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Document: NCAA schools spent more than $5 billion on facilities

A table buried in a 230-page federal court filing stamped "highly confidential" details part of the facilities arms race overtaking college athletics.

Unsealed earlier this week in Ed O'Bannon's antitrust lawsuit against the NCAA, the table shows schools spent more than $5 billion since 1997 to construct or upgrade athletics facilities.

That figure might be conservative.

Roger Noll, professor emeritus of economics at Stanford University, prepared the report last September on behalf of the plaintiffs. Amid discussion of licensing revenue, the definition of amateurism and recruiting mechanics is the four-page table. It documents projects ranging from new football turf at Fresno State to Baylor's $250-million football stadium scheduled to open this fall.

The table is limited to 93 projects by 42 schools. Several big-ticket projects, including California's $321-million renovation of California Memorial Stadium, aren't included.

"The costs of athletic programs are rising in step with costs ... financial aid to student-athletes has played only a minor role in the cost increase," Noll wrote in the report. "Instead, the growth in costs is driven primarily by increases in salaries of coaches and expenditures on facilities, both of which are fueled by the restrictions on payments to student-athletes."

The NCAA declined to comment on the documents.

Estimates on the amount invested in college athletics facilities have varied. In 2005, the Sports Business Journal pegged the total from 1995 to 2005 at $15.2 billion. Two years later, the Chronicle of Higher Education put the total at $3.9 billion raised to spend on facilities during a five-year period.

O'Bannon's case is scheduled for trial in June.

Twitter: @nathanfenno


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