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Texas most robust athletic department as revenues climb across the country

By Bryan Fischer | Blogger
Every year, armed with an army of researchers and Freedom of Information requests, USA Today pulls together one of the most comprehensive looks at athletic departments by counting pennies and crunching the numbers for its college athletics finances database. This year's version has been updated for 2011 and based on the revenue and expense reports collected from over 225 public schools in Division I.

Now, you could sit there and look through the database or, because you love the Eye on College Football blog, you could spend the next few minutes reading through the highlights, lowlights and interesting numbers that raised an eyebrow or two.

Top revenue producers, six AQ conferences
College2011 Revenue2011 Expenses2006-2011 Revenue Growth
Texas$150 million$133.7 million53.7%
Ohio State$131.8m$122.3m25.9%
Alabama$124.5m$105.1m84%
Louisville$87.7m$81.8m69.7%
Oregon$85.8m$76.3m89.9%
Florida State$78.6m$86.9m17.3%


Notes on the fat cats:

- Texas has seen revenues and spending grow pretty much in lockstep with a little wiggle room here and there. The Longhorns' expenses have grown by $36.5 million over the past five years but slowly crept down from 92.8% of revenues in 2006 to 88.9% in 2011. Not only has the department turned a (large) profit every year, but DeLoss Dodds and company have done so without student fees or school funds the past three years.

- One thing to keep in mind at Ohio State is that the Buckeyes are the biggest athletic department in the country and sponsor 36 sports.

- At Alabama, revenues climbed from $67.7 million in 2007 B.S. -- that's 'Before Saban' -- to nearly double at $124.5 million in 2011 as the program was coming off a BCS national title run.

- Louisville is the first Big East team on the list and outpaces both the Pac-12 and ACC's leading revenue producing schools despite getting a minuscule amount from its conference media rights deals. Basketball is naturally a big part of the Cardinals success and the opening of the KFC Yum! Center partially explains the $24.2 million jump in revenue from 2010 to 2011.

- Thanks to mega-booster Phil Knight and the most successful run in school history on the football field, Oregon has seen revenues skyrocket and expenses shoot up 71% since 2006. It's also notable that the run to the BCS championship game caused revenue to go from $59 million to $122.4 million in a year. Because USC, which gets a nice chunk of change from ticket sales at the massive Coliseum and big merchandise money, is private we won't really know how the Ducks compare to their rival down South but it's safe to say Scrooge McDuck approves.

- It's no secret that Florida State has been eyeing the Big 12 recently and a key reason is revenue, where the Seminoles rank 24th overall on the list for 2011. There hasn't been that much growth over the past couple of years, 17%, especially when you look around at others in the Southeast and consider close to 10% of FSU's budget is a subsidy from the school. It's also not a positive that the program hasn't turned a profit since 2008 and took in just $136,782 more than Virginia last year.

- The Courier-Journal's Kyle Tucker also points out that Kentucky's John Calipari's guaranteed annual compensation is more than five whole Division I athletic budgets. Given that Mack Brown makes roughly the same amount, Texas literally has a coach worth more than some schools' athletic departments, an interesting perspective for a coach that has gone 13-12 over the past two seasons.

- According to USA Today, only 22 of the top 100 schools had a surplus in 2011. Altogether, Division I public schools spent nearly $6.7 billion on athletics in 2011. The best at balancing the books was, no surprise, the SEC schools.

- Just seven schools didn't receive a subsidy from the university, four of whom were in the Big Ten. UNLV received the biggest amount - over $32 million - while FIU had the highest percentage of its budget come from school subsidies among FBS schools at 80.3%.

- Increase in revenue, ACC 2006-2011:

17.3% 48.3% 25.9% 37.5% 14.9% 31.8%
19.4% 11.4%

Biggest net income: Virginia, 2010: $10,971,221. Biggest deficit: FSU, 2011: $8,374,016.

- Increase in revenue, Big 12 2006-2011:

53.7% 61.7% 23.5% -65.8%* 17.6% 61.1%
27% 30% 20.3% 49.8%

Biggest net income: Oklahoma State, 2006: $161,063,918. Biggest deficit: Oklahoma State, 2009: $20,029,043.

*The Cowboys took in over $211 million in contributions - most from T. Boone Pickens - in 2006, explaining the skewed revenue growth number.

- Increase in revenue, Big East 2006-2011:

68.7% 26.4% 21.1% 46.1% 93.3% 63%

Biggest net income: West Virginia, 2006: $10,756,866. Biggest deficit: Cincinnati, 2006: $6,772,950.

- Increase in revenue, Big Ten 2006-2011:

25.9% 43.6% 22% 27.3% 23.6% 31.3%
34.9% 53.4% 28%

Biggest net income: Michigan, 2010: $17,740,181. Biggest deficit: Minn., 2007: $6,040,819

- Increase in revenue, Pac-12 2006-2011:

89.9% 33.9% 26.8% 34.7% 41% 3.6%
10% 25.2%

Biggest net income: Oregon, 2010: $44,538,251. Biggest deficit: Washington, 2009: $6,555,918.

- Increase in revenue, SEC 2006-2011:

84% 49% 59% 41% 56% 17%
85% 49% 61% 67% 129%

Biggest net income: Alabama, 2010: $31,580,939. Biggest deficit: Florida, 2009: $5,268,539.
 
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