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$54 million athletic cost = $0 academic benefits?

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The outstanding news of the Schmidt family generously donating $16 million to benefit football and all sports at FAU has sparked a fire among the "academics first" crowd.

Many comments online regarding the donation are outraged that $54 million will be spent on something other than academics. They do not see how successful sports teams yield a growing academic infrastructure.

Does anyone know of any reports or website links that really sum up how athletics really move academics forward?

I'm trying to help stave off the Hornets nest of dissenting viewpoints. Trying to find more stories of how athletics benefits academics.

Thanks everyone for any thoughts and links you can provide!
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This is a complicated topic.

First of all, I haven't seen anything that directly links the two.  According to the IEA website:

- Total applications to FAU for Fall 2010 were 15,271. Previous years: 15,278… 14,617… 12,593… etc.
Applications for 2011, the year the stadium opened: 28,906.
- GPA and SAT scores have gone up as well: 3.3, 3.4, 3.5, and what is it now… 3.7? 3.8? Can't remember.

And you can look at reports from the FAU Foundation to see changes in giving since the stadium.

Now, you could argue that there have been parallel improvements in academics, scholarship offers, general marketing efforts etc that may also explain those numbers, but it's a combination of all these things.

What people really want is for FAU to receive millions of dollars towards research, lab equipment, scholarships, advising centers and, as you might imagine, salary bumps (even in the form of one-time bonuses) to faculty and staff. Which is understandable but the reality is that more often people want to throw money at things that are already successful and/or to give their kids a leg-up in admissions there (like when someone donates to Princeton or Stanford). That doesn't apply to us as much.

P.S. I don't respond to guest posts. All guests are encouraged to register with the site.
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Let's look at the impact that this building will affect the Academic programs related to sports.

Sports Management 
Sports Medicine
Nursing
Exercise Science
Nutrition

The students of these programs will have an opportunity to work/intern and gain great work experience. This could raise the caliber of those programs and in turn reputation. Sports Man age mentioned is #4 & 6 in the nation and world respectively. 

I laugh at the negative comments just read one that said, what about money to Marine Biology dept. These students have no clue that the same people that their college is named after donated for this Athletic Academic Center
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Boozie132 said

These students have no clue that the same people that their college is named after donated for this Athletic Academic Center
Posted On: Dec 3rd 2014, 8:53 AM #339242

 :Yawn:

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Was just thinking the same Boozie, College of Arts and Letters, Science and Med School all have the Schmidt name, they care about academics. They see this as a way to elevate the university as a whole. A rising tide raises all ships. 
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Plus I think President Kelly has a plan to raise the academic buildings and bring in more funding to the university as a whole. Boca Raton Bowl is a big deal for the city and the University coming up. When colleges or cities host bowl games, it is a way for them to show off to potential investors, businesses, as well as residents why the area would be good for them. I would bet a hundred to one that maybe there is a confidential list of potential people and businesses somewhere that has been invited to the events leading up to the game, plus the game itself. It would be a great way to say, "If you help us, we can continued to raise the university profile and academic standards."
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teambeer said

Was just thinking the same Boozie, College of Arts and Letters, Science and Med School all have the Schmidt name, they care about academics. They see this as a way to elevate the university as a whole. A rising tide raises all ships. 
Posted On: Dec 3rd 2014, 9:09 AM #339244

+1

P.S. I don't respond to guest posts. All guests are encouraged to register with the site.
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Boozie hit the nail on the head, the Schmidt Family has their name on the College of Science, of which I am a graduate of.  While I can honestly say I do not know who the Schmidts are or how they earned their money, it is their money to spend how they choose.  I think it is reasonable to assume that they are intelligent and know that successful athletic programs will improve the school's recognition which will translate to more funding down the line for academics.

FAU - We got Bowls!
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I think until recently, FAU has poured most of it's funding into it's academic programs, and ones that matter. We opened a medical school, expanded our business program, expanded medical research, continued to invest in environmental research. It's only been the last 5-6 years that we've invested heavily in athletics, and like Rick showed, a good football program boosts the overall quality of the university. More applications means we get to be a little more choosy in who we admit, and we can start turning away more underperforming students, and accept more motivated and high performing students. I attended the University of Alabama also, and you can't argue that the football program hasn't improved the overall quality of the school.
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