The cooked books of big-time athletic departments show that schools barely break even at best on their athletics budgets. This is often used as evidence that paying athletes is untenable. What it conveniently glosses over is the unbelievable amount of already-existing money being more or less set on fire that, under a sensible system, would go directly to the athletes. Enormous coaching staff salaries, bloated NCAA compliance teams, and lavish practice facilities are just some of the ways universities divert their industry’s billions of dollars into the pockets of everyone but the athletes themselves.
USA Today has a revealing story on one of the trendy ways athletic departments are draining off hundreds of thousands of dollars from their coffers: big ol’ stickers. The stickers—or in more corporate-friendly terms, branded graphics—are used to decorate the already opulent athletics-specific facilities players spend so much of their time in. Think more elaborate Fathead graphics that commemorate all sorts of things like championship-winning teams, notable former players, and even just the program itself.