I know at our local university, improvements to the sports facilities and frills come from aggressive alumni funding. Some smart progressives have said in some instances, “you want to build a new hockey arena, go ahead, but much of your donation will go to upgrade the science building…so donate more then you planned if you want the ice time”.
I can’t speak for other state universities or private colleges, but most around here tend to operate that way. Some of this idiotic squandering of money is fortunately not done at the direct funding from taxes. Hopefully the maintenance is self supported and it becomes a plus revenue wise. But often, if a benefactor wants to spend the money foolishly and the university wants to sell it’s soul, there is little that can be done.
The biggest scam around here are the legalized gambling casinos, ostensibly payed for by private funding and with some profits going back into the local economy both as a percent of profits and increase business.
The scam comes in here…Social Security does much of the funding…retirees live at these places during the day “donating” money.
In the case of Auburn U. They could just buy more land, make the class buildings farther apart and decrease the time between classes to increase fitness levels.