OTP's co-editor, RV, stumbled across this website when surfing the interwebs for whatever he normally looks at and realized the virtual gold mine he had just uncovered. Provided by that site are the operating expenses, revenues, etc. for almost every team under the sun as they've reported to the NCAA. For BSU and UK, the teams we cover, the difference was in fact, staggering. Rather than try and compare the BSU apples to the UK oranges, we'll handle them separately, but equally, despite the whole kerfuffle that "separate but equal" has caused in the past...
Ball State University
The Cardinals reported an overall financial break even for athletics, at $17,427,728. Now, those numbers include every single sport at BSU, including the non-money makers, and that difference is mighty. For example, the football team clocked in with $5,436,482 in revenue for last fall. The basketball programs (men's and women's) generated $2,589,547. The sports not named football and basketball generated $5,293,108.
In terms of expenses, football clearly had the highest expenses at $5,436,482... the same as their revenue. The same is true for the basketball programs, where the revenue and expenses were equal. Creative accounting? Result of zero-based budgeting? Probably, but at least there's a revenue figure to sort of compare ourselves to.
Let's look at the rest of the MAC in terms of football revenue ranking...
1. Temple: $9,184,112***
2. Kent State: $6,040,915
3. Central Michigan: $5,712,638
4. Ball State: $5,436,482
5. Northern Illinois: $5,341,447**
6. Miami: $5,321,463
7. Ohio: $4,986,723
8. Akron: $4,707,537
9. Eastern Michigan: $4,655,860
10. Toledo: $4,441,368
11. Bowling Green: $4,127,434
12. Western Michigan: $2,522,901***
13. Buffalo: $1,882,475****
*-Temple University contributed $18,631,923 in terms of institutional support to the total revenue of the athletic department. Disclosure of amounts to teams not included.
**- Northern Illinois adjusted revenue for institutional support to individual teams without disclosing which teams, and how much
***- Western Michigan includes $14,680,397 of revenue not allocated by gender or sport
****- Buffalo does not include any sort of student fees or state allocation in their revenue. That was nearly $16 million in revenue for the entire department
The MAC is clearly tightly grouped, but I have no earthly explanation for Temple's eye-popping first place aside from the institutional support piece, which tells me they had to offset a ton of expenses by providing a boatload of institutional support. The adage says it takes money to make money, and it takes making money to be successful, so at this rate, Temple is due for a National Championship within the next several years.
For the Cardinals that's a ton of revenue, but it is my hope that with the recent success on the field, the Cardinals can continue to see that revenue increase. How? Good question. We seem to have things pretty well right now, and are sometimes unable to fill the Scheu despite having the best team in the state. But for that number to get any higher, seats will need to be expanded and filled on a routine basis. Then, and only then, will that number climb into the stratosphere needed for continual long-term success.
University of Kentucky
For the Wildcats, it's certainly an exercise that leads to some surprising conclusions and facts about the moneymakers on the campus. For the .edu crowds that see no purpose in athletics, Big Blue turned a $4 million profit for the overall athletic department. Let's see the chemistry school make that sort of change having people watch test tubes and bunson burners.
The football program turned a profit as well, clocking in with $12,018,188 in expenses to $25,861,744 in revenues. In comparison, the basketball program, the measuring stick for most Kentucky fans, clocked in with $8,584,145 of expenses, along with a $14,867,027 revenue pool. The overall athletic budget also clocked in with a total of $28,644,802 of revenue not allocated to any particular sport. That may come from television contracts, apparel deals, etc.
The rest of the SEC's football revenue in rank order...
1. Georgia: $67,053,051
2. Florida: $66,124,945
3. Auburn: $59,671,354
4. Alabama: $57,370,617
5. LSU: $52,687,713
6. South Carolina: $50,433,037
7. Tennessee: $40,264,212
8. Arkansas: $40,135,364
9. Kentucky: $25,861,744
10. Ole Miss: $17,768,432
11. Vandy: $16,924,277
12. Mississippi State: $15,994,121
Holy cow, standard deviation. To see a $50 million difference between top to bottom sort of further proves that there are clearly a group of haves and a group of have nots in terms of revenue. That would certainly explain why the elite programs in the SEC continue to be elite. Entities that make money hand over fist are usually the best at any given task, and football and athletics are no different. The only redeeming factor is that most of Alabama's revenue is eaten up by Nick Saban's astronomical contract and Tennessee's revenues will soon be pissed away on assistant coaches salaries or letterhead to send secondary violation notices to the NCAA.
In a nice little comparison, the University of Louisville's overall athletic budget featured around a $1.4 million profit. The football program contributed $16,082,457 of revenue, along with $11,601,884 of expenses. Little brother indeed.