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Rutgers relies heavily on subsidies

It is no secret that the majority of programs need subsidies from the university and/or student fees to make their athletic departments run.

But the Big East has a disproportionate number of schools that rely heavily on these subsidies. USA Today has once again done a fabulous job of digging through financial statements and found that Rutgers, Cincinnati and South Florida have the highest percentage of total revenue coming from subsidies among automatic qualifying conference public schools.

Rutgers led AQ public schools at 42 percent. South Florida was next at 36 percent, and Cincinnati was at 33 percent. Connecticut is at 25 percent, giving the Big East the top four teams among AQ public schools that rely the most on subsidies. If you go back to 2006, Rutgers spent more than $115 million to cover athletics spending -- tops among all public schools across Division I schools.

According to the report, Rutgers received more than $26 million in subsidies in 2010. Athletic director Tim Pernetti told the newspaper that $8.4 million of that amount came from student fees.

On the bright side, Rutgers is less reliant on subsidies today than it was in 2006. Rutgers hopes to close this gap further with its new fundraising efforts, a new TV media rights deal from the league and money it receives from its recent stadium naming rights deal with High Point Solutions.

"With athletics being the big window into everything we do here at Rutgers, and being that we've been able to do it in a positive way, it is an investment in the branding and marketing of the entire place, not just the athletic department," Pernetti told USA Today.

He also said, "What I can tell you is that there is a -- I wouldn't say concern -- but a focus on this item within our business and I work closely with our president and his administration and our board … We've made clear that it's our No. 1 priority to generate new revenues and figure out a way to stabilize and reduce university support."

Total subsidies in 2010

Rutgers: $26,867,679. (Subsidy dropped from 49 to 42 percent since 2006).

Connecticut: $14,578,029 (Subsidy increased from 20 to 25 percent since 2006).

South Florida: $14,185,037 (Subsidy dropped from 44 to 36 percent since 2006).

Cincinnati: $13,457,464 (Subsidy increased from 26 to 33 percent since 2006).

Louisville: $8,542,940 (Subsidy dropped from 14 to 13 percent since 2006).

West Virginia: $4,255,237 (Subsidy increased from 6 to 7 percent).

* Syracuse is a private institution. Under Pennsylvania law, Pitt is a public-private "partnership" and declined to disclose financial information to USA Today.