This is not a shocker at all, but there is a group of academia types that feel that building a brand new on-campus stadium for the Colorado St. Rams is not worth it. The stadium is expected to cost between $100 - $200 million all from privately and not cost the taxpayers or students any of their money.
Even with that a group called Save Our Stadium, Hughes is holding a public forum on Jan. 25 to argue that Colorado State is moving too quickly to get rid of Hughes Stadium in favor of the new proposed on-campus stadium. Group spokesman Bob Vangermeersch is saying that schools are placing athletics above education, and wants to "inject sanity into the plans."
CSU professor Deborah Shulman called football "little more than expensive entertainment" and said the university would be better served getting private donors to support academics. Shulman also sent a letter to the Coloradoan voicing her position:
"We are told the CSU administration will raise the millions needed to build the stadium from private donations. If they can spend the vast amounts of time, energy and money required to chase a limited number of big donors, why can't they make the same effort for academics?" Shulman asked in her letter. "CSU should build its national reputation and attract students and alumni donors by investing in its educational and research missions. It could try much harder to find alternatives to state funding that would restore and expand the scientific research, artistic accomplishment and teaching programs that already make CSU an enormous asset for the whole region. CSU could start by investing in the people who make all of this happen. Instead, they want a stadium on campus."
That is all good and well and really should be done to improve the academics of their school, but weighing the exposure of a great education towards the exposure of a winning football program is not even close. A school can pump in $50 million a year from various donors toward educational programs but the exposure from that would take years to see a benefit from prospective students. Not a lot of high school students read those top 100 schools lists in magazines to look at the jump a school has made or where schools rank to make their choice.
However, it is a proven fact that the better a school does in a sport the more attention and money it receives. Butler, VCU and Belmont all received more visits and applicants after performing well in the NCAA tournament:
Butler reported a 41 percent rise in admissions applications and a 35 percent rise in visits in the year after its first national title game appearance. Visits to the VCU undergraduate admissions site nearly tripled the Sunday the Rams beat Kansas last March to advance to their first-ever Final Four. Heck, even Belmont points to its one-point first-round NCAA tournament loss to Duke in 2008 as the biggest reason the school received more than 3,000 applications for fall enrollment that year.
Applications cost money so the school does get money toward the education side of things and the more people they get to visit the school is a chance to show off their academic facilities. It is not the same as getting $100 million toward the chemistry or biology lab, but without football which supports all other sports there would be less people at this university to teach.
Also, the main fact is that alumni spend money on hats, shirts, jerseys or whatever type of memorabilia because their schools succeeds in sports. They are not many alumni buying a Colorado State shirt because a professor won an award, so that is the difference in going hard for donations towards athletics versus academics.