Feeding the college sports beast: Clemson wants students to pay their share

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During the 2013-2014 school year, Clemson University athletics generated nearly $74 million in revenue. Apparently, that's not enough. Earlier this week, the school floated a proposal to begin charging students $350 a year to help pay for the university's athletic department. The reason: To remain competitive with other schools.

Now, if you're like me, you probably think that the $74 million should be more than enough to cover all the school's athletic expenses, and frankly, you'd be right. According to the Greenville News, Clemson might just be thinking ahead. Nathaniel Cary reports:
The fee proposal comes after the NCAA's decision to grant autonomy to 65 schools (the five power conferences and Notre Dame) to draft their own rules for student athletes.

Some of the decisions schools will face include whether to pay for stipends, health insurance, guaranteed future tuition to complete undergraduate degrees or providing traveling expenses for families to attend certain games, McCarty said.

"The increased projected costs of having student athletes is what this is targeting if it goes through," [Lambart] McCarty, [chair of the Clemson Athletic Council,] said.

"I think there's no doubt that that cost is really going to rise in the next several years so our athletic director here is trying to foresee that and project for it and cover it."

The University of Texas has proposed to pay student athletes in every sport $10,000 per year to pay for costs that go beyond what a traditional college scholarship would cover.

"The other schools have to decide, 'Well, are we going to keep up with the Texas's of the world,'" McCarty said.
Interesting. Apparently, the day of the amateur student athlete is coming to an end sooner rather than later.

But while I applaud any steps in this direction, it's still amazing how much money is already being spent on players, not that any of them are paid money to play — wink wink. In fact, it costs some schools tens of thousands of dollars just to keep one single player suited up and ready to play on Saturday.



At Clemson, for example, the university spends $46,497 per football player and $96,485 per men's basketball player. Meanwhile, the University of South Carolina spends $25,628 on each football player and $59,425 on each men's basketball player. And if you think other sports are immune to such high figures, please note that South Carolina spends $31,598 on each member of the men's tennis team. Ouch. (These numbers aren't itemized, but one might assume that they include travel expenses, uniforms, and tutors among other things.)

Of course, Clemson and South Carolina are lightweights when it comes to other schools. The University of North Carolina spends $106,068 on each men's basketball team player, while Notre Dame spends $64,121 and $105,875 on football and men's basketball players, respectively.

Florida State is another two-sport big spender, dropping $110,890 per men's basketball player and $72,836 on each football player. 

Meanwhile, the University of Southern Cal spends $103,818 on each football player. 

Here in town, College of Charleston spends $40,575 on each member of the men's basketball team, while the Citadel drops $21,008 (basketball) and $4,088 (football).

Shocking, yes.

To learn more about how much money schools spend and how much money their athletic programs bring in, visit the U.S. Department of Education's Equity in Athletics site.


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