And the schools which made a profit this year in college athletics are…

Here: Table courtesy of USA Today:

Total revenue
Penn State
Oklahoma State
Kansas State
Texas A&M
Michigan State
West Virginia
Virginia Tech
Ohio State
$123,174, 176

That’s right 22 of 218 reporting schools did not lose money on athletics last year.  From the chart it is pretty clear that some schools were pretty big winners, with Oregon and Alabama really raking in the money for the 2009-2010 season.  What is very nice about the USA Today site, is that one can even go look at the breakdowns school-by-school for both revenues and expenses.  Curiously, many of the schools who are still making big profits are also taking extra money from their universities in the form of student fees.  Really, the students are helping to finance extra revenue for some of these programs.  This blog notes that some schools such as Ohio State and Florida do give back some of their revenues to help finance academics, libraries and other projects.

The question does exist about the other 196 schools on the list who did not make a profit and how they spent their money.  I know some schools like Missouri and Illinois are right on the borderline of the break even point.  Illinois notably made it to a bowl game for the first time in several years, and ended up going.  The cost of the trip surely exceeded a million dollars, and this amount would seem to make up the difference.  Additionally, the choice to give an extension to their football coach Ron Zook may have proved to be costly as they fired him last week.

In all, this shows that while money talks in college athletics, there isn’t necessarily a lot of athletic departments making money, and it would seem some poor decisions are keeping some schools from being profitable.  Of course many, such as the Knight Commission, would note that spending in college athletics is out of sync across the board, and really there is a real need for change and reform when you look at these numbers.

One Response to And the schools which made a profit this year in college athletics are…

  1. Dan Rascher says:

    Many more schools than those listed actually make money. There are many reasons why the data reported by USA Today does not show that. Please see the article on (

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