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On the balance between football and academics

I believe the vast majority of us felt even before everything happened that we had a good balance between the education received at Penn State and the athletics programs, but football specifically. However, I wanted to take a look at the numbers for the amount of money spent on football revenue versus donations for academics and look at a longer list of academic recognitions that we received. The goal is to do an analysis regarding the popular media sentiment that we "only care about football".

Alumni Association Donation breakdown (http://giveto.psu.edu/s/1218/images/editor_documents/Media_and_Events/Publications/Annual_Reports/2010-2011-president-report-on-philanthropy-and-endowments.pdf - Page 31):

Amount Number of Donors

Individuals $170,537,336 175,132

Alumni $131,421,878 74,450

Friends $ 39,115,458 100,682

Corporations $ 53,108,816 6,286

Foundations $ 30,474,261 455

Organizations $ 20,711,628 1,839

Total $274,832,041 183,712

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During the same timeframe the football program brought in $72 million (http://money.cnn.com/2011/11/10/news/companies/penn_state_football_scandal/index.htm).

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Furthermore, as far as the educational quality (http://www.psu.edu/ur/rankings/ - I pulled some of the bigger ones for this discussion):

From http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges

Best National Universities

PENN STATE TIED FOR 45th NATIONALLY

Top 50 Public National Universities

PENN STATE TIED FOR 13th NATIONALLY

Best Undergraduate Business Programs

PENN STATE TIED FOR 20th NATIONALLY

Undergraduate Business Specialties:

Supply Chain Management/Logistics:

PENN STATE RANKS 3rd

Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs

PENN STATE TIED FOR 17th NATIONALLY

Undergraduate Engineering Specialities:

Aerospace/Aeronautical/Astronautical: PENN STATE RANKS 10th

Industrial/Manufacturing Engineering: PENN STATE RANKS 4th

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Penn State University Libraries now rank 7th among research libraries in North America, according to the ARL's library investment index.

(2011)

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"Colleges That Help Grads Get Top Salaries"

PENN STATE RANKS 12th NATIONALLY

(www.smartmoney.com, 2011)

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National Science Foundation, Total S&E Research Expenditure Rankings 2008 (latest)

Penn State rankings in Top 20 by NSF fields and subfields

OVERALL: 11

INDUSTRY: 3

Total Engineering: 3

Aero/Astro-Engineering: 14

Chemical Engineering: 6

Civil Engineering: 17

Electrical Engineering: 3

Materials Engineering: 1

Mechanical Engineering: 4

Total Physical Sciences: 15

Chemistry: 1

Physics: 13

Astronomy: 13

Total Environmental Sciences: 11

Atmospheric: 8

Earth Sciences: 6

Computer Science: 8

Total Life Sciences: 51

Agricultural: 10

Psychology: 1

Total Social Sciences: 14

Political Science: 11

Sociology: 2

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National Opinion Research Center Universities Awarding Most Doctorates

PENN STATE RANKS 8TH

National Science Foundation Student Fellowships

PENN STATE RANKS 1ST IN BIG TEN

National Science Foundation University Research

Top Institutions in Total R&D Expenditures (Science and Engineering)

PENN STATE RANKS 9TH

Top Institutions in Federal R&D Expenditures (Science and Engineering)

PENN STATE RANKS 16TH

U.S. Defense Department Contracts and Grants

Top Institutions in Awards for Basic and Applied Research

PENN STATE RANKS 6TH

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NCAA Division I Graduation Success Rate

Eight Penn State Teams Register 100%

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Penn State Alumni Association

Largest Dues-Paying Alumni Association

165,182 Members

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Student-Run Philanthropy

2011 IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon (THON) raised $9,563,016.09 for children with cancer and their families.

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Number 1 in corporate recruiting (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704358904575477643369663352.html).

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Also, I'm sure we're all familiar with the GSR numbers for the football team, but the recap is we're #1 in the Academic BCS (http://gantdaily.com/2011/12/16/football-team-recognized-in-afca-academic-achievement-survey/) and we graduate a large number of Academic All-Americans (http://www.statecollege.com/news/local-news/penn-state-68-nittany-lions-earn-fall-academic-allbig-ten-accolades-961448/).

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Final point in the statistic/money comparison, we are one of the few institutions in the country that doesn't take money from the University funds (http://www.usatoday.com/sports/college/2011-06-15-athletic-departments-increase-money_n.htm).

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The conclusion (not surprisingly to those of us on this site and those not named Rodney Erickson) is that we already are a world class educational institution. Additionally, using the amount of donations from individuals to the Alumni Association (~$130 million), which would count towards academics only, and comparing it to football revenue (~$72 million), we obviously value or education as much or more than the football program. Even if you expand to include NLC donations and other revenue to Penn State Athletics, that number still tops out near $100 million. To further that point, football revenue (and athletics in general) does not come from the University's General Fund. Digging even deeper into the football program (and athletics in general), we have a well known and respected tradition of graduating athletes.

This, at least in my opinion, empirically proves that we strike a good balance between support of our athletic programs and our academic programs.

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