SEC football has been ascendant the past few years. SEC universities? Not so much. Jere Longman wrote before the “Game of the Century” how LSU’s football dominance was masking state budget cuts that forced the university to cut 10 percent of its faculty. The University of Florida is in a similar state, despite the Gators’ football program turning a $44.3 million profit.
Florida cut its state education budget by $300 million. This will result in the loss of $38 million this year for U of F, which has lost a total of $240 million since 2006. To save $1.7 million, the school is scrapping its entire Computer and Information Science and Engineering Dept (This whole technology thing really is just a fad anyway). Students formed a human chain to protest the cuts. The
University of FloridaUniversity Athletic Association (run by the Florida Athletic Director) paid out $550,000 in salary bonuses for coaches leading its 6-6 football team to play in the Gator Bowl.
Schools elsewhere in the SEC are facing a similar situation. Georgia turned a $52.5 million profit on football and things are looking up. The school only had to cut its 2013 budget by $7 million, after a $50 million cut in 2012 and losing 140 faculty members the past three years. South Carolina turned a $35.4 million profit on football, while the university lost $23.4 million in state funding. The university has cut 160 jobs since 2008 and raised tuition by 6.9 percent in 2011.
The scary thing, for higher education, is these are the schools with the most political clout to stave off budget cuts.
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