Connect with us


Self-Sustaining Athletic Departments: More Than What Meets the Eye

Yesterday the list of self-sustaining athletic departments came out. The good news is the number grew to eight more schools than last year. The bad news is the number is 22. That’s just shy of 10% of all public Division I institutions.

Here’s a look at the 22 schools who turned a profit in the athletic department without having to rely on student fees or other forms of support from the university (including government funds):

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

The chart is courtesy of USA Today.

You know I like to give you more than what most media spoon-feeds you, so here are some thoughts and questions not covered in the USA Today article:

  • Why are some of these schools still taking in student fees when they’re turning a profit? I’ve detailed for you before which athletic departments take in student fees (SEC, Big Ten and Big 12; ACC, Big East, Pac-10). Offenders here: Georgia, Florida, Oregon, Iowa, Oklahoma State, Kansas State, Virginia Tech, and West Virginia. I’m not including Indiana who shows a negligible $23.00 in student fees.
  • This chart does not tell the whole story. It gives a very skewed view of what is going on at these schools. For example, both LSU and Ohio State write checks back to their universities. I recently showed you how Ohio State gave $1 million to library renovation last year, one of nine such payments over a nine-year period, amongst other funds given back to the university. This money is treated just like any other expenditure when it comes to the chart above. So, while Ohio State may appear to be at the bottom of this list, there are plenty of schools above it who have shown no evidence giving back to their university for anything other than required expenses. Also, props to my alma mater, Florida, for donating over $6 million back to the university last year to help cover cuts in its operating budget passed down from the state.
  • The focus of the USA Today piece and much of the commentary I’ve heard about it today is how many schools are out-spending their means. What I see is a clear case for why Division I football is too inclusive. Florida International will never be able to compete against Alabama in football. Period. There’s no reason for them to be in the same Division. 

What are your initial thoughts on seeing the chart above?


  • 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



  1. Pingback: What’s Unique about Louisville’s Athletic Budget? «

  2. Pingback: Using Student Fees to Support Athletic Department Budget «

  3. Pingback: Michigan’s 2011-2012 Budget: Facilities «

  4. Pingback: Passion of College Football Fans Transcends Professional Boundaries «

  5. Pingback: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Florida’s Football Revenue and Expenses «

  6. Pingback: More on The Longhorn Network «

  7. Pingback: How the NCAA’s Monetary Penalty Impacts Georgia Tech «

  8. Pingback: Which Sports Turn a Profit? «

  9. Pingback: John Swofford follows Slive’s lead, addresses the bigger issues in college football | CollegeFootballTalk

  10. Pingback: Booster Club Financials: LSU «

  11. Pingback: Collective Bargaining, Lockouts and Strikes: The Unintended Consequences of Paying College Athletes «

  12. Pingback: Is your Athletic Department Self-Sustaining?

  13. Pingback: Sports: The Best Paid Internships For College Students «

  14. Pingback: Halftime Adjustment: Sports are the Best Internships For Beef Carvers

  15. Pingback: What Would Cost of Attendance Scholarships Cost? «

  16. Pingback: Day One of NCAA Presidential Retreat in the books | CollegeFootballTalk

  17. Pingback: NCAA expected to approve increased value of scholarships | CollegeFootballTalk

  18. Pingback: And the schools which made a profit this year in college athletics are… « International Journal of Sport Finance

  19. Pingback: I Can Hardly Wait… | The Blahg

  20. Pingback: Peter and Stuart’s Stone Cold Coors Light Lock of the Week: College Football is Evil - The Pulse | The Pulse

  21. Pingback: Pity the Whining College Professor: Where’s the ESPN for Physics? : Perelman Pioneer & Company

  22. Pingback: ACC “Only” Adding Extra $1-2 Million Yearly in Expansion «

  23. Pingback: Arian Foster has Beef with NCAA........... - VolNation

  24. Pingback: Focusing on Blame Won’t Solve Florida State’s Money Trouble | College Football News, Opinion and Analysis | Chuck Oliver.Net

  25. Pingback: College Football Coaches Salaries: You Get What You Pay For?

  26. Pingback: Seminoles Decision to Ditch Jacksonville and Bama for Dallas and Cowboys and Easy One | College Football News, Opinion and Analysis | Chuck Oliver.Net

  27. Pingback: Kirk Ferentz's Iowa Contract & Parameters For Coaching Hot Seats - Saturday Blitz - College Football Insight, Interviews and Analysis

  28. Pingback: As Temple cuts 7 sports, some athletes brought to tears

  29. Pingback: Alabama's Insane $33 Million Profit from Football Proves Nick Saban's Value – Sports nSite

  30. Pingback: reviews of the rebuild hair program

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.