AUSTIN, TX - SEPTEMBER 3: University of Texas fans cheer on the Longhorns as they play the Rice Owls on September 3, 2011 at Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium in Austin, Texas. This was the debut game for the new Longhorn Network, a partnership between the University of Texas at Austin and ESPN. (Photo by Erich Schlegel/Getty Images)
In 2001, the University of Texas reported revenue from athletics of almost $54 million. Football brought in $26 million of that amount.
Just ten years later those numbers resemble monopoly money as football jumped all the way to $95 million in revenue, with UT reporting bringing in over $150 million in the 2010-11 school year once again making the Longhorns the highest-grossing athletics department in the NCAA.
Ohio State was next, trailing Texas in revenue by almost $18 million. Of course expenses have also risen. Texas spent over $133 million on its 19 collegiate sports in 2010-11 -- which is $18 million more than its first three football opponents for 2012 -- Wyoming, New Mexico and Mississippi spent -- combined.
According to USA Today, the top 50 revenue producers, led by Texas, generated an average of nearly $81.5 million while the bottom 49 averaged a little more than $28 million.
As the gap between the elite of the BCS and the rest of D-1 (FBS) football increases, the drumbeat for a restructuring of D-1 football increases but even Texas is not immune to the financial pressures being placed upon Universities outside of athletics.
University of Texas President William Powers, who disagreed with Gov. Rick Perry's call for a two year tuition freeze for UT, has been the subject of rumors that his job is in jeopardy.
Powers has been an advocate for athletics and its role in the overall health of the University. Powers sees athletics as serving as "the front porch" of the University and that success on the field can lead to increased interest from potential students as well as an increase in donors. Texas has also pledged to return $6 million of its annual revenue take from the Longhorn Network to academics.
Powers believes that the explosive increase in TV revenues for the major conferences over the recent years could eventually lead to a narrowing of the list of schools who will play at the highest level.
"We may get to a point - I want to underline the word 'may' - where many schools are really not in a position to compete at the level of the Floridas and the Notre Dames and the Texases and the USCs," Powers said. "Like any competitive business, being in it and not really being in the game, you can get hurt."
As for the financial disparities, Texas makes no apologies for its ability to generate revenue.
"Whatever we do, we want to do it well," UT Athletics Director Deloss Dodds says. "Whatever sport we have, we want it totally funded - I mean totally funded. We want it to be the right experience for every youngster on all of our teams. Whether it be travel or housing or whatever it is, we want it to be first class."
Later today we will take a deeper look in the revenue figures for the BCS programs and how these numbers are affecting realignment.