If my internet searches are correct, the University of North Carolina is a public institution located in Chapel Hill, with student enrollment of somewhere around 18,000+, and it encompasses about 729 acres.
One might expect Duke University to have similar stats. One couldn't be more wrong. Duke is a private university with a relatively measly student enrollment of about 6600. Roughly a third of UNC's. And here's something I found astounding -- While both UNC and Duke are listed as being located in "suburban" settings, Duke sits on a whopping 8709 acres. Talk about elbow room. There's big-time ranchers in Montana and Texas that can't boast that kind of spread. That's an acre and a third per student. Conversely, doing the math, UNC is packing them in like sardines at 24 students per acre.
On the yearly cost to attend, with tuition, fees, room and board, etc., UNC averages about $20,000 for "in-staters", but zaps the out-of staters for double that. That doesn't seem right, but it must be legal somehow.
Then again, Duke, as a private university, seems to have a one size fits all when it comes to those costs. But it's upwards of $55,000 a year. That's a big cha-ching, but hey, the groundskeepers alone trying to maintain 8700 acres have to cost them a fortune.
Oakland University is public and has a student enrollment of 18,000+ while sitting on 1500 acres of pristine land. But nobody seems to know for sure what town they're in. Evidently, in their infinite wisdom, the local yokel politicos have created a border that runs through their campus. Some of it is in Rochester Hills, and some in Auburn Hills. It must be an election year. OU averages about $21,000 for Michigan residents, but like UNC, they bang the out-of-staters to the tune of about $33,000.
So what does all this have to do with sports? All three schools play Division 1 men's basketball. Duke and North Carolina are well known powerhouses, and have been for decades. Oakland, while relatively new to D1, is still trying to get a little respect, but they're light years from becoming a serious contender in the annual NCAA hoops tourney.
It's weird when you think about it. Oakland has about the same student population as UNC, and twice the acreage, but they have a second class basketball arena and can't even field a football team. Perhaps that has something to do with not having a facility for them to play in. A golf course, yes. A football venue, no. Heck, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway has a golf course on the infield, but how many sports fans care about that?
UNC has a football team, and they're pretty good some years, but few would consider it to be an elite program. Duke, with a third of the student population of UNC and Oakland, a whole bunch of land, and exorbitant tuition rates, has a football team, but they're never any good. No hot-shot high school kid wants to go to Duke to play football, full ride or not.
Duke has been a power house in men's basketball for decades. Despite their early exit from the NCAA tournament this year, an anomaly, they will likely remain so well into the future. On top of that, Duke's ladies' hoops team is consistently amongst the best in the nation. So what has the athletic department at Oakland University been doing all these years, besides watching the world go by?
Three times the student population of Duke, and they can't come anywhere near competing with them, let alone beating them, in ANY sport? And don't tell me it's about academics, because I'll laugh. You name the field of study, and which university's degree do you think would be more impressive in the real world to have on a graduate's resume?
Like sports, it's not even a close call.