Erica Blom, Research Associate at the Urban Institute, used National Collegiate Athletic Association data to calculate how many more students colleges could fund if they got rid of athletics. In her Urban Wire blog on the topic, she calculates, based on various assumptions, that colleges could fund at least an additional 200,000 scholarships. She shows that college sports bring in money for only a small number of colleges and that for the majority it actually costs – a lot. Costs include coaching and other staff, athletic scholarships, and facilities and overhead, as well as travel, uniforms, and snacks for athletes.
This is well in line with earlier signals that the main reasons that tuition fees in the US are so much higher than full cost tuition in Europe or Canada have little or nothing to do with the costs of education – because the money is simply not spent on education.