“Real Sports” Segment Focuses on College Athletics Arms Race That Cost RU $312M

By Hallel Ladin

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—HBO’s “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel” ran a episode on April 19 that heavily featured the Rutgers athletics department.

One segment of the episode, “Arm$ Race,” explores the excessive athletics spending on campuses across the country.

The segment included many alarming statistics about the athletics spending on campus. For example, in the past twelve years, Rutgers athletics programs have cost taxpayers and tuition-payers $312 million dollars more than they brought into the school’s coffers.

Rutgers has also spent $6 million in severance payments to fired coaches and athletics directors over the past three years.

Correspondent Jon Frankel interviewed Dr. Mark Killingsworth, a professor of economics at Rutgers, and Dr. David Hughes, an anthropology professor and president of Rutgers AAUP-AFT, the faculty union.

“The Board of Governors has written the athletics program a blank check,” said Killingsworth, calling the situation a “nightmare.”

He points out that “the football coach’s salary was raised by $200,000 virtually the same week they announced the library’s budget was being cut by $500,000.”

In 2014 alone, over $26 million was siphoned from academic programs to cover the athletic department’s debts. Hughes cites canceling classes “left and right” as a consequence of that loss.


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