Higher ed bubble watch, has-its-own-Fark-tag edition

We note with horrified interest that the University of Florida is eviscerating its computing science department.  This will — in theory — allow UF to save $1.7 million, which almost covers the increase in the Gators’ athletics budget.

So what’s going on here?  From that second article:

  • It is projected that Gator Boosters will contribute $36 million to the UAA this school year.
  • Southeastern Conference revenue, TV contracts and bowl games are projected to bring Florida $17 million in the 2011-12 school year.
  • Equipment contracts will pay the UAA, the athletic operating arm of the program, $1.6 million. Florida expects football to generate $19.7 million in revenue from ticket sales this coming season and basketball, $2 million, while licensing and multi-media agreements are forecast to contribute another combined $12.7 million.


The budget also includes the $6 million donation that the Athletic Association recently pledged to the University. It is also a safe bet that, since the Athletic Association is in business to make a profit, when the final revenue numbers are released, one can fully expect to see Florida’s 2011-12 athletic revenues easily top $100 million. Without looking at the numbers, I’m going to guess that Texas and maybe Ohio State will make slightly more than the Gators, as usual.

That’s big money.  Is UF more of a crypto-pro sports franchise than an Institute of Higher Learning these days?

This looks to me like another manifestation of the principal-agent-agent problem (state-funded universities are supposed to provide accessible education to residents, but the incentives under which they operate point towards “amateur” NCAA sports and mooching off of alumni instead), but then again the principal-agent problem is my new favourite hammer so of course everything looks like a nail.


1 Response to “Higher ed bubble watch, has-its-own-Fark-tag edition”

  1. April 24, 2012 at 07:46

    I dunno, overall I see it as a potential net good. UF wants to be a school for folks who would likely have their IQs improved by prefrontal lobotomy and focus on their sports franchise (ok, I might be a touch bigoted towards “sports” people) and not be bothered with, y’know, academics. Which in turn allows some other CS departments somewhere else to potentially pick up some good instructors. Thereby likely increasing the overall concentration of CS instructors somewhere they can actually do some good.

    And UF can concentrate on running their ball players through advanced underwater basketweaving degrees.

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