scholar

January 16th, 2013
12:05 pm

No mention of the Millions and Millions that these SEC athletic departments contribute to the general and/or academic departments of their college each year.

Road Scholar

January 17th, 2013
8:10 am

Surprised…No! What is their spending on football compared to other leagues/schools?

But just spending education money does not equate to academic achievement.

No Brainer

January 17th, 2013
12:19 pm

Obviously the athletics-obsessed SEC pays more for athletes — that’s not even counting the under the table stuff. Shows you exactly where their priorities are.

Its a shame so many young people in the south choose their college based on the football team, not realizing how they will be shortchanged. All that tuition goes towards the football program, which couldn’t care less about academics or the value of their degree.

It won’t be long before state legislatures catch on and ask ‘Why are you spending 10 times more on your athletes?”

No Brainer

January 17th, 2013
12:21 pm

you would think after winning all those ‘championships’ SEC fans would have thicker skin…guess not.


January 18th, 2013
3:24 pm

“All that tuition goes towards the football program, which couldn’t care less about academics or the value of their degree.”

You might want to educate yourself before commenting. The athletic progams of SEC institutions are all self-sustaining and get no money fro mthe academic side. Many do however return millions of dollars per year to their universities. And we haven’t even begun to talk about how the university benefits from the exposure gained from a prominent athletic program.


January 18th, 2013
4:53 pm

These figures are skewed. When they say spending per athlete, that means tuition, books, room and board, and what not. Secondly, only a few athletic departments are able to contribute to the general funding of the school. Florida, Alabama, LSU an Tennesse are the only schools in the SEC that make money. All of the other schools are in the red or turn a small profit. Lastly , this study probably didn’t take into all of the extra costs normal students have to pay besides tuition and fees.

sad but true

January 19th, 2013
12:46 am

It’s sad that football groupies on here fail to get the point of the story. I graduated from a SEC school and could care less about the athletic program money. As I recall Athletics don’t help in medical research or new inventions. SEC schools are athletic based and if I could have afford to go to a school that cares more about academics I would have. What people down here fail to realize is that in other regions they could care less about football or other sports over academics because they have more going on. You think someone in L.A or NY cares who win a college football game. It is embarrassing seeing how people down here act over a sport like they have nothing else going in life. Just read some of the comments people put after reading article. KJ and Bebop sounds crazy because the story is a fact and they release this every year. The game is over I don’t know anyone who really cares at this point. I don’t and I graduated from Alabama

Sojourner Truth

January 22nd, 2013
11:31 am

1. Athletic departments are independent from schools. They raise their money and spend money on their students’ education, housing, and player development. No tuition money from other students benefits athletics.

2. Athletic departments make little if any meaningful contribution to general academics at a University. Their sole contribution is raising the public profile of an institution and building student morale.

3. How much a University spends on a student’s education/academics is extremely relevant and directly related to the quality of education that student receives. ALthough naysayers have said for years that this is a false connection, statistics repeatedly show that Universities that spend money on academics produce students who perform higher, land higher paying jobs, earn more money over a lifetime, and generally have better life outcomes (stability, jobs, housing, etc) than their low spending counterparts.

4. I am an SEC football fan, and an SEC alum, and I am happy with the onfield performance of SEC schools. However, our academic performance is not on the same level. Abolishing the athletic department will yield no benefit to academics, but investing in academics — professors, buildings, labs, etc. — will improve the education offered to students.

No Scholar

January 22nd, 2013
2:10 pm

OJ, your facts are incorrect….most SEC athletic departments turn a profit:

Rank School Revenue 2011 Expenses 2011 Net Profit 2011
1 Alabama 124,498,616 105,068,152 19,430,464
2 Florida 123,514,257 107,157,831 16,356,426
3 LSU 107,259,352 91,796,925 15,462,427
4 Arkansas 91,768,112 79,392,988 12,375,124
5 Georgia 92,341,067 80,759,498 11,581,569
6 TAMU 87,296,532 78,310,805 8,985,727
7 MSU 58,981,769 51,588,743 7,393,026
8 UT 104,368,992 97,580,406 6,788,586
9 Auburn 103,982,441 100,497,784 3,484,657
10 USC 83,813,226 80,525,711 3,287,515
11 Ole Miss 49,180,892 47,109,301 2,071,591
12 Kentucky 84,878,311 82,840,006 2,038,305
13 Missouri 64,146,530 64,160,358 -13,828

Note: TAMU & Missouri were part of Big 12 Conference in 2011

Will the last Democrat in Georgia please turn off the lights?.....

January 23rd, 2013
4:49 am

{{”SEC No. 1 in spending on athletics, not on academics”}}

Well, no sh**?…The Southeastern Conference spends more on athletics (football) than it does on academics…In the news of stating the overwhelmingly obvious, are we?

…And in other news, fire is hot and water is wet.


January 23rd, 2013
11:35 am

I don’t know why the two are tied so much together. The fans largely determine the athletic budget, the legislatures determine the academic budgets. Maybe if the legislatures (and the general populations) of the south quit calling college-educated people elitists (even though the legislature is college-educated, usually in liberal arts) and allocated more towards education and less towards building fish museums, we would have a better education system overall. If you don’t like being behind the Big10 in education, then vote out legislators that cut education budgets. I’d rather we lead in both, no reason why we can’t.