Eastern Michigan Evaluating Whether To Keep Football

By Ty Duffy

An HBO Real Sports episode on college athletics spending is featuring Eastern Michigan. An EMU regent told CBS Detroit the school is “evaluating” its commitment to football but is “not at the point of making a decision.”

"“That’s a fair question,” Stapleton said. “That is one of the things we are evaluating but we are not at the point of making a decision now. You get into football because you believe if you win you will have a school pride experience, increased enrollment and development. When you don’t win those things don’t happen and it has not happened (at EMU) for a while. It starts in that you examine everything. This is the process we are going through at this time.”"

An EMU professor told CBS Detroit the athletic department has lost $52 million the past two seasons. Eagles football home games drew 29,381 fans in 2015, total. That’s despite a pilot program to sell beer. The professor estimates the program is costing $1,000 per student. The Eagles have won more than two games once in the past seven years.

Worryingly, for those who enjoy mid-week football, EMU is not that much of an outlier in the MAC. Eight of the 12 MAC athletic department in USA Today’s data received 69 percent or more of revenue from subsidies. The lowest was Toledo at 57 percent, which still received more than $15 million in subsidies.

Schools themselves are facing dramatic budget cuts. The cost of football will go up, as resources only become more disproportionately assigned. Cutting football is a decision many “have nots” may have to face moving forward.