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Ten AQ Programs Who Rely the Most on Student Activity Fees

This post was originally published in April 2011. Any updates since have been for SEO purposes only. However, we still write regularly about athletic department finances.

Here’s a little bonus for the weekend if you liked the stories on which programs rely the most heavily on student activity fees (SEC, Big Ten and Big 12 breakdown here – ACC, Pac-10 and Big East breakdown here).

The top ten schools by dollar amount:

1University of South Florida$13,026,289.0033.24%
2University of Virginia$12,160,103.0014.86%
3University of Connecticut$8,626,506.0014.74%
4Rutgers University$8,441,092.0013.15%
5Florida State University$6,919,449.009.30%
6University of North Carolina$6,859,868.009.42%
7Virginia Tech$6,533,756.0010.27%
8Auburn University$5,261,604.005.68%
9Georgia Tech$4,643,368.008.39%
10North Carolina State University$4,200,610.008.49%

The top ten schools by percent of total revenue:

1University of South Florida$13,026,289.0033.24%
2University of Virginia$12,160,103.0014.86%
3University of Connecticut$8,626,506.0014.74%
4Rutgers University$8,441,092.0013.15%
5Mississippi State University$4,000,000.0010.49%
6Virginia Tech$6,533,756.0010.27%
7University of North Carolina$6,859,868.009.42%
8Florida State University$6,919,449.009.30%
9North Carolina State University$4,200,610.008.49%
10Georgia Tech$4,643,368.008.39%

In both cases 9 of the 10 are ACC and Big East schools. SEC programs Auburn and Mississippi State fill out the final slot in each.

As I showed you yesterday, the ACC and Big East average the least fooball revenue out of the AQ conferences. Now you see they lead in reliance on student activity fees. Coincidence? I think not.


  • Kristi Dosh

    Kristi A. Dosh is the founder of and has served as a sports business analyst and contributor for outlets such as Forbes, ESPN, SportsBusiness Journal, Bleacher Report, SB Nation and more. She is also the author of a book on the business of college football, Saturday Millionaires. Kristi is a sought-after consultant and speaker on topics related to the business of college sports and a former practicing attorney. Click to learn more



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  4. Dave

    April 28, 2011 at 12:45 am

    In this article, USF doesn’t look very good. This raises the question- what is the breakdown of activity fees being used to support football per student? USF is one of the 10 biggest universities in the nation, so I’m wondering if, on an individual level, USF students actually are not supporting the program as much as students at some of the other schools on the list.

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  6. danallen2

    May 11, 2011 at 10:37 am

    I think it would make more sense to add all student fees together with direct support. It doesn’t make a difference to the AD where the additional income is coming from. Take UConn and Rutgers, for instance. You’d see a diffrerent picture if you added fees to support at those two schools.

    Another interesting study would be to look at the budgets growth of schools that jumped to D1 in football the last 10 to 15 years. I think you’d find massive growth in the athletic budget. U Buffalo went from $7 million total budget to plus $20 million. So, even though football profits grow, they do not grow at a sufficient rate to offset the massive increase in expenses. The majority of upgraders would be better off staying in lower divisions. They’re all gambling they can make bigger profits, and so far, they are losing that gamble.

    • Kristi Dosh

      May 11, 2011 at 10:48 am

      I have plans to do that in the future. Those initial pieces were based solely on student fees because that’s what students care about. Forget that other direct institutional support comes from their tuition – they see the athletic fee line item and start asking questions and/or complaining. That’s why I focused on student fees first.

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