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It was just a matter of time before Time put this in a headline.

If you didn’t click on the link, here ’tis:

FOOTBALL: A WASTE OF TAXPAYERS’ MONEY

Lordy, lordy. When it hits the headlines of Time!

You, dear taxpayer, are footing the bill for football through an outrageous series of giveaways to billionaire team owners and public universities that put pigskin before sheepskin.

Billionaire team owners like Yeshiva University trustee/convicted fraudster Zygi Wilf… What American could object to handing her taxes over to the likes of Zygi??

Okay, so let’s see what the Time guy has to say.

… Rutgers’ athletics programs get a subsidy from the university of about $29 million a year, the lion’s share of which goes to the Scarlet Knights football team. As the flagship state university of New Jersey, that money is not only coming out of tuition and fees paid by students but out of the pockets of Garden State taxpayers.

As with NFL stadium deals, such lavish, publicly financed gifts are the norm for college football. With the exception of a tiny handful of programs – Ohio State, University of Texas, LSU, and perhaps three or four more – virtually every athletic program at every public NCAA Division I school is subsidized even as administrators plead poverty when it comes to resources for faculty and, as you know, education. Especially in an age of busted government budgets, even the most rabid sports fan should agree that it’s an outrage that the highest-paid public employee in a majority of states is a college football coach (in another 13, it’s a basketball coach). It’s far better to be broke and have a cellar-dwelling NFL franchise, right?

If you watch football this weekend, recognize that most of the drama and meaning is taking place off the field. The way the college and pro games are built on subsidies and giveaways neatly encapsulates crony capitalism at its worst – and helps to explain why taxes go up even as it seems there’s never enough money for basic government functions.

Killjoy. Why not pile it on? Why not talk about Temple? Here’s Deadspin on the subject.

Temple University announced today that it will drop seven intercollegiate sports: baseball, softball, men’s crew, women’s rowing, men’s gymnastics, and men’s track and field, both indoor and outdoor. This is a cautionary tale about trying become a football school.

The cuts will save just $3 million of Temple athletics’ $44 million annual budget, or not much more than it costs to run one of the FBS’s worst football teams (and run it at a loss). About 150 athletes students are out of luck, though the school announced it will honor their scholarships until they graduate or transfer. The nine full-time coaches aren’t so lucky… Rather than drop out of Division 1A, as seemed likely and logical, Temple stayed independent and decided to spend. They moved into an NFL stadium, paying more than $265,000 per home game in rent. They clambered into the MAC, but kept their eyes on a bigger prize. Moderate on-field success spurred further budget inflation. Finally, they made the leap back to the Big East—just as the Big East fell apart… The chase for bigtime football is a pyramid scheme, and the Owls remain afloat at the expense of those sports on the bottom. What happens when the con man runs out of suckers?

They needn’t worry. When it comes to the American taxpayer, there’s a sucker born every minute.

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2 Responses to “Ooch. Ouch. Eech.”

  1. MattF Says:

    … and Joe Paterno was a great man:

    http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2013/10/faithful_paterno_fans_hold_vig.html

  2. charlie Says:

    Here in Eugene, OR, taxpayers are finding out just what their fanaticism has cost them, in terms of quality education. U of O boasts of its membership to the prestigious American Association of Universities. The problem is that U of Oregon is dead last in most of the AAU’s metric categories. And while school mouthpieces claim that it isn’t fair to measure U of O to private unis, such as Harvard or Chicago, they fail to mention that compared to other public schools within the same conference, U of O doesn’t come close.

    Meanwhile, the Matt Knight Arena, where the Oregon basketball team is featured, continues to attract empty seats. The costliest such venue in America is losing money, so much so, that the public U of O refuses to release data as to how far the red ink is spreading. All the while, Oregon has the second shortest academic year in America, teacher firings continue, and, oh by the way, the athletic program had to ask the academic side to fill the AD’s budget deficit. So what, U of O has the worst fan behavior of any PAC12 school at its football games. Got to get something for all that money…

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