University Town: The High Price of College Athletics

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The Roger Holler Champions Training Complex at FSU is an elite gym with custom-built equipment and more than ten tons of free weights, all for use by FSU student athletes and staff.

FSU Deputy Athletics Director Kellie Elliott says, "FSU's athletics is one of the very few athletic programs where it self-sustains."

Funded by the success of FSU's sports teams. Officials say the cash flow comes from ticket sales, the ACC conference, TV contracts, sponsorship dollars, and a small portion comes from student fees.

But the athletics department does get $350,000 from FSU to help pay scholarships for international students.

"But we do have a substantial scholarship bill." says Elliott.

FSU athletics says it gives about $250,000 back to the school for library causes and educational projects.

FSU Head Football Coach Bobby Bowden earns a base salary of $235,000. Combined with other agreements like speech fees, television appearances and bowl wins, Bowden receives a grand total of more than $2.2 million.

Head Coach-in-Waiting Jimbo Fisher has a base salary of $215,000, but combined with other agreements, Fisher earns around $625,000 a year.

FSU Athletics says each coach works more than 40 hours a week.

Nearby on FAMU's campus, Coach Joe Taylor works hard too, about 80 hours a week, but it's worth it.

FAMU Head Football Coach Joe Taylor says,"If you are really concerned about helping young people, you don't look at it as being tough, you look at it as doing what you have to do."

FAMU Athletics says Coach Taylor earns about $225,000 a year plus a $12,000 allowance for housing.

The department itself is also self-supporting, getting its cash from ticket sales and boosters.

Over at Tallahassee Community College, the men's head basketball coach earns $59,673.22.

But when fans watch their college teams, chances are they're bombarded with advertising, from head-to-toe. The ten-year contract between Nike and FSU is valued at about $34 million, and pays for athletic equipment, uniforms, and supplemental salaries, but the athletics department says it's a win-win for all.

Elliott says, "It also allows a great partnership for advertising so you kind of work as a partner with your apparel company to promote one another."

It costs money to make money and the same can be said for college sports.

On Wednesday we will investigate the use of public facilities. How much of our taxpayer money goes into centers like libraries and research labs and can the taxpayers access them?

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