I live by the Golden Rule: "He who has the gold sets the rules".
Apparently, the stewards of the NCAA agree with me.
The BCS schools (members of the ACC, Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, Pac Ten, SEC and Notre Dame) average about $12M PROFIT per year from football while Bowl Division non-BCS schools (members of the Sun Belt, WAC, Mid American, etc.) average losing about $1M per year from football.
And the cost to run with the biggest boys of college football keeps going up faster than the prices of the Maker’s Mark in the corresponding luxury boxes. The big boys from a revenue perspective are not surprisingly Notre Dame, Texas, Oklahoma, Michigan, Ohio State, Florida, Georgia, Alabama, and Tennessee.
Baylor will earn $8M from the Big 12
Being part of the Big 12 also has its advantages even for the dregs of the conference. This year’s total to be distributed among the member teams will reach $106 million – or about $8M per team. In the Big 12’s first season (96-97), the league earned just about $55 million. As American Express used to say, "Membership has its privileges."
According to reports filed by 55 of the 56 bowl teams with the Department of Education (Navy is exempt from filing) the University of Texas is the nation's richest, and most profitable football program, with revenue of $53.2 million, and a profit of $38.7 million, during the fiscal year that ended in August 2005, just as the current season was about to get underway.
To put this into context, Texas' profit from football is more than the revenue of all but eight of the other schools in the 2006 bowls.
Belmont's Petty Cash
That brings us to the opening weekend’s slate of games.
The Arkansas State Indians are bringing home $700 thousand for being Texas’ sacrificial lamb. That’s about $20,000 per point that you get rolled. Their AD deserves a raise as Rice and UCF are only earning about $400 thousand and 300 thousand respectively for that honor.
Arkansas State AD Dean Lee
Three weeks later, Arkansas State will face Tennessee which will guarantee the Indians $625,000. Those two games will earn the Indian athletic department three times as much as actually winning the Sun Belt and earning a spot in the New Orleans bowl with its $350k payout. That payout would have to be split among the other Sun Belt teams.
Thanks to the Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper for aggregating this list. Here are some other high payout games from this week’s slate:
W. Michigan at West Virginia $400,000
Central Michigan at Kansas $300,000
Eastern Michigan at Pittsburgh $250,000
Buffalo at Rutgers $225,000
Purdue at Toledo $225,000
Bowling Green at Minnesota $200,000
And then there is Mean Gene Chizik’s Iowa State Cyclones. They paid Kent State $125,000 and then let them take them to the woodshed. That truly is the Vortex of Suck.