Sports

Big money in college athletics

There is no doubt that college athletics involves big money. But which schools are really generating that money and what do they end up with at the end of the day?  According to the most recent filings with the Department of Education, college athletics — men and women, all sports, combined totals — generated $12.6 billion in revenue in 2011.

These institutions generated the greatest dollar amount of revenues from all athletics:

The University of Tennessee

$102,495,204

Auburn University

103,982,441

University of Oklahoma Norman Campus

104,338,843

Louisiana State University

106,421,671

Pennsylvania State University

116,118,026

University of Michigan-Ann Arbor

122,486,490

University of Florida

123,008,257

The University of Alabama

123,910,432

Ohio State University-Main Campus

131,815,819

The University of Texas at Austin

150,295,932

 

About one half of all college athletic revenue was generated by the top 100 of the 2,068 reporting institutions. 90 of the top 100 athletic revenue schools are NCAA Division I-A. There are eight Division 1-AA schools in the top 100 athletic revenue schools: New Hampshire, Old Dominion, Villanova, Penn, James Madison, Georgetown, Delaware and Yale.  Two of the top 100 athletic revenue schools are 1-AAA; St. Johns and Boston University.

The 2,068 colleges and universities that reported their data also spent over $12 billion in expenses to generate that $12.6 billion in revenue.

The following schools reported the highest expenses for athletics:

The University of Alabama

$92,225,560

University of Wisconsin-Madison

92,939,345

University of Michigan-Ann Arbor

95,836,991

Louisiana State University

96,019,689

University of Oklahoma Norman Campus

96,274,366

Auburn University

100,497,784

The University of Tennessee

102,480,757

University of Florida

112,951,656

Ohio State University-Main Campus

113,184,855

The University of Texas at Austin

125,978,117

 

The average revenue for each of the reporting schools was about $6 million, with related expenses exceeding $5.8 million. Within that limited margin of return, many schools lost money on athletics and even some of the leading revenue generating schools broke even.  The following schools collectively generated about $700 million in revenue, all of which was eaten up by expenses: TCU, WVU, Baylor, BC, UCLA, Kansas, USC, Minnesota, Stanford and Florida State.

Looking at the top revenue generating schools, the highest revenue over expenses levels were the following, collectively pocketing about $200 million:

Revenue Expense Difference
Michigan State University

$80,963,182

$67,450,913

$13,512,269

Oklahoma State University

70,123,206

55,757,830

14,365,376

University of Oregon

85,740,068

69,306,426

16,433,642

Ohio State University-Main Campus

131,815,819

113,184,855

18,630,964

University of Notre Dame

94,507,919

75,360,209

19,147,710

Kansas State University

68,875,266

45,479,858

23,395,408

The University of Texas at Austin

150,295,932

125,978,117

24,317,815

University of Michigan-Ann Arbor

122,486,490

95,836,991

26,649,499

Pennsylvania State University

116,118,026

84,498,339

31,619,687

The University of Alabama

123,910,432

92,225,560

31,684,872

Tennessee generated top ten level revenue of more than $102 million, but almost equal expenses, reporting a net of a mere $15,000.  On the other hand, KSU managed to end up with more than $23 million on 2011 revenue of only $68 million.

To consider the athletic achievement that came from the revenue and expenses, the Capital One Cup honors NCAA Division I athletics programs for their cumulative on-field performance across multiple men’s and women’s sports. From the top revenue generating and expenses generating schools: Florida ranked first in the Capital One Cup men’s division and fourth in the women’s, Auburn ranked third in the men’s division, and Ohio State ranked 10th in the men. From the highest expense group, Auburn ranked third in the men’s division. From the highest revenue over expenses group, Notre Dame, Penn State and Texas ranked 5th, 8th and 10th in the women’s and Ohio State ranked 10th in the men’s.