LTTE: Letter to the CSU Board of Governors

Guest Author

Dear Governors,

Who’s guarding the hen house?

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Do you wonder how much money it takes to keep the CSU Athletics Department above sea level? There appears to be two possible answers, as outlined below:

A. The CSU Athletics Department needs a modest subsidy and that the loss is made up by the national exposure the athletics teams receive.

B. The CSU Athletics Department is a chronic and habitual loser of tens of millions of dollars per year.

I would refer you to the Fort Collins newspaper (Coloradoan) for Sunday the 16th. Steve Shulman (CSU economics deptartment) published a “viewpoint.” The article states, “According to the NCAA, CSU subsidized its athletics program an astonishing $20 million in 2014.”

Let’s examine what CSU President Tony Frank has said in the past: “The argument that we spend too much on athletics falls flat with me when our $9.4 million university subsidy includes a repayment of $7.4 million back to us in the form of tuition from scholarships. A net of $2.5 million for the visibility and campus life of our athletics programs does not, to me, approach the line of excess.”

What are the facts that Dr. Frank is using in the above quote?

There are several factors that Dr. Frank has misconstrued:

  1. The statement is pure and unadulterated self-serving POPPYCOCK!
  2. Somehow, maybe through “creative accounting,” Dr. Frank is turning a $7.4 million expense into a $7.4 million revenue. Quite an accomplishment.
  3. Going from an expense (minus) to a revenue (plus) is an almost $15 million swing in the budget. That is a total athletics loss of over $17.5 million.

In order to check my reasoning, I contacted Richard Vedder, distinguished professor of economics at Ohio University. In his email back to me stated the following: “How can you count an outlay of funds as REVENUE? No one does that I know. … It appears to me particularly egregious faulty accounting.”

I appears to me, and should to you, that the obvious answer to the question is unequivocally “B.” The CSU athletics is hemorrhaging large amounts of cash every year.

The new football stadium will only add more loses to this situation.

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I do believe that the governors are being BAMBOOZLED by the CSU administration.

I would, once again, suggest you consult with a trusted sports economist before it is too late.

I would be pleased to present my data to all or any of the governors.

Sincerely,

Bob Vangermeersch