PEC - Volume Two

An interdisciplinary journal focused on government and public policy in North and South Carolina.

Read Volume Two

The Cost of College Athletics in the Carolinas: Estimates and Policy Implications

Jody W. Lipford, Jerry K. Slice

Pages: 76 – 101  |  First Published: August 2019


The rising cost of higher education is a concern to students, parents, government officials, and citizens across the United States. Nestled within this concern is a growing attention to the cost of college athletics. The citizens of North and South Carolina share these concerns, and in this paper, we examine the determinants of athletic costs, on a per-student basis, using data on sixty-three institutions of higher education in the Carolinas over the years 2003 to 2016. In particular, we highlight the critical roles of institution size, the size of the athletic program, whether the institution is public or private, the NCAA division in which an institution plays, and time. We complement this analysis with a closer look at eight schools in the Carolinas that have reclassified their NCAA division over this period. Our analysis suggests that the purported benefits of collegiate sports must be weighed carefully against the considerable costs, especially in light of the limited financial resources that confront many college students in the Carolinas.

Read Article

PEC - Volume 2
Political Economy in the Carolinas
Volume Two

August 2019

View Articles