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University of Akron Forms a Special Task Force on Athletics Spending

Mark Arehart

The University of Akron announced the formation of a task force to review athletics spending. This comes just a week after trustees cut 178 jobs, including 96 union faculty. And as the union threatens not to approve contract concessions by an Aug. 3 deadline.

The task force will begin work this fall looking into the University's athletics budget and its status in Division I sports. In an email, UA President Gary Miller said he wants to have a thorough discussion of the "complex issues" surrounding D-I.

UA leadership and faculty have been at odds over sports spending, with the professors union wanting more money invested in academics amid layoffs and deep budget cuts. The union cites the fact that the UA loses money on top tier sports.

Miller has been an advocate for staying in D-I, citing a multimillion dollar buyout the university would have to pay to exit the Mid-American Conference.

Earlier this year the university eliminated three sports programs and announced it would cut its athletics budget by $4.4 million as part of an effort to close a $64 million budget shortfall in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

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Mark has been a host, reporter and producer at several NPR member stations in Delaware, Alaska, Washington and Kansas. His reporting has taken him everywhere from remote islands in the Bering Sea to the tops of skyscrapers overlooking Puget Sound. He is a diehard college basketball fan who enjoys taking walks with his dog, Otis.