Tag Archives: data

Digging into the UAB athletics announcement: A look at C-USA and SEC athletic budgets, subsidies and state appropriations

NCAA-logo-aloneThis weekend the group of NCAA Division I FBS conferences known as the “Power 5” and the “autonomy schools” approved long-talked about changes to their Division I governance laws. Reports from this year’s convention via USA Today showed that while they passed, it was not without disagreement.

The “cost of living” amendment passed 79-1 with the lone vote against raising concerns about the residual effects of such a change. It allows for schools to cover incidental costs associated with college in addition to tuition, room, and board. A proposal to allow for student-athletes to be able to receive guaranteed four-year scholarships barely passed, with representatives from the SEC and Big 12 among those arguing against the concept. These votes are significant for UAB as a member of Conference USA given comments made by league commissioner, Britton Banowsky, before the beginning of the academic year suggesting members schools were prepared to pay athletes the full cost of attendance. A look at publicly available numbers tell a different story.

The Chronicle of Higher Education published a report in March 2014 titled “An Era of Neglect.” The accompanying database was the one referenced by Yellowhammer News in the post published in September and cited previously in this series. Below is a table showing data compiled from both that database and one maintained by USA Today since 2005 showing revenues, expenses, and subsidies for public colleges and universities participating in collegiate sports. Ours extracts data from the USA Today database while adding two additional pieces — the percentage of the overall budget for the institution compromised of state appropriations and the change of percentage between where it was in 1987 and in 2012 — from the Chronicle for Higher Education’s database. A decision was made to focus on member schools in both Southeastern Conference and Conference USA to provide context and perspective. Adding the numbers in the last two columns together (and remembering to add the number in the last column instead of subtracting, so, for example, taking 29.9 and 26.1 — and NOT -26.1 — for Florida) will give you will allow you to determine the institution’s total state appropriation in 1987 (56% for our example).

SchoolTotal RevenueTotal ExpensesTotal Subsidy% Subsidy% overall budget from state, 2012% +/- 1987-2012
Ole Miss$73,390,050$71,315,807$3,831,5985.2227.7-19.7
Miss. State$62,764,025$57,362,224$3,000,0004.7836.7-12.0
Texas A&M$93,957,906$85,114,588$590,9730.6332.5-16.9
Florida Atlantic$24,538,411$21,967,412$16,590,46867.6149.4-23.2
LA Tech$18,570,493$18,444,386$9,214,68249.6237.6-14.2
Middle TN St.$27,667,552$28,716,516$19,613,16170.8925.6-41.6
UNC Charlotte$26,681,829$26,122,465$18,667,99469.9750.3-17.0
North Texas$28,800,436$28,926,470$17,628,42661.2134.2-29.1
Old Dominion$36,929,483$35,561,455$27,089,35873.3543.8-16.5
Southern Miss$22,776,416$22,399,056$9,802,77443.0435.9-15.0

It’s worth noting that UAB saw the smallest reduction in state appropriations among the schools with records available (both Vanderbilt and Rice are private institutions). They received the third lowest state appropriation percentage-wise in C-USA while providing more than 64% in subsidies to athletics (the sixth highest amount by percentage in the conference). There are also four member schools in C-USA in 2013 with expenses exceeding revenue (Marshall, Middle Tennessee St., UT-San Antonio, and Western Kentucky). The school with the second highest subsidy by percentage in C-USA (Old Dominion, 73.35%) is one of three in Virginia that may be specifically affected by proposed legislation mandating that its 15 state-funded institutions derive no more than 70% of their athletic budgets from student fees and other subsidies from their general budgets. Schools participating in the Football bowl Subdivision would not be able to spend more than 20%, meaning they could potentially be forced to withdraw from C-USA (as reported late last week on PilotOnline.com). It would also prevent student fees and tuition from being raised solely for the purpose of funding athletics.

It makes sense to revisit NCAA president Mark Emmert’s comments after the announcement of the discontinuation of three athletic teams at UAB — via video — and in light of the collected data.

CORRECTION – 5:15 p.m., 1/19/2015: An earlier version of this post stated that UAB had the eighth highest athletic subsidy in Conference USA. It has the sixth highest.

Which university reigns supreme? TIME decides to build a web app for that

UAvsAUToday a screenshot has been making the rounds (via TIME’s Twitter account and this AL.com story) showing the results of a digital comparison between the University of Alabama and Auburn University. The web app that’s come to this conclusion is thanks to the intrepid folks at TIME Magazine. The publication recently redesigned their website using the WordPress.com VIP platform, adding more interactive features.

With all the talk about Alabama vs. Auburn, especially after the buzz surrounding yesterday’s announcement of the hiring of Bruce Pearl down on the Plains, we were wondering how the local state institution, UAB, would do. So, we checked to see if they were included in the list of alma maters being used, and they were.

The good news is the Blazers are closer in influence to Auburn than we are to the folks in Tuscaloosa. We’ll let the pictures speak for themselves though. First, UAB vs. Alabama:


Now, UAB vs. Auburn:


Granted, the algorithm being used to determine this is based on the length of entries associated with those of the “107,408 living people whose Wikipedia profiles list at least one alma mater in the U.S.” who actually attended the schools in question. That said, they’re encouraging your help in making sure the listings provide the most accurate results possible (see the bottom of this post for details).

What is Virtual Alabama?

Virtual Alabama logoEarlier today, al.com/The Birmingham News reported about the called work session for the Birmingham Board of Education scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m. One of the items to be discussed is Virtual Alabama.

So, what is it?

The service has operated internally since 2006 (and publicly since late 2007), a project that’s grown out of the state’s department of homeland security. It’s built on Google Earth’s enterprise solution, meaning it’s pretty powerful. It’s access is limited to local, county, and state government offices and associated agencies.

What is it capable of doing?

Perhaps this video created in 2008 by Google Business as a case study can help shed some light on what it’s done already – and maybe get folks to imagine just what the potential importance to the state will be as it continues to be refined.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a-1I0JTWiIY?w=625]

A post published on the Google Enterprise blog back in 2009 touts how its gone on to serve as an inspiration to other states. The platform has received increased attention recently, in part due to the tragedy in Newtown, CT, and its ability to help officials craft a school safety systems for districts statewide. It’s something already utilized by the University of Montevallo.

How rich or poor is your block?

Rich Blocks, Poor Blocks   Neighborhood income maps of U.S. cities-120115That’s the question this recently launched web app attempts to help you answer. Rich Blocks, Poor Blocks uses the U.S. Census Bureau’s definitions for median household income and the results of the 2006-2010 American Community Survey to create a visual representation for you. Clicking on any point on the map will provide you with the information, while the state’s median income in 2010 dollars is visible in the lower right corner.

The map can be searched either by metro area or by specific address. It’s interesting to note the range of median household incomes throughout metro Birmingham. It’s also been an eye-opening experience to see the commentary accompanying the sharing of the site in other cities across the country, including Dallas, TX (courtesy of the folks at FrontBurner); Washington, DC (by way of The Daily Viz); and Berkley, CA (via the fine folks at Berkleyside).

The tracts are somewhat misleading if you’re looking at it for trends. Besides recognized issues with the margin of error contained in the data used, there’s also the fact that some of these tracts just don’t have that many residences inside their boundaries. The map shows Census tract 27 in Jefferson County as having a median household income of $15,806. The tract includes Birmingham’s central business district, Railroad Park, the BJCC and the city’s automotive district; it also includes the city’s loft district.

It’s still a pretty powerful image and one worth exploring on your own.