Age-Old Sports Vs. Academics Debate Heats Up at Ohio University

Faculty argues that the budgeting for Ohio University sports is unsustainable.

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Is it just Paper Trail, or does this debate pop up annually in college circles? It's the endless fight between academics and athletics, and it's heating up at Ohio University.

Ohio University faculty leaders want the university to scale back its "unsustainable" funding of sports, Inside Higher Ed reports. The faculty leaders argue that too much of the school's operating budget is used for athletics, which are increasingly expensive, and the costs are impeding the school's ability to "prioritize academics."

[Read More: Report Says Cost of College Sports "Unsustainable"]

Inside Higher Ed reports that Ohio U.'s athletics department received the fourth-highest subsidy among Football Bowl Subdivision schools (which used to be called Division I-A) from its school's campus budget. Seventy-five percent of the athletics department's budget comes from that school-funded subsidy, while 25 percent of funding comes from other sources. A faculty resolution says, "The current funding model for intercollegiate athletics is incompatible with the academic mission of higher education institutions." 

President of Ohio University Roderick McDavis's chief of staff, Becky Watts, tells IHE that Ohio plans to balance its sports budget by the beginning of the new fiscal year, which starts July 1.

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Corrected on 5/21/10: An earlier version of this article misstated the proportion of Ohio University's athletics budget that is subsidized by the school. Ohio University spends 3 percent of its campus budget on athletics. Seventy-five percent of the athletics department's budget is subsidized by the school.