It is almost inconceivable that Williams would ever cut football. But, in keeping with our goal to list all the major programs that cost more than $200,000, we need to include it, both because football is expensive in terms of equipment and coaching but also because a football programs makes (?) the Weston Field project necessary. Also, if Swarthmore can live without football then we can to. Colorado College recently ended football (along with two other sports.) Of course, if your goal is to cut football, then the best method is to raise admissions standards enough that the football team starts losing all its games. (Without tips, it is not clear that a Williams team could play evenly against any of its current opponents.) Once that happens, support for keeping a team will fall.

Williams itself does not seem to publish much useful data on athletic spending. But the US Department of Education does! See here for Williams. Looks like total expenses for football were $312,260.

Now, there is a lot that might be wrong with this number. First, Williams reports $107,472 in revenue from football. (I assume that this is ticket sales.) So, the net cost of football is only $205,000. Second, it is not clear how all the costs associated with football are allocated, costs that might still be with us even without a football program. For example, several head coaches from other men’s teams are assistant coaches for football. Are their salaries included in the $312,260? Even without a football program, Williams would still want to have (and pay) coaches for baseball and men’s lacrosse. Second, I may be misunderstanding the presentation. There is also a line for “operating expenses” for football of $55,665. I assume that this is a subpart of the $312,260. Perhaps just travel expenses?

One might argue that, instead of football, we should cut squash or skiing or soccer. Perhaps. It would be good to get a sense of where the Athletic Department’s $6 million budget goes. One weird aspect of the Department of Education data is that it only adds up to $4,217,896 in total spending. The material the College sends to alumni talks about $6 million in spending. Where is the extra $2 million? Perhaps that is capital spending allocated over time?

But, as best I can tell, no other individual sport spends $200,000 per year. So, football is the only one to make our listing.

Print  •  Email