Robin Hood in Reverse
How universities force working-class students to pay thousands of dollars in hidden fees to athletic departments awash in red ink:
This story was written and reported by an investigative reporting class at the University of Cincinnati. Reporting by Morgan Batanian, Katie Coburn, Fernanda Crescente, Taylor Jackson, Tyler Kuhnash and Camri Nelson. Research contributed by Taylor Hayden, Talis Linauts, Kayleigh Murch, Matt Nichols, Malia Pitts and Lauren Smith.
Kevin Leugers pays the University of Cincinnati to provide him with a quality education.
The second-year student majoring in marketing and philosophy had no idea officials had quietly funneled tens of millions of dollars from students to the athletic department in recent years to cover the difference between revenue and expenses.
“It seems to be a corruption of education, in all honesty,” says Leugers, a University Honors Program student and Kolodzik Business Scholar. “Athletics is being given priority over education, over the professors, over the students. I just think that’s wrong.”
… [Board of Trustees Chair Thomas Hum] says sports are “a good investment for the university as a whole” and that the board decided every dollar given to the athletic department was money well spent.
“There has been a decision that whatever that investment number is that it is a positive investment for the university,” he says. “I don’t view it as a concern.”
The investment certainly brought a high return in 2014 to some UC coaches, particularly compared to the university’s 334 student-athletes. The university provided the students with $5.99 million in scholarship aid, less than 11 percent of the $55.4 million in athletic expenditures, according to UC’s NCAA report.
That same year, UC paid a dozen coaches on the football and men’s basketball teams more than $10.5 million, 19 percent of total spending. At the top was Tommy Tuberville, UC’s head football coach, who received $3.8 million.