February 12th, 2019 | by CollegeAD

UConn’s $41 million athletic department deficit might not be quite as bad as it sounds, say economists who have studied college sports accounting. Economists have often argued that accounting practices, particularly surrounding scholarship “costs,” often exaggerate athletic departments’ expenses while understating revenue, and that sports offer schools an array of benefits that don’t show up in a financial statement. After adjusting for those factors, economist Andy Schwarz said recently, UConn’s athletic department is still likely in the red and still behind most other major sports schools, but its deficit no longer seems so dramatic. When Schwarz says athletics are worth “a little bit of money” to major universities, he means $10-20 million, the amount that an average Division I school pays each year to maintain an athletic department, not the hefty $41 million figure that UConn spends. Still, Schwarz said, UConn’s official financial statement almost certainly overstates its deficit, due in part to accounting practices used in athletic departments across the country. -Alex Putterman, courant. Read More.

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