Students wonder why tuition keeps going up. Here’s one reason.

The Chicago Tribune reports.

Colleges spend fortunes on lavish athletic facilities

The people in charge of Clemson University’s athletic department have not settled on a design for the miniature golf course they are building for their football team, but they know it will have just nine holes, not 18.

That will leave room for the sand volleyball courts, laser tag, movie theater, bowling lanes, barber shop and other amenities planned in the $55 million complex that South Carolina’s second-largest public university is building exclusively for its football players.

“It’ll be their home on campus, when they’re not in class” said Clemson athletics spokesman Joe Galbraith of a building that represents the latest innovation in the athletic facilities arms race that is costing many of America’s largest public universities hundreds of millions of dollars and shows no signs of subsiding.

Facilities spending is one of the biggest reasons otherwise profitable or self-sufficient athletic departments run deficits, according to a Washington Post review of thousands of pages of financial records from athletic departments at 48 schools in the five wealthiest conferences in college sports.

In 2014, these 48 schools spent $772 million combined on athletic facilities, an 89-percent increase from $408 million spent in 2004, adjusted for inflation. Those figures include annual debt payments, capital expenses and maintenance costs.

Big-time college athletic departments are taking in more money than ever – and spending it just as fast.