Authors: Bradley, Robert & Bruce, Scott L.
College of Nursing and Health Professions, Arkansas State University
Robert Bradley, EdD, LAT, ATC
PO Box 910
Arkansas State University, AR. 72467
Robert Bradley is the program director of the master of athletic training program at Arkansas State University. He is an assistant professor in the College of Nursing and Health Professions and the curriculum coordinator for the Arkansas Athletic Trainers Association.
Scott L. Bruce is a research faculty member for the master of athletic training program at Arkansas State University. He is an assistant dean for research and an associate professor in the College of Nursing and Health Professions
Financial Budgets of Collegiate Athletic Training in South Carolina: A five-year review
Purpose: To compare financial patterns of collegiate athletic training budgets in South Carolina over a five-year span in order to determine if athletic training budgets meet or exceed changes in national economic trends and university athletic spending.
Methods: This longitudinal study of South Carolina colleges and universities to determine if gaps or excesses in the athletic training budgets demonstrate a trend that could be affecting the level of care. Additionally, to compare the change in resources and spending with inflation, college athletic department spending and medical spending per athlete and then provide the data on the patterns of collegiate athletic training financial resources to inform college athletic trainers on the trends over time. We mailed surveys to head athletic trainers or athletic directors at the thirty-two institutions that host intercollegiate athletics in South Carolina then compared the data to the 2014-2015 data already recorded.
Results: Ten schools returned surveys (N=10) for a 31% return rate. All athletic training budgets grew at a rate slightly higher rate (1.8%) than the annual inflation rate of 1.6%. Comparatively for the same five-year span, the average athletic department budget growth exceeded 7.8%. Spending for athletic training salaries increased by 20% to an average of $43,800. Total spending on or for athletic training costs rose from $307,438 in 2014 to $335,260 in 2018-2019. Combined with the total number of student-athletes to care for, athletic training spending average increased from $894 to $1119 spent per student-athlete in 2019.
Conclusion: Collegiate athletic training budgets are increasing over time slightly lower than the cost of inflation and much lower than the overall athletic department spending. Athletic training salaries are increasing over time. Athletic training budgets do outpace inflation but fails to match the overall growth of athletic department budgetary increases.
Application in Sport: Financial resources for athletic training at the collegiate level need to match the spending behaviors of the overall parent athletic department to provide adequate medical care to intercollegiate athletes. Failure to understand the patterns of change to an athletic training budget may place the ability of athletic trainers to care for student-athletes in jeopardy.
Key Words: budget, college athletic training, financial resources, salaries, spending