Despite its national rankings and Division I status, the University of Connecticut’s athletic program incurred a $40 million budget deficit, according to the Hartford Courant.
According to the Hartford Courant, even more popular sports incurred debt, with UConn’s football program losing $8.7 million dollars in 2018, men's basketball losing $5 million and women’s basketball losing $3.1 million dollars.
Second-semester mechanical engineering, physics double major and rugby player Peter Stokes said it’s clear to him the money could be better spent.
“Wasting that much money is embarrassing,” Stokes said. “We could get a lot more out of it than through subpar athletics.”
Second-semester economics major Brett Muni said UConn’s emphasis on the football program is prompted by the hiring of David Benedict, “a big football guy.”
“Benedict said the major sources of revenue for UConn athletics are football and basketball. I agree with him that we should [allocate] more of our assets in football and basketball,” Muni said, “But the football team is still not at the level it should be. Hopefully he can fulfill his promise to UConn to bring the football team back, [which] will bring back a lot more revenue.”
Muni disagrees, however, with the notion that UConn students hold part of the responsibility for the program’s lack of success.
Muni references Aspire Group chief operating officer Bill Fagan, who said the challenge of UConn athletics is to, “get the entire state of Connecticut to re-engage with the program”.
“That's not their fault, that just comes from having a bad program,” Muni said, “We need a better program, and that doesn't happen overnight. He’s getting paid a lot of money, we need better players, better coaches and better allocation of his salary, specifically.”
Eighth-semester molecular and cellular biology major Kadeem Sweeney said he is skeptical of UConn’s ability to resurrect its football program.
“We waste a lot of money trying to better ourselves, and it’s just not gonna happen,” Sweeney said.
Grace Burns is campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.