Monday, January 5, 2009

We're Number One!

The national Center for College Affordability and Productivity recently proclaimed that the University of Arkansas was ranked No. 1 in the nation -- in the ratio of total athletic expenses to total instructional expenditures. Based on data reported by the U.S. Department of Education, the UA's total athletic expenses equal 56.5 percent of total instructional expenditures (as reported through the Integrated Post-Secondary Education Data Source—IPEDS). The University of Alabama was ranked second nationally at 50.2%. Other Southeast Conference schools in the Top Ten were No. 7 Auburn (40.8%), No. 8 Ole Miss (35.8%), and No. 9 LSU (33.8%).

Vanderbilt University, which defeated Ole Miss and Auburn and recently defeated Boston College in the Music City Bowl, is ranked last in the nation when it comes to athletic spending as a percentage of educational spending at 6.4%. Vanderbilt also has a 4-year graduation rate of 85% and is ranked the No. 18 university in the nation by U.S. News & World Report, highest in the SEC and somewhat ahead of Arkansas.

"Collegiate athletics are certainly a staple of American culture, and as avid sports fans ourselves we would not wish to see them disappear. There is nothing quite like waking up on a Saturday morning to watch College Gameday over breakfast, or rooting on the basketball team as they push toward the NCAA tournament," the Report concludes. "However, the instruction of students, who are paying huge tuition bills, should be the academy’s primary focus. ...We need to refocus our attention on what is truly important to a university, and our budgets need to reflect that commitment to education."

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