Dig into the cost of college sports


The NCAA is a reporter’s friend when it comes to digging into the money spent and generated by college sports. The NCAA requires each school to annually file a detailed report, containing everything from coaching salaries to how much money in student fees are used to pay for sports.

The NCAA does not share the information. And private schools generally don’t release it. But the reports public schools can be obtained through public records requests at the individual schools. What we found in a 2015 series is that for many Division I schools, close to $1,000 a year in student fees per student (or other university help) is being used to support athletics, and coaching salaries are going up faster than even the cost of tuition.

Check out our 12-part series to get ideas about what you might find in analyzing the reports for schools in your area.

Also, 2016 update.

Questioning whether taxes are “high” or “low” from place to place


Where are taxes the lowest and highest? Not property taxes. Not income taxes. Not sales taxes. But all taxes.

We set out to attempt to answer that question for a series of Midwest and Eastern states. We looked at all the major taxes from the local level up through the state and added up the bills. Check out the online calculators and analysis that were the result of this work. We called it “11 takes on taxes.”

Excel median mystery solved

One of the shortcomings of Microsoft Excel is that you cannot easily obtain the median for several different variables. Mystery solved. I recently came across this link to step you through a formula that – at first glance – may look complicated. But it’s really not too difficult to recreate.

One note: be sure to exit the formula cell with this command – control/shift/return. That creates an array function.

Embeds bring life to web pages

The Census Bureau really stepped up its offerings in the last couple of years for things that can be embedded in your own web pages. Especially good were the interactive state map/graphs as the Census 2010 numbers were being released some months back.

Here’s another twist.