In the UK, Universities and Colleges are not a public service any longer, and place little value on anything academic.
They sell their services to students and receive money from Government based on attaining targets of various kinds.
I can recall no target which involves making study less expensive or more specialised - in fact, the institutions get a slap on the back for such things as attracting hordes of overseas students who pay more than home students (who are increasingly unable to afford the massive debts their fees create).
My local university has huge numbers of Chinese students, local further eduction colleges have many overseas students. Many of these overseas (and home) students have poor English and the institutions hand out degrees with considerable regard to the amount of money a student has paid, and their place in the league tables with their pass rates. PIle em high, sell em expensive.
In short, the business of education is the education business. 'Academic' activity is of no interest unless it pays well and/or attracts valuable sponsorship.
I'm not cynical, btw, but was formerly responsible for university and college recruitment and also a college assistant principal (responsible for marketing) with massive student recruitment growth targets and decreasing state funding to pay for it - hence brilliant academics in unprofitable subjects get axed and we have huge growth in subjects which lend themselves to packed lecture theatres offering pick and mix degrees with easy exams and no real job prospects. In fact, employment prospects in the UK for graduates are the same as for non-graduates, i.e. very poor.
I don't imagine universities in previous centuries could support academic Buddhism without very wealthy sponsorship or a population and/or government which valued such studies greatly enough to prioritise it. There is a wonderful PhD in Comparative Religion (with staff specialising in Buddhism) near my home - at £10,000 I think it unlikely I will be sellling my home to access it.
Make the best of it .