(Photo: Courtesy of Chad Cooper)
A new database created by the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics shows that spending on athletics at some Colorado universities is growing at a much faster pace than spending on academics. 

From 2005 to 2011, according to the database, academic spending per student at the University of Colorado Boulder grew 16 percent.

But the database also shows athletic spending per athlete jumped 57 percent.

Amy Perko, director of the commission, said there can be reasons that spending per athlete is greater.

“That said, there is concern about the unbalanced spending levels where the spending on a per athlete basis is growing 3 to 4 times greater than the spending on academics per student,” Perko said.

At Colorado State University, academic spending per student grew by 28 percent over the six-year period while athletic spending per athlete grew 38 percent.

At the University of Northern Colorado, the difference was greater: Academic spending per student grew 58 percent while dollars to athletes jumped 82 percent.

The study found that nationally, in the top football division, academic spending per student rose three percent while spending per football player grew 52 percent, not including scholarships players got.

“The most general trend and pattern that you’ll see, you’ll find across all of Division 1 is that athletic spending is rising rapidly and academic spending per student is stagnating,” Perko said.

The database also has information such as what universities spend on coaching salaries per player and what campuses pay to subsidize sports using institutional funds.

The Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics has a number of recommendations including targeting some of the revenue from football championships to colleges that show more balance between academic and athletic spending.