It’s that time again. Actually, a bit earlier than usual. The Equity in Athletics Data Analysis dump, provided by the US Department of Education, usually happens more toward April. But we have the numbers now, so here they are.
The main figures in bold type are gross revenue from each of the 65 Power Five football programs, as stated in the EADA report for the fiscal year July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018. So, they relate to the 2017 football season, not last season. The subtext balances are based on subtracting posted football expenses from the gross revenues. The vast majority are profits, though a few are deficits.
Of course, these are only balances for the schools’ football programs, not their entire athletic departments. In the case of profits, they are commonly spread around to subsidize the schools’ Olympic or “non-revenue” sports, the vast majority of which run at deficits, some of them substantial.
Various notes are included on the first 40 football programs. Once we get to the richest 25, more substantial capsules are provided. This list does not include schools from the so-called Group of 5 minor conferences within the Football Bowl Subdivision. In some cases, those schools grossed more revenue and cleared more profits from their programs than the ones listed here.
These, then, are all 64 schools from the five major conferences – the Atlantic Coast, Big Ten, Southeastern, Big 12 and Pac-12 – plus football-independent Notre Dame. Here they are in order, from poorest to richest, as defined by gross revenue derived from the 2017-18 football season.
#65 West Virginia $20.5 million
One of five schools among the 65 to run a football deficit – of just over $418K.
#64 Wake Forest $25.8 million
One of the few private schools of the 65, Wake cleared the smallest profit in the ACC – $6.4M.
#63 Purdue $25.8 million
One of two Big Ten schools to run a football deficit – of $1.4M. Men’s basketball, the big sport on campus, actually made just a $1.5M profit, meaning Purdue’s two “revenue sports” combined barely finished in the black.
#62 Rutgers $25.9 million
RU is the only school of the 65 that “cooked the books,” meaning it balanced its ledger across the board. The football revenues and expenses are listed as exactly equal to the dollar, which usually indicates a deficit.
#61 Mississippi State $29.8 million
The smallest gross revenue and smallest profit ($6.5M) of any SEC football program. This relates to the final season under current Florida coach Dan Mullen, before Joe Moorhead arrived.
#60 Vanderbilt $30.3 million
The only private school in the SEC cleared a $6.8M profit.
#59 Missouri $31.4 million
The immigrant from the Big 12 made a $7.7M profit.
#58 Boston College $32.4 million
The former Big East school now in the ACC made a $8.9M profit.
#57 Virginia $32.6 million
Another ACC school with a meager profit of 10M.
#56 California $32.7 million
The former home of PSU athletic director Sandy Barbour has never been much of a football school and ranks last in the Pac-12 in both gross revenue and profit ($7.6M).
#55 Kansas $34.2 million
The perpetual weak football sister of Big 12 football made a $14.7M profit. Fired coach David Beaty just sued the school for $3M.
#54 Maryland $34.6 million
This was D.J. Durkin’s final season as coach, ended after the Jordan McNair tragedy. UMd somehow cleared $14.7M.
#53 Oregon State $35.2 million
The Beavers didn’t win but the football program ran a tight ship and cleared $17.9M.
#52 Pittsburgh $36.5 million
The Panthers floundered in 2017 until the stunning upset of unbeaten #2-ranked Miami and made a slim $9.4M profit.
#51 Duke $37.8 million
Mike Krzyzewski’s basketball program almost grossed more ($36.4M) than David Cutcliffe’s football operation and did clear a greater profit ($15.6M to $11.6M).
#50 UCLA $39.9 million
Hard to believe, but Bruin football in the final year of the Jim Mora regime somehow managed to spend $46.8M and ran a $6.9M deficit – worst posted balance sheet among the Power Five. (Of course, we don’t know about Rutgers.) It smells like maybe Mora’s buyout might’ve been involved here, but those numbers aren’t itemized.
#49 Kentucky $40.0 million
Mark Stoops has had a long, hard climb here and UK football ranked 11th in the SEC in revenue with a $12.8M profit.
#48 Kansas State $41.3 million
Who knows what sort of oblivion K-State would reside in were it not for Bill Snyder. He ran a tight ship in 2017 and Wildcat football cleared $20.6M, one of the Big 12’s better profit margins.
#47 Baylor $41.5 million
Matt Rhule’s first season in Waco was a dreary 1-11 but still resulted in a $13.3M clearance.
#46 Syracuse $41.5 million
Dino Babers’ second season at SU made a $15.5M profit
#45 Washington State $41.7 million
Mike Leach seems like the perfect fit in Pullman and his third straight winning year turned a $21.7M profit with barely $20M in expenses – an efficient operation.
#44 North Carolina $43.1 million
The Tar Heels trudged to 3-9 but still cleared $22M.
#43 Colorado $43.5 million
It’s not easy to win in Boulder and Mike McIntyre actually did it the year before (10-4). This was the 5-7 crash year, but the Buffs still cleared $21.4M profit.
#42 Louisville $43.6 million
Louisville’s $16.7M football profit was actually less than it cleared on hoops ($21.7M). The basketball gross was almost identical ($43.1M).
#41 Arizona $44.0 million
You gotta Bear Down to make any money on football in Tucson – a $11.8M profit.
#40 Iowa State $44.3 million
In just his second year, Matt Campbell got the Cyclones their first winning season in 8 and a $21.2M profit.
#39 Texas Tech $45.1 million
Guns Up to protect that $20M profit.
#38 North Carolina State $45.2 million
The Pack play at a hoop school, but cleared $23.9M on football, one of the better balance sheets in the ACC.
#37 Oklahoma State $45.7 million
He’s a man, he’s now over 50 and his team made a 22.2M profit.
#36 Stanford $46.8 million
David Shaw has stabilized the Cardinal and his program is making consistent money – $19.8M in 2017.
#35 Arizona State $47.5 million
In his final year before Herm Edwards arrived, Todd Graham’s program somehow managed to spend more than $50M on football and actually posted a $2.7M deficit based on the 2017 season. Most SEC programs don’t spend that much. Even Tennessee! Again, like UCLA, could be a buried buyout cost for Graham is involved. No way to know.
#34 Northwestern $49.7 million
Pat Fitzgerald has been doing more with less longer than anyone but Bill Snyder. The Cats cleared $19.7M in 2017.
#33 Mississippi $51.2 million
Hugh Freeze had it going here for a while before his scandal-ridden removal, but the Rebels are regressing to their mean and plunged 11 spots from last year’s list and out of the revenue top 25. Ole Miss made a $21.0M profit in 2017.
#32 Illinois $51.3 million
I’ve said it before: Based on what they have to watch, Illini fans are the most faithful in college football. How did UI make a $29M profit off a 2-10 season?
#31 Indiana $51.9 million
Yep, it’s a hoop school but the hardcore football fans do exist and IU ran a nice $27.5 profit – actually more than Hoosier basketball grossed in 2017-18 ($25.1M).
#30 Clemson $52.0 million
This is the most mystifying figure maybe of the whole list to me: After consecutive national title game appearances, winning one, the Tigers managed only a $5.7M profit. Of course, Dabo’s program spent almost like Bama, a whopping $46.3M.
#29 Georgia Tech $52.1 million
Very nice sum for a so-so ACC program – a $27.0M profit. Being in a huge city doesn’t hurt.
#28 Virginia Tech $55.3 million
Justin Fuente infused some energy in a weary program and the Hokies cleared $27.4M in 2017.
#27 Utah $55.8 million
Three sports things to do in Salt Lake, go skiing, see the Jazz or root on the Utes. This was the 4th-most-lucrative program in the Pac-12 with a $30.2M profit in 2017.
#26 Texas Christian $56.6 million
New stadium coming in Fort Worth which will certainly cut into some bottom line, but TCU made $17.4M profit in 2017.
#25 Miami $57.1 million
This is rather surprising in that Cane fans have always been fickle, but remember, Mark Richt’s team started 10-0 that year before cratering at Pitt. The U cleared a 19.8M profit.
#24 Southern California $60.2 million
Todd Helton’s second straight Pac-12 title helped Troy to a $27.3M profit. This is down a notch from last year’s list.
#23 Minnesota $61.6 million
Say what we will about P.J. Fleck, he’s selling Minneapolis. This is the Gophers’ first appearance in the revenue top 25 with a chunky $33.8M profit.
#22 South Carolina $64.4 million
Exactly where the Gamecocks ranked last year. Again, the other USC grossed more and cleared a lot more ($31.1M profit) than its more successful in-state rival Clemson.
#21 Arkansas $67.9 million
In the final year of the Bret Bielema regime, profits took a plunge of more than $10M to $23.2M and the Hogs dropped 5 spots in gross revenue from #16 on last year’s list.
#20 Oregon $70.5 million
Willie Taggart didn’t accomplish a lot in a single season at UO before bolting for Florida State and the Ducks’ ledger pretty much tread water. Oregon does remain #2 in the Pac-12 in football gross revenue and tops in profit ($42.8M).
#19 Iowa $76.0 million
Even though the Hawkeyes waded through their second consecutive 8-5 season in 2017, the books were healthy again in Iowa City. The Hawkeyes jumped 6 spots from #25 in fiscal 2016. Profits leapt $16M to $42.9M profit.
#18 Michigan State $77.9 million
Mark Dantonio’s program rebounded from a troubled 2016 and jumped 2 spots from last year with a substantial $44.4M profit – more than twice that of the gross of Tom Izzo’s hoop program ($21.9M).
#17 Washington $81.1 million
This remains the Pac-12 cash cow – which is indicative of where the conference is heading in relation to the rest of the Power Five. Though Chris Petersen’s program nudged up a million in gross and stayed virtually even with a $42.4M profit, the Huskies lost 3 spots from last year’s list.
#16 Wisconsin $82.4 million
This was the Badger team that headed to Indianapolis at 12-0 and ranked #3 and gave Ohio State a game in the B1G championship before settling for the Orange Bowl. Bucky not only cleared $52.2M but had an efficient .633 profit margin – 2nd in the B1G.
#15 Texas A&M $82.6 million
The opposite was true of A&M which was still financing the renovation of Kyle Field and managed just a $34.5M profit after a whopping $48.1M in expenses. Here begins a logjam of SEC and B1G schools accounting for 11 of the revenue top 15.
#14 Louisiana State $86.6 million
LSU drops 3 spots from the 2016 list. Ed Orgeron’s first full year after the firing of Les Miles resulted in a 9-4 record on the field and a $55M profit off it with an efficient .635 profit margin
#13 Florida State $87.5 million
Again, FSU was far and away the most lucrative ACC program, though it fell out of the top 10 as Jimbo Fisher ended his tenure and wound up at A&M. Seminole football cleared a relatively meager $29.8M.
#12 Florida $88.0 million
Despite a disastrous 4-7 final season under deposed Jim McElwain, the Gators maintained their spot at #12 with a $40.7M profit.
#11 Nebraska $92.5 million
This was the final desolate season under ill-fitting Mike Riley, but remember, UNL announced the Scott Frost hiring with the New Year – which we suppose represented a sizable upswing in various revenue through the fiscal year ending last June. Husker profits soared by $23M from the prior year and profits jumped $13.5M to $46.4M. That accounted for a leap of 7 spots on the list.
#10 Auburn $93.6 million
Both gross and net revenue nudged upward incrementally for War Eagle, tipping a $50.0M profit. Though, a disappointing SEC title game after the upset of Alabama in the Iron Bowl begat an anticlimactic Peach Bowl loss to Central Florida in Frost’s last game with the Knights.
#9 Tennessee $93.9 million
In the wake of Butch Jones’ firing after a 4-8 season, followed by the ridiculous and embarrassing hiring debacle commandeered by a local talk show host, Vol football’s revenue generation plunged as well. Tennessee drops 7 spots from #2 on last year’s list. The $48.6M net take after expenses plummeted nearly $30M from fiscal 2016-17.
#8 Penn State $100.1 million
Last year only 4 programs reached 9 figures; this year it’s twice that many. For the first time, Penn State skyrocketed past $100M in gross revenue and cleared $54.5M after expenses – a massive gain of more than 20 percent – in the final season of the electric Saquon Barkley. PSU leaped 5 spots into the revenue top 10. A couple of side notes: men’s basketball grossed $10.9M and cleared $3.8M in profit during the 2017-18 run to the NIT title. Women’s basketball grossed just $847K against $4.9M in expenses – a deficit of just over $4M.
#7 Oklahoma $102.3 million
Lincoln Riley’s exciting inaugural season yielded a Big 12 title and a College Football Playoff berth in the Rose Bowl, narrowly lost to Georgia in double-overtime. Heisman winner Baker Mayfield was worth the price of admission himself and the 12-2 season generated a whopping $63.2M profit.
#6 Notre Dame $107.4 million
Brian Kelly’s team rebounded from a gruesome 4-8 in 2016 and had a shot at the College Football Playoff until an ugly 41-8 loss at Miami in week 11. The buzz helped the Irish jump 10% in gross revenue and top $100M while raking in $54.6M in profit.
#5 Ohio State $110.7 million
OSU shot past $100M with a leap of nearly $21M in gross revenue – an astounding 23-percent gain over fiscal 2016-17. Despite decisive losses to Oklahoma and Iowa that ruined CFP hopes, the Buckeyes pulled $64.3M in profit.
#4 Alabama $111.1 million
You would think college football’s preeminent program that won its 5th national title in 9 years in 2017 would be the revenue king, too. But that wasn’t true last year (#3) and isn’t this year, either. Nick Saban will spend money and Bama gladly backs up the Brinks for him. His program again easily topped all of college football with $62.9M in expenses, just a smidge above fiscal 2016-17. The $48.2M profit was a modest rise of $2.3M.
#3 Michigan $124.9 million
Now, we get to the really obscene Malibu Colony level. Jim Harbaugh’s program rises a notch from #4 in fiscal 2016-17. You wonder how he can take the entire squad to Rome for team-building? An $81.4M clearance after expenses is how. That’s a .652 profit margin, tied for tops in the nation with Georgia. Speaking of which…
#2 Georgia $129.0 million
This was the Bulldogs’ so-close-to-a-championship season ruined by Tua Tagovailoa’s overtime strike. Few saw the run to the CFP title game coming after Kirby Smart’s 8-5 year in 2016. But if you had to name the epicenter urban locale of college football, it’s probably Atlanta and they got very excited about the Dawgs to the tune of an $84.1M profit. UGa jumped 5 spots from the 2016-17 list. But it wasn’t passing the lead steer.
#1 Texas $143.1 million
Texas football really is in its own zip code. No matter what the Longhorns do on the field – and they barely made the fleabag Texas Bowl in 2017 against Missouri – the fanbase is massive and affluent and willing. UT football’s gargantuan $101.8M profit in fiscal 2017-18 is unprecedented for any college athletic program. It is the first time any has topped 9 figures after expenses. And this during a 7-6 season.