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February 3, 2009 - College athletics in Indiana deal with tight budgets

A recent article in the Indianapolis Star identified some of the cost pressures facing college athletic departments in the state of Indiana. Purdue University and Indiana University are adjusting the price for tickets to their football and men’s basketball games. In some instances, travel costs are also being trimmed in an effort to save money. The article was precipitated by an announcement from Stanford University that it projected a $5 million loss to its athletic revenue over the next three years. What makes Stanford unique is that its athletic department relies heavily on its endowment, which has seen significant reduction during the current economic struggle.

At Purdue University, the athletic department reduced travel expenses for its football team and postponed replacing several employees in an effort to trim expenses due to lost football revenue. The budget woes are compounded at Indiana University with a lack of success in the two major sports. According to the article, IU has cut prices of balcony tickets to men’s basketball games from $23 to $5. The IU athletic department is concerned that the tickets would not be purchased for the remainder of this year while the school endures its worst men’s basketball record in recent memory. IU athletic director Fred Glass stated they may consider a price cut in football as well, where they averaged 31,500 fans last season.

However, at Notre Dame, football remains king, where it sold 81,000 tickets per home game – a difference of 300,000 more tickets sold than at Stanford University.