ANALYSIS: CMU athletic subsidy average for MAC — but high for nation

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The average Mid-American Conference university subsidized its athletic department to the tune of $18.5 million in 2013-14, according to USA Today‘s college sports database.

Central Michigan University came in right around average with an $18.6 million subsidy, or about 67 percent of the department’s budget. While that puts CMU seventh in the MAC out of 12 schools in terms of the size of subsidies, the university still doled out the 29th largest subsidy out of 230 schools surveyed by USA Today.

CMU fares better than its in-state MAC competition. Eastern Michigan University subsidized its athletic department to the tune of $22.4 million in 2013-14, more than any other MAC school and behind just 10 other universities nationwide. Western Michigan University’s subsidy topped out at $21.3 million, good for third in the MAC and 16th in the country.

Each MAC school subsidized 60 percent or more of their athletic departments’ budgets in 2013-14, with the lone exception being the University of Toledo at 48 percent.

Compared to other in-state Division I schools, however, CMU fares poorly. Oakland University, which has a Division I athletic program but no football team, subsidized its department with $10.1 million, ranked 102nd in the country.

In contrast, the University of Michigan and Michigan State University, both with giant athletic programs that break even or make money for the schools, spend a combined $2 million or so on athletics subsidies.

As previously mentioned at CMU Insider, this gap between the large, revenue-making athletic programs in big-time collegiate sports and smaller Division I programs looks poised to grow as new rules dictated by the Power Five conferences come into effect.

For more analysis of the athletics budget:

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