The College Version Of The Stadium Game Continues


The University of Florida and the University of Tennessee are spending more than three quarters of a billion dollars for stadium upgrades.

Big time college sports is professional in every way except schools do not pay players a salary. Instead, the schools offer a scholarship in exchange for an athlete’s service and school presidents are trying to put limits on what outsiders can pay so-called student athletes. But as the college football season approaches there are some stadium issues that are being resolved. After all, the trustees at the University of Florida or the University of Tennessee cannot really threaten to move their teams to another city in the stadium game. But the University of Florida is throwing about $400 million into renovations of its football stadium and the University of Tennessee has found money to upgrade its football and its baseball stadiums. The University of Tennessee has located $433 million for its football and baseball venue renovations.

Where is this money coming from might be a question that should be brought up. Both the University of Florida and the University of Tennessee have sort of answered that question but have left some wiggle room in the answers. For instance, will student fees go into the pot of money that has been allocated for the building repairs? How much money will taxpayers fork over to cover reconstruction costs? In the University of Tennessee’s case, some of the money for the two stadium improvements will come from the Tennessee State School Bond Authority School Bonds, plant funds and gifts. Who will pay the debt on the bonds? Big time college sports programs are very costly businesses to run. University of Tennessee trustees claim that the stadium renovations will help pay for themselves by increasing revenue at the stadium. All the renovations will make the stadiums look nicer but the renovations are also designed to extract more money from customers. After all, college sports is a business.

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FILE – Florida head coach Billy Napier (AP Photo/John Bazemore), File