Bashing System and the Regents has joined football, hockey and basketball as a major sport on the UW-Madison campus, including in (often grossly insulting) comments on this blog. As Sara Goldrick-Rab has just pointed out (here), players in this game often have no data of any kind.
One theme is that System bleeds state funding to Madison, diverts money from the flagship to other campuses and that as budgets get cut, Madison suffers disproportionately. There’s evidence on this: the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau has just provided vast amounts about higher ed funding in Wisconsin. (Here are the links, with a little context.) #690 lays out the material on public authority. Check out this passage from paragraph 10 (p. 4):
When adjusted for inflation, state funding provided for UW-Madison and for all other UW System institutions decreased from 1990-91 to 2010-11. Over that period of time, state funding for UW-Madison decreased by 2.8% while state funding for all other UW System institutions decreased by 6.8%. At the same time, enrollment at UW-Madison increased by 1.5% while enrollments at all other UW System institutions increased by 23.4%. When these increases in enrollment are controlled for, state funding for UW-Madison decreased by 4.2% while state funding for all other UW System institutions decreased by 24.4%.
As I understand this, over the last 20 years, Madison has had a tiny increase in enrollments while other campuses have grown by a quarter, yet other campuses have been hit far harder by budget cuts.