Economics

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Spend Money to Make Money? Buckeyes Have Done the First Part

12 Jan, 2015

By: Mary Helen Sprecher

Ohio State University spent about $372,000 to send university leaders, faculty, friends and student leaders to the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans on Jan. 1, university records show.

An article in Ohio’s Columbus Dispatch noted that along with a 69-member “official party” whose expenses were reimbursed by the Athletic Department, another 55 people traveled to the game using departmental money. The trip cost about $3,000 per person, OSU officials estimated, although they said the number is probably inflated.

That group doesn’t include the football team and staff, or cheerleaders and the marching band.

The official party included the university president and provost, several members of the board of trustees and their spouses, and student leaders. Those who used departmental money included several senior administrators, such as college deans and university vice presidents.

More than 100 others traveled as university representatives but paid their own costs. That list included Matthew Borges, the chairman of the Ohio GOP, and Larry Householder, a former Republican state representative. Janet E. Jackson, president and CEO of United Way of Central Ohio, and Joseph A. Alutto, the school’s retired provost who also served twice as interim president, also joined with their own money.

In addition, the article notes, more than 60 people tied to athletic sponsors paid to attend the game as OSU representatives.

Last year, Ohio State paid a total of about $2 million for everyone — including the team — that it sent to the Orange Bowl.

The travel party to Miami included 121 people, most of them staying for three days but some extending the trip to a week. That group’s transportation and meals totaled $227,000. The football team and its staff, by comparison, cost just more than $1 million, and the band and cheerleaders cost $383,000.

Along with travel and food costs, OSU also paid more than $100,000 last year for “entertainment,” unsold tickets, awards and other costs, the university reported.

The news comes in the wake of an announcement of the NCAA waiver that will allow families of select athletes to attend championship events.

The article, which broke on the eve of Ohio State’s appearance in the football playoffs, spawned a flurry of online comments, most of them negative (or at least cynical).

Read the full article here.

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