Report: Utah colleges and universities subsidize athletics with millions

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SALT LAKE CITY -- Utah's public colleges and universities spend far more than they make on athletics, according to a report just published by the state auditor.

But the biggest spender isn't the biggest problem, says the auditor.

The University of Utah spend $56 million on athletics in 2014. That's more than double the next school, Utah State at $25 million. But the Utes made $46 million in revenue from sources including ticket sales, merchandise and donations, whereas the Aggies made $11 million.

In other words, students and taxpayers foot the bill for about a $10 million shortfall at the University of Utah, compared with a $14 million shortfall at Utah State.

Put another way, divided by the 30,000 full time students at the 'U,' the subsidy comes to about $300 per student. That number is about $700 for the students at Utah State.

For Southern Utah University, the per student spending on athletics comes to $1,165, according to the report.

Ellen Treanor, Director of Communication for Southern Utah University, says the report is a "wake up call" for the school.

"We absolutely plan no additional growth in funding. This number will not go up. It will only go down," Treanor said.

You can read the report at http://financialreports.utah.gov/saoreports/2015/AR15-02NCAAAthleticsSubsidizationUtahSystemofHigherEducation.pdf