Archive for Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Heard on the Hill: USA Today releases lists of athletic department spending; KU author Laura Moriarty pens new book; researcher finds being outside helps you think better

May 30, 2012


Your daily dose of news, notes and links from around Kansas University.

USA Today released earlier this month its annual list of expenditures and revenues in big-time college sports.

KU’s athletics corporation brought in $74.8 million in revenue and spent just under $72 million.

One interesting bit from the report is that contributions to athletics seem to have fallen off since 2008, when they took in $37 million. In 2010, that had fallen to $16.2 million (you remember what was going on in 2010, right?). In 2011, the year this report was taken, contributions had gone back up to $18.8 million.

There may be some reason to question those contribution figures, however. One thing that raised a few eyebrows back when this data was released was the seemingly huge profit margins Kansas State was seeing, as they reported $69.9 million in revenue and $46 million in expenses.

“We had a great year, but we didn’t put $23 million in the bank,” assistant athletic director Kenny Lannou told the Kansas City Star. “We’re probably in the neighborhood of a $3-$4-million cash surplus.”

He told the paper that several large contributions were actually pledges that will be distributed over several years and were listed as one-time donations on the report.

• Thanks to a few tipsters who alerted me to some reviews of a new book written by Laura Moriarty, a local author and KU creative writing assistant professor.

USA Today named her as a “Hot summer author” in this one, because “Downton Abbey” actress Elizabeth McGovern narrates the audiobook of the upcoming “The Chaperone,” which is due to be released on June 5.

The newspaper offered a brief description of the plot:

“In 1922, Louise Brooks, the Kansas teenager who will be transformed into a star of the silent screen, travels to New York for dance lessons accompanied by Cora Carlisle, a middle-aged chaperone who has hidden motives for taking the trip.”

They also mention that Cora is the name of the character McGovern plays on Downton Abbey (and, yes, I’ll admit I’ve actually seen an episode or two of the PBS show). Moriarty said if she’d realized that she probably would have chosen a new name.

• Apparently, being outside is good for the noggin.

That’s a lesson learned from an upcoming paper from KU psychologist Ruth Ann Atchley that was mentioned in the Wall Street Journal recently.

She measured the “mental benefits of hiking in the middle of nowhere,” by partnering with the nonprofit Outward Bound, which apparently takes people on those sojourns to the middle of nowhere.

The results? Hikers in the middle of nature showed a nearly 50 percent increase in their performance on a standard test of creativity, the newspaper reported.

"There's a growing advantage over time to being in nature," Atchley told the newspaper. "We think that it peaks after about three days of really getting away, turning off the cellphone. It's when you have an extended period of time surrounded by that softly fascinating environment that you start seeing all kinds of positive effects in how your mind works."

• OK, so this time, everyone should go outside before thinking up all those tips you’re going to send me at That way, they’ll be super-creative and stuff.


repaste 5 years, 9 months ago

"Student fees: Fees assessed to support athletics. Schools funds: Includes both direct and indirect support from the university, including state funds, tuition, tuition waivers etc. as well as federal Work Study amounts for athletes. It also includes university-provided support such as administrative costs, facilities and grounds maintenance, security, risk management, utilities, depreciation and debt service." So they did not run a profit, they are heavily subsidized with our tax dollars. Tax dollars go to coaches.

Jack Martin 5 years, 9 months ago

At KU no tax dollars go to pay coaches.

Jack Martin 5 years, 9 months ago

I don't have a separate breakout of tax dollars, but can tell you that the university funds that go to Kansas Athletics are largely to cover maintenance and custodial services, as well as a portion of the AD's salary (for purposes of institutional control).

Even after this, the net benefit Kansas Athletics provided to the university through things like licensing revenue and tuition for student-athletes was $12.6 million in FY 2010.

thinkinganalytically 5 years, 9 months ago

If you are going to claim tuition as a benefit from athletics to the university, then the contribution of the athletic corporation does not come close to the benefit provided by non-NCAA athletics at Kansas and a small fraction of the benefits provided by non athletes.

When you say net benefit, do you mean the difference between the payment of tuition to the university and the cost to the university of educating NCAA athletes or did you leave the cost part out of the calculation?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 8 months ago

How would the taxpayers do net if we considered the property and sales taxes not collected on and at $multi-million facilities used by coaches and administrators in what is an extremely profitable venture?

repaste 5 years, 9 months ago

Even tax free donations are loss of tax dollars.

Mike George 5 years, 9 months ago

Just as every breath you take contains oxygen we could be using to grow useful, green plants.

thinkinganalytically 5 years, 9 months ago


Money is fungible. Tax dollars that go to pay for administrative costs, utilities, etc. free up non-tax dollars to pay coaches. You are making a distinction that is not meaningful.

The real injustice is that some students are forced to take out loans in order to pay student fees to support the athletic corporation. It is a transfer from the relatively poor to the relatively rich.

repaste 5 years, 9 months ago

If the tax dollars pay the electric bill, the secretaries, etc., then they are freeing money to go to coaches. No problem - just truth.

repaste 5 years, 9 months ago

"depreciation and debt service" = Stadiums, offices. " federal Work Study amounts for athletes" = Anyone know? "athlete "paychecks"?

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