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Report: Tar Heels Have No. 1 Sewn Up – in Sports Fundraising

Posted October 1, 2007

When it comes to money raised or pledged to athletics, a recent survey by the Chronicle of Higher Education shows the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is at the top of the list, ahead of any other university across the nation.

With 28 varsity sports, the university is one of the country's largest athletic programs. It raised $51 million in pledges or donations for athletics last year, alone.

"I think it's a matter of competition," said Walter Sturdivant, former UNC football player and general manager of Tar Heel Talk radio station WCHL-AM.

"We're also talking about a matter of reality. It is reality that the demand to have winning teams is there," he said. "And players want to play for a winning program."

A new high-priced football coach and new facilities fueled those dollar amounts last year.

Former University of North Carolina system President Bill Friday calls the economic emphasis dangerous.

"We've got it now to where athletics are part of the culture of the country," he said. "We're not an entertainment institution, we're not a commercialization institution where they come to. We're supposed to be a teaching school."

The trend has the attention of the National Collegiate Athletic Association, which recently announced that only six universities bring in more than they spend on athletics.

That is the premise of the Chronicle report – that while some universities are posting higher athletic donations, academic donations remain flat.

That, however, does not hold true for UNC-Chapel Hill. Academic fundraising is also on the rise, with its current campaign raising a record $2.2 billion.

"You have runaway pricing going on, when it comes not merely to what you're paying for the facilities, but what you're making fans pay to get into those facilities," said Hodding Carter, a member of the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics.

Even though big-money sports, like basketball and football, help pay for all varsity sports, Carter said he believes the system of raising more money will collapse and that a scandal will end the competitive dollar race.

He believes the schools' priorities are "completely out of whack" when it comes to athletic fundraising and spending.

Among other ACC schools, North Carolina State University placed 14th on the list, with more than $27 million in donations received last year. Duke placed 17th, with nearly $25.5 million.


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  • UNCalumnus Oct 3, 2007

    I choose to donate to both my particular school's fund campaign and the athletic program. I want to do my part to help the aspirations of excellence in both endeavours. I'll prbably even increase my donation next year out of sheer enthusiasm about the possibilites. Go Heels!!

  • Riddickfield Oct 3, 2007

    I guess the state doesn't have to subsidise the Dean dome anymore. Lets take that million dollars a year they pay for upkeep on that building off the state ledger. Apparently UNC athletics is flush with money, so lets stop wasting the taxpayers money by subsidising rich people's basketball tickets. I remember the Rams club saying that the building wouldn't cost the taxpayers one cent when they built it. They were right, its cost us a million dollars a year since it was built.

  • elcid89 Oct 2, 2007

    "I heard Carolina's new motto is this:

    "The University of North Carolina -- Graduating convenience store managers since 1793!"

    May I ask as to where you graduated from?

  • TruthBKnown Oct 2, 2007

    I heard Carolina's new motto is this:

    "The University of North Carolina -- Graduating convenience store managers since 1793!"

  • elcid89 Oct 2, 2007

    "Hey! The fine folks a UNJ-D have discovered the world wide web!


    I was just reading that. Color me having been completely wrong on that one. I have no idea why I thought that. Possibly the prior "Trinity" name?

    (That's not nice, LOL. They prefer to be called Rutgers - South Campus.)

    We just call them SUNY-D. "Hey, Sunny Dee!"


  • tiredofgovtwaste Oct 2, 2007

    Why do you think that the chancellor started the fund raiser for academics (Carolina First)? To keep the NCAA from looking at the athletic funds and to allow students who grew up in a welfare home to attend. If we applied as much money to educating all of the students at a 3.0 as we do to making sure that the athlete passes as 2.5, our nation would be better off.

  • IfByWhiskey-a-go-go Oct 2, 2007

    Let's all go down to the Dean Dome and politely clap......

  • Michael Kenyon Oct 2, 2007

    Hey! The fine folks a UNJ-D have discovered the world wide web!


  • elcid89 Oct 2, 2007

    "I always wondered about that at a Methodist school (and don't get me started about demons and Baptists)."

    Didn't Duke start life as an Episcopalian school?

    (and kudos to Wake - when confronted by the attempts by the SBC to impose all sorts of limitations on academic freedom, Wake had the fortitude to politely show them the door and disassociate itself rather than bend to the pressure. I love them for that.)

  • Michael Kenyon Oct 2, 2007

    "after all we do have a devil for a mascot"

    I always wondered about that at a Methodist school (and don't get me started about demons and Baptists).

    I think that's analogous to the preachers' kids having a reputation for trouble - compensation.