FanShot

Get ready for misleading data

Brett McMurphy reports that the U.S. Department of Education has released its annual Equity in Athletics report. This should be fodder for a lot of discussion ("Rutgers spends $19.5 million on football!"), but in reality it's not particularly useful. No, it's highly unlikely that Rutgers athletics broke even last year, although the "real" figure won't be out for some time. That's because the OPE data does not distinguish between revenue sources, so it's too easy for universities to cook the books by subsidizing athletics with direct institutional support from a school's general fund. As always, the gold standard is USA Today's database (last updated in April with the 2008 data), which is painstakingly compiled through public records requests.

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