Longtime women’s athletic subsidy pads UW sports profits

The Seattle TimesFebruary 24, 2014 

HUSKY STADIUM

The view from the southwest viewing deck as seen during a media tour of new facilities for the football team and major renovations of Husky Stadium at University of Washington in Seattle, August 28, 2013.

PETER HALEY — Staff photographer

When the book closed on the 2013 fiscal year last July, the University of Washington’s athletics department once again counted itself as a member of an elite club.

It’s among only about two dozen sports departments of 228 NCAA Division 1 public schools that reported generating enough money to cover its own expenses, annual reports submitted to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) show.

In fact, the UW Department of Intercollegiate Athletics — bolstered by a resurgent Huskies football team and its cut of Pac-12 TV revenues — posted its best figures in the past decade, reaping a record $8.9 million profit last year.

But at a time when state colleges in Washington grapple for their share of public funding while higher education costs steadily escalate, the UW continues to subsidize its athletics department with annual funding.

Much like the department’s overall revenues, financial reports show a rising trend line in “direct institutional support” — a yearly grant from the school to athletics that has ballooned by 129 percent since 2005, climbing to $3.3 million last year.

So why does the UW give money to a sports department that doesn’t seem to need it?

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