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American universities seem to like having a special place on campus for dunces and suckers, a kind of reverse-world Center for Excellence, and that place is always the football program. The overpaid coach; the losing team; the fucked up budget; the students who don’t show up even when the games are free.

The University of Akron is a case in point. Its October 23 football game in its new $61.6 million stadium attracted 756 students.

That’s bad news for an athletic department responsible for about two-thirds of the $3.15 million annual debt payment for the stadium…

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6 Responses to ““With a low turnout, the university isn’t generating as much revenue as it expected to pay back bonds that financed the bulk of construction.””

  1. theprofessor Says:

    “the university isn’t generating as much revenue as it expected to pay back bonds that financed the bulk of construction.”

    Our finance vice-president Mr. Malice has that line memorized.

  2. Mr Punch Says:

    Akron is an interesting case. They had one of the strongest – maybe THE strongest – less-than-big-time football programs in the country, but their move up to IA/FBS has been a disaster. If they don’t beat Buffalo this week, they’ll be 0-12.

  3. Stephen Karlson Says:

    The Mid-American Conference’s case of Big Ten Envy (Akron last won the Mid-American title game five years ago) has been expensive for students in those universities.

    http://collegeaffordability.blogspot.com/2010/11/no-leadership-from-ncaa-on-slimming.html

    The post specifically mentions Ohio, Bowling Green, Buffalo, Eastern Michigan, and Northern Illinois from that conference.

  4. Michael Tinkler Says:

    Sad to say, though, that’s almost exactly how much Roanoke spent on a Gehry knock off. I was there for a conference this weekend and read a statement in a free paper by their new director, who thought they should have considered spending $40 million on a building and putting $26 million into operating expenses and endowment.

    Nicer building to visit than any stadium, though.

  5. superdestroyer Says:

    The problem with the MAC conference is that none of the schools have any hangers-on (non-alumni who are fans) like Ohio State has. Most of the students at Akron, Toledo, Miami(ohio)or Ohio U. probably grew up as Buckeye fans and probably wanted to attend OSU but could not get admitted.

    What will probably kill the MAC along with the Sunbelt, Conference USA, WAC,and Mountain West is the big four conferences (SEC, PAC, Big Ten, ACC/Big East) will form four sixteen school conference that will play in an 8 team playoff. The other schools will give up football or move down to I-AA.

  6. Stephen Karlson Says:

    The evolution of the big four conferences might be the nudge the Mid-American needs to rethink football. In order to hold on to its current stature, its teams have to sell wins to the power conferences in order to make the attendance norms; that, or play home games in nearby cities with clusters of visiting alumni (Soldier Field for Iowa or Wisconsin, Cleveland for Ohio State or Michigan). Because the supply curve of football players isn’t perfectly elastic, these games are often lopsided, with lots of Mid-American players being injured.

    On the other hand, there are the five also-ran conferences and the model of realigning into four, with a parallel tournament structure right in front of them. The positional arms race goes on.

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