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The Cost of Our Varsity Teams

Buzz Bissinger, the author of Friday Night Lights, had a piece in the Wall Street Journal last week headlined Why College Football Should Be Banned (“The costs are high, the benefits to students are low. And academics pay the price.”). If the article is going to start a discussion as the College, we might as well get some hard numbers on the table right off the bat.

Q: How much do our varsity teams cost each year? A: $12,502,577.

Varsity Team Budget 2012.jpg

Q: And how many people participate in varsity sports? A: 861 individual students (out of 4,135 — 21% of all students).

Varsity Team Players 2012.jpg

All figures come from data that Dartmouth submits annually to the Federal Office of Postsecondary Education.

Putting the above in context, the College’s total expenditures last year came to $738,341,000. The cost of Dartmouth’s varsity teams amounts to only 1.69% of the College’s budget.

If we are looking for cost savings, before we look to team budgets, we might ask why the College’s total headcount is over a third higher than it was in 1999, and why many staffers earn more than double what they would command in equivalent jobs with other Upper Valley employers.

Addendum: According to the Federal Office of Postsecondary Education’s statistics, the College’s total budget for all types of athletic and recreational activities is $19,702,322barely 2.7% of the College’s annual spending.

Addendum: An alert readers points to a College report with a similar set of data.


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