Athletic Spending Increasing Faster Than Academic Spending At UK

Dec 5, 2013

Spending on each athlete at the University of Kentucky increased 10 times faster than spending on the education of each student since 2005.

That’s according to a new study released by the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics.

The report says general academic spending at UK saw a 5 percent increase between 2005 and 2011, but spending on athletes rose by 58 percent. While those numbers might be cause for alarm at other schools, university spokesman Jay Blanton says UK athletics pay their own way.

"The University of Kentucky athletics program is one of a handful of about 20 in the entire country that is truly a self-sustaining program, meaning that no general fund dollars, no state taxpayer dollars go to support UK athletics. It's complete self-sustaining, from the facilities it uses to the scholarships it provides students," Blanton says.

Blanton also points to $1M dollars in annual academic scholarship funding provided by UK athletics along with $65M athletics will provide for debt service on a planned $100M dollar science building.

Amy Perko, executive director of the Knight Commission, says even though UK’s athletics are self-sustaining, they still warrant plenty of scrutiny in the form of more effective disclosure of finances.