When higher ed becomes higher athleticism
The American Association of University Professors released a report this past Monday showing that colleges and universities have been increasing spending on sports while spending on instruction, research, and public service has been cut or stayed the same.
Previous studies by the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics showed that this was a serious problem at Division I schools. However, the AAUP report is the first one to look at spending on sports vs. education at all three Division schools over time, finding that the gap in spending between academics and athletics is actually worst at Division II and Division III schools and community colleges. A co-author of the report, Saranna Thornton, believes that the hyper-focus on sports is a marketing ploy for prospective students. After all, more students = more money…(especially if they can pay full price).
Critics of the study, such as the American Council on Education, a trade association for administrators, claim that the AAUP showed the numbers out of context because it is in their interest to increase pay for themselves (professors). A war of the trade associations is brewing…
The same AAUP study found that schools are hiring more administrators and adjunct professors than full-time tenured or tenure-track faculty, which supports the idea that schools are willing to cut costs on academics.
If US institutions of higher education are so focused on profit that they are willing to ignore their mission of education, then it’s not hard to see how everyone ends up losing.