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Report: U of M spends nearly $200,000 a year per football player

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A report released earlier this month is estimating the University of Minnesota spent just under $200,000 for each scholarship football player from 2011.

According to the Knight Commission report, the University of Minnesota spent $199,826 annually for each scholarship football player.

The commission report totals the expenses of running a major division one football program.

The Star Tribune reports even the $1.92 million in salary and benefits paid to the Gophers head coach was factored in, those costs are about $22,556 dollars per player for Jerry Kill and former Gopher coach Tim Brewster.

Other expenses included are $8,393 for the lodging and meals associated with team travel; $6,510 dollars for equipment and $12,402 to pay the wages, benefits and bonuses for the football program's support staff.

According to the commission, the primary goal of the database is to enable administrators, researchers, policymakers, taxpayers, fans, and others to compare trends in spending on core academic activities with spending on athletics in public Division I institutions.

William E. "Brit" Kirwan, chancellor of the University of Maryland and co-chairman of the Commission said, "College athletics has the potential for so much good, but the current trajectory of spending is unsustainable. We already see levels of spending at some universities that require them to divert substantial resources from their core academic responsibilities."

What is startling about the Knight Commission report is that the University of Minnesota is below the median for the Big Ten. The median amount spent in Big 10 Conference schools is over $210,000 per football player.

At the high end, the commission says Ohio State spends over $456,000 on each of its football players.

The report also shows how much each of the institutions spent per full-time equivalent student. The report says the U of M invested $20,688 per student. That is more than the Big 10 median which is just under $19,000, according to the Knight Commission report.

"We are hopeful this online database will help university leaders and policymakers develop practices and policies that bring better balance to athletic expenditures within the broader institutional missions,” said Kirwan.

According to the Star Tribune, despite the high costs Gopher football remains a big moneymaker for the university. Football operating expenses totaled $16.9 million in 2011, while revenue for the year was $30.5 million. Football was even more profitable in 2012, expenses were $16.2 million and revenue was twice as much at around $33 million.

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