Highest Athletic Department Net Income: Big Ten

Last Updated on March 25, 2012

Next up in BusinessofCollegeSports.com’s investigation into the athletic departments with the highest net income is the Big Ten.  Earlier today, financial data for ACC and Big 12 athletic departments was posted.  Tomorrow, we’ll investigate the Big East, Pac-12 and SEC.  On Wednesday, a list of the athletic departments with the highest net income will be published.

The data was obtained from the Department of Education and is for 2010-11.  The data from the Department of Education is by no means perfect.  Throughout this series, net income was calculated by subtracting the “grand total expenses” from the “grand total revenues” that the athletic department reported to the Department of Education.  Expenses in this instance included:  head and assistant coach salaries, athletically related student aid, recruiting expenses, operating (game-day expenses) and “not allocated” expenses.  The expenses faced by athletic departments, however, may be greater than those reported in this snapshot provided by the Department of Education.  For example, an athletic department may have capital expenses outside of those expenses included in the report.  This all being said, this data is the only data publicly available for both public and private institutions.  Thus, it at least provides some insight into athletic department revenues, expenses, and net income before taking into consideration additional expenses, like capital projects.

SchoolTotal Athletic Department RevenueTotal Athletic Department ExpensesNet Income
Michigan State80,963,182.0067,450,913.0013,512,269.00
Ohio State131,815,819.00113,184,855.0018,630,964.00
Penn State116,118,026.0084,498,339.0031,619,687.00

In 2010-11, two Big Ten athletic departments turned zero net income:  Minnesota and Northwestern.  Each of these athletic departments, however, generated over $55 million in revenue.

Save for Minnesota, Northwestern and Wisconsin, in 2010-11, every other Big Ten athletic department generated over $1 million in net income.  However, Michigan and Penn State led the way in terms of net income generated.  Michigan generated net income of $26,649,499.00, while Penn State enjoyed a net income of $31,619,687.00.

Interestingly enough, however, is that Ohio State generated the greatest amount of revenue of any Big Ten athletic department.  The Ohio State athletic department generated revenue of $131,815,819.00.  However, Ohio State’s athletic department also had the highest amount of expenses in the conference, at $113,184,855.00.


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  • Clint Waltz
    March 19, 2012

    So far no athletic department has posted a loss? At least according to the Dept of Ed’s data? That is pretty suspicious, no? I worked for Iowa State’s AD Dept a few years ago and I know for a fact we posted a loss each year. I think someone is fudging the numbers perhaps? Especially when there are all the warnings about AD’s in trouble yet according to these numbers we have a small few conveniently breaking exactly even but most of the schools are in the black? Perhaps the data should exclude any extra funds from the academic side of the university and should only include the direct financial figures generated by the AD’s themselves? That would give us a more accurate picture of their self-sufficiency.

    • Kevin
      March 20, 2012

      Iowa St. also doesn’t share revenue or have a network that also pays each school.

  • Tim
    March 20, 2012

    Iowa, Illinois and Purdue need hockey teams


    The Big Ten needs to remove itself from NCAA Baseball to start a later baseball season.

    • jj
      March 23, 2012


  • DolanP
    March 20, 2012

    When you say “generate revenue,” you include donations and student fees right? And expenditures exclude expenditures that occur under other budget lines, so, for example, if the campus police pay millions in overtime on football and basketball game days, that doesn’t show up on the AD expenditure list right? There’s lots of ways to count.

    In any case, that’s profit for the athletic department, which most ADs don’t share with, say, the medical school.

  • mwaal
    May 14, 2012

    The data from the Department of Education is by no means perfect. Notify me of new posts via email.Hope you like my post on بنات today.

  • شات مصر
    September 22, 2012

    The Big Ten needs to remove itself from NCAA Baseball to start a later baseball season