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Dr. Saturday

Researchers show students subsidizing college sports at alarming rates in some conferences

Dr. Saturday

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(USA Today Sports Images)

Billion dollar media rights deals and packed stadiums and arenas have protected students at most of the power conference schools from forking over big bucks in student fees for athletics, but their counterparts at schools in lesser conferences haven't been so lucky.

This isn't exactly shocking information, but it's another interesting look at how uneven the playing field is in college athletics and the folly of some of the little guys trying to keep pace. It provides more ammunition for those who say it's time for another division for the schools with the biggest budgets.

According to research reported in this Bloomberg story, students paid more than $2 billion in student fees for athletics two years ago at only the 227 NCAA Division I public institutions. The research done by Jeff Smith at South Carolina Upstate showed students at schools in power conferences with better academic reputations paid far less in fees than those at schools in other conferences struggling to keep up with the big boys,

While all students pay the fees, only a small percentage participating on intercollegiate athletic teams actually benefit.

Research done at Ohio University by David Ridpath found that students had little knowledge of how much they were paying in fees for athletics.

Some of these students are taking out loans to pay for their education and they aren't happy to learn they're paying more than $1,500 annually at some schools toward athletics fees.

Smith's research showed the students at the six public schools in the Big South were paying 25 times more in student fees than their peers at the public schools in the Big Ten. That is bound to make writing that student loan payment a little more painful each month.

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