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UB’s conference rival Eastern Michigan to keep football despite unrest from students and faculty

Eastern received most subsidies in MAC, UB was second

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A university in UB’s athletic conference is facing pressure from students and faculty to drop its football program to cut costs, but is maintaining it has no plans to do so.

Eastern Michigan University, which plays in the Mid-American Conference with UB, published an open letter on Tuesday that it will keep its football program in Division I after students and faculty published a report calling for it to drop football and move to another conference that does not require D-I football.

Members of the Eastern Michigan Board of Regents, the incoming president and the interim president released the open letter to refute any reports that the program is dropping or disbanding, stating: “Any headline or claims that Eastern is considering dropping football, or reducing the support of the program in any way, are false.”

Students and faculty stressed in the report, published on April 22, the cost the university pays to support the program and lack of success the team has had on the field.

Eastern Michigan’s athletic department is the most highly subsidized program in the MAC, with 84 percent of its budget coming from student fees and university support from 2010-14, according to data collected by The Huffington Post and The Chronicle of Higher Education. The department received $120 million in subsidies during that timespan, the most in the MAC. The program that received the second-most subsidies? 

UB.

UB Athletics received $110 million in subsidies from 2010-14, according to the same data.

Seventy-five percent of the department’s budget last year was subsidized, as $24 million of its $32.1 million budget came from student fees and direct institutional support from the university, according to UB Athletics’ 2015 budget. The football program is UB’s most expensive sport, with a budget of $7.2 million last year – $5.7 million of which was subsidized.

In 40 seasons in the MAC, Eastern Michigan has made just one bowl game appearance, which came in 1987. In the program’s last four seasons, Eastern Michigan has recorded a record of 7-41, including three wins in their last two seasons.

Quentin Haynes is the co-senior sports editor and can be reached at quentin.haynes@ubspectrum.com. Follow him on Twitter at @HaynesTheWriter. Tom Dinki is the editor in chief and can be reached at tom.dinki@ubspectrum.com. Follow him on Twitter at @tomdinki. 


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