Athletic departments at major colleges collected a record $1.26-billion in donations last year, more than double the total a decade ago, The Chronicle of Higher Education writes, citing the Council for Aid to Education's annual review of college and university giving. Colleges said the richest boosters are driving the boom as athletic departments seek alternatives to shrinking government support to cover big capital projects and fast-rising coaches' salaries.
Nearly 400 institutions provided information about sports giving in response to an optional question on the council's latest survey, which showed overall college fundraising reaching new highs. The 20 biggest athletic departments accounted for more than half the 2014 take, with Texas A&M University leading the pack with $93.6-million. It was the third year in the past four that donations for college sports topped $1-billion.