I didn't get to see the Real Sports HBO special that aired Tuesday, April 19th, about Eastern Michigan University's spending on sports (I was too busy thinking about how I'm going to pay off my student debt), but I've read enough about it to know that my university has spent $52 million in the last two years on sports, according to the show. “Eastern has an athletic department spending of $33.9 million, according to data collected by USA Today and published earlier this week,” writes David Jesse of the Detroit Free Press. “Of that amount, more than $27 million, or 80% comes from institutional support.”
Now, I don't know about the football team — who stays in hotels even for home games — but I'm not exactly seeing the benefits of all that pointless sports funding. I say pointless because hardly anyone attends the games and the team itself is infamous for losing. So what's the point?
That money should not be going to a fruitless cause. Instead, it should be going to academics, to the students and faculty. Even if the Eagles were a good team, I cannot understand how the administration can ethically justify spending millions of dollars on football, all the while raising tuition, keeping classrooms in a state of virtual decay, not paying faculty on time and charging fees on top of that raised tuition for taking particular courses.
Geoff Larcom, executive director of media relations at EMU, released a statement regarding the issue Wednesday, April 20th:
"The discussion about the role and costs of intercollegiate athletics is an important one. It is happening at campuses across the country, including here at Eastern Michigan University. The university administration and the Board of Regents are fully engaged in this dialogue and support the students, faculty and staff who are involved in the discussion and who are concerned about these matters. Eastern’s top institutional priorities are academics and student support leading to an exceptional academic experience, graduation and successful careers. The vast majority of the university’s funds are directed to these priorities."