A few weeks ago, The Washington Post ran a story that always gets run this time of year: the amount of money spent on college athletics is staggering, and disproportionate to the amount of money spent on academics. It’s an old narrative that gets trotted out every March to make everyone feel guilty about enjoying sports, but this particular piece took fire at UK specifically. The author, Will Hobson, pointed out that coaching salaries at UK (even for sports other than football and basketball) are rising at a much higher rate than faculty salaries; therefore, the school cares more about sports than academics.
Today, UK provost Tim Tracy, Dean of the College of Arts & Science Mark Kornbluh, and Chair of the Department of Chemistry Mark Meier fired back in an op-ed for the Herald-Leader, defending UK Athletics, which they argue is not only self-sufficient, but helps out academics, most notably in the form of the new $110 million Jacobs Science Building, $65 million of which was funded by the athletic department.
But salaries for coaches have not deterred our progress. In fact, the ability of athletics to fund vital infrastructure on our campus – and pay its own bills entirely – has, in many ways, made us more competitive for academic and research talent, not less.
In fact, the UK Athletics investment in the Jacobs Science Building alone is greater than all the coaches’ salaries combined for multiple years.
There’s a lot more logic where that came from over at the Herald-Leader, so go check it out.