A news service for the people of Michigan from the Mackinac Center for Public Policy

While the University of Michigan didn’t beat Michigan State on the football field this year, they did on the expense ledger when it came to which college spent more on its 2012 bowl game trips.

The Wolverines spent $1.97 million over eight days for its 729 member travel party; the Spartans ran up a $1.8 million tab over nine days for its 680 member travel party, according to information received in a Freedom of Information Act request.

None of the expenses were paid for by tax dollars. The conferences and bowl games reimburse the universities for their costs.

Leon Drolet, chairman of the Michigan Taxpayers Alliance, said there was nothing wrong with the colleges spending nearly $4 million over 17 days.

“Let’s be honest,” Drolet said. “College football is a business … Our society demands college football and will pay for it. It’s become no different than any other business and Michigan and Michigan State are trying to be competitive.”

The University of Michigan came away with a net profit of $78,916 after its appearance in the Jan 3, 2012 Allstate Sugar Bowl. MSU Spokesman Kent Cassella didn’t say whether the Spartans made or lost money on the Jan 2, 2012 Outback Bowl.  

Michigan spent $737,227 on transportation and $809,406 on meals and lodging for the 379 member team and staff travel party, the 319 member band and cheerleaders travel party and the 31 member official faculty and athletics department travel party. U-M’s expenses also included $273,380 the school had to pay for tickets that were not purchased.

Michigan State spent $605,769 on transportation and $541,673 on meals and lodging for its 311 member team, staff and official party travel party and 369 band and cheerleader member travel party. MSU also had to pay $151,355 for tickets that were not purchased.

Altogether, Michigan had 4,642 tickets that were not sold while MSU had 6,764 unsold tickets.

MSU said it spent $10,361 on “entertainment” while Michigan spent $14,080.

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