HBO Real Sports - Rutgers sucks, and so does EMU

Submitted by The Mad Hatter on April 20th, 2016 at 1:05 PM

Did anyone else catch Real Sports the other night?  They did a piece about the massive amounts of money Rutgers (and EMU) are wasting on athletics, football in particular.

It was pretty great.  Rutgers has lost $312 million over the past decade and EMU $52 million over just the past two years.


Michigan wasn't mentioned but the piece did refer to a "couple dozen" programs that make money or at least break even.



April 20th, 2016 at 1:13 PM ^

I've never understood EMU not dropping down to FCS or even division II as they're up against a heavyweight in their own local area.  With the scale of those losses it seems to make even less sense.  Rutgers at least has potential to do better.  



April 20th, 2016 at 3:19 PM ^

But dropping to FCS isn't that great since joining any conference other than the Pioneer Leauge (no football scholarships) would result in increased travel costs vs the MAC.  Plus you have to imagine that as an FCS school they probably won't get as many payday games as they do as and FBS school.


April 20th, 2016 at 2:15 PM ^

Because a team like Michigan or Ohio State won't pay as much for an FCS team to come to their stadium to play as opposed to an FBS team. When I was a student there I never went to the games, and really didn't know anybody else who did. I took my son when he was 3 to a game and we walked through an open gate and they never asked for tickets. I felt so guilty I bought a bunch of stuff from the concession stand. They really shouldn't even have a program.


April 20th, 2016 at 2:35 PM ^

- First, people like athletics, even when it is fiscally dumb. There are literally thousands of examples (e.g., giving Mike Ilitch, a multi-billionaire, over $200 million in tax money to build his arena, which will make him even more rich).

- Second, EMU considers it's comparable schools CMU, WMU, Ball State, Toledo -- all of which are in the MAC. It would be a considerable hit to pride if EMU says, "Well, we're really more like Ferris State or Saginaw Valley.

I agree EMU needs to suck it up and fix football. Trust me, that day is coming, whether the regents like it or not.


April 20th, 2016 at 1:18 PM ^

First off, fuck Jim Stapleton. Imagine Brandon without the charm. Why he is a regent I have no clue. Unfortunately EMU's regents are appointed and not elected like UM's.

Secondly, hell yes they should drop to a lower level or the sport altogether. They don't have the support to play at this level.

Leaders And Best

April 20th, 2016 at 1:40 PM ^

Michigan and MSU's system of statewide elected trustees/regents is pretty ridiculous. I don't think that position should be politicized and at the mercy of the political parties. The university should control the method in how their trustees are appointed.

MSU's board of trustees has now become a football booster club with a former football coach, 2 former players, and a big-time booster making up half the board.


April 20th, 2016 at 2:23 PM ^

Stapleton was appointed (twice) by former Gov. Granholm. What does he do for a living? Well, he's a lawyer (formerly at one of the biggest firms in Michigan) who has parlayed his skills into helping other people (who are not as politcally connected) get public funds.

How do I know connections are his value? Here's his company's "website":

In other words, he doesn't have one. Not a Facebook page, Twitter account -- nothing. Why have a public presence when all the deals you are involved in are behind closed doors?


April 20th, 2016 at 2:31 PM ^

The working number is that EMU atheltics is about $11 million in the hole, each year.


Not included in that $11 million are the price of scholarships, which also come from the general fund, so that's another $8 million a year.

Plus, there was $4 million for the practice bubble (which I'm guessing comes from another fund) and I'm sure other costs. So that's at least $20 million a year.

I'm not sure where he got $52 million/2 years, but he is correct that EMU students (which number about 21,000) definitely pay about $1000, per year, in an atheltic "tax."




April 20th, 2016 at 1:22 PM ^

That's $26MM a YEAR?!?!

The numbers in this article are slightly dated (June 2013), but a $10.73MM operating budget and $7.1MM in athlete scholarships still only sum to $17.83MM in expenses.  And even if EMU's revenue isn't great, it's not zero either.  Football buy games, MAC distributions, the few people who attend sporting games, they have a deal with Pepsi where Pepsi buys a whole bunch of football tickets every other year (to help with FBS football attendance requirements).

So --- how does that math work?  Maybe it's cost-of-attendance, but still --- $26MM?…


April 20th, 2016 at 1:35 PM ^

I do agree with you, fundamentally EMU should be a FCS school.  Football in the MVFC, Olympic Sports in the Horizon.  

But these numbers seem exaggerated to "strengthen" a point.  Being honest and saying ~$10MM per year (seems more likely) makes the same point.


April 20th, 2016 at 3:54 PM ^

yes, it's no scholarship --- but that league literally ranges from San Diego to Jacksonville to Des Moines to Upstate New York!  The USD Toreros had 4 cross-country road trips each of the last 2 years: how do they budget that?!?

If it is clustered anywhere, the league is clustered in the Ohio Valley area (Valpo, Drake, Butler, Dayton, Morehead State).  But the other half of the league would still be a plane trip for EMU.  I think 1/3 of the MVFC (the Dakota schools) would be a plane trip if EMU joined.


April 20th, 2016 at 5:09 PM ^

no the entire MAC and every other non P5 should be dropped to FCS. They are systematically denied any chance to compete for a title, ever since 1984. This isn't little league and there's no "participation award" like 5th grade science fair. Compete where you're allowed to compete, or don't bother. Evidently many can see that or else the attendance wouldn't be so awful. Costs isn't the only reason to drop


April 20th, 2016 at 5:18 PM ^

Where do you draw the line with independents?  ND is clearly a P5 and Army is clearly not, is BYU a P5?  Are UCONN, Cincy, and USF just unlucky that they couldn't convince a P5 conference to take them like other former big east programs Pitt, Louisville, WVU, and Syracuse did?


April 20th, 2016 at 2:59 PM ^

greatly inflates the numbers.  While there are some out of pocket costs that go with a scholarship, counting tuition, room and board and fees is misleading at a school like EMU.  It is not that the football players are taking spots that would otherwise go to others who would be full-paying students.  Everyone who wants to go to Eastern can get in.   Eastern is not missing any student generated revenue by having a football team.


April 20th, 2016 at 1:22 PM ^

$25-30 million per year to support those teams? That is insane. If I were an EMU student, I would be pretty upset about my tuition money funding the football program. If I were a Rutgers student, I'd be pretty upset about...well, life, I guess.


April 20th, 2016 at 1:35 PM ^

There's really no accountability on these terrible decisions (usually the big line items are unnecessary facilities upgrades) because it's mostly donor money being put to poor use and AD staff move on before the shit hits the fan (if it ever does).

Outside of the schools that actually make money, FBS institutions are generally hurting their academic mission to chase the dream of football glory that will never come.


April 20th, 2016 at 1:36 PM ^

It's hard to imagine a school the size of Eastern Michigan willing to sustain the hit it takes on athletics and the football program in particular forever, or at least I think so. We had the latest financial high-level figures in a thread the other day, and revisiting EMU's numbers, you see $33,956, 234 in revenue and expenses (same figure for both) which is bolstered by about an 80% subsidy, so the actual take would be about $5.7 million without the subsidy. That's pretty hideous - all the MAC schools have highly subsidized departments, but not all of them are in as uniquely a bad position as EMU when it comes to typical on-field performance - historic and present - of the football team. 

N. Campus Tech

April 20th, 2016 at 1:43 PM ^

The article states that the EMU Athletic Department lost $52 million. How much would they have lost if there was no football program?

The author implies that the loss is due to the football program, but provides no evidence to support this.

Also, if EMU drops football, they are also going to drop 85 women's scholarships to keep the numbers even.


April 20th, 2016 at 2:16 PM ^

The point of Title IX is to encourage the support of women's sports, which are less profitable for the University. There's no need to mandate equality in favor of men because there's no incentive for schools to go in that direction.


April 20th, 2016 at 1:56 PM ^

I thought a big issue
Was that the university charges the athletic department usage fees and that they can make the athletic department make or owe money based on this, whichever is to their advantage.

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Perkis-Size Me

April 20th, 2016 at 2:09 PM ^

I didn't need HBO to tell me that Rutgers and EMU suck. All I needed was a set of eyeballs, a TV and some common sense. 

But in all seriousness, I was unaware that EMU had that kind of money to begin with. They're pretty much the real-life version of the SCLSU Mud Dogs.