How Important Are Donations/Contributions and Football Ticket Sales to Penn State?

Last Updated on June 5, 2014

Research by Staff

Penn State is not subject to public records requests for financial data relating to its athletic department, which makes yesterday’s financial penalties hard to analyze. (For more on why Penn State isn’t subject to these disclosures read here.) However, taking a look at public schools in the Big Ten may shed some light on how important donations/contributions and football ticket sales are to the athletic department.

The first chart shows how football-related contributions (generally tied to tickets and suites) and football ticket sales impact an athletic department’s total revenue. Keep in mind, reporting practices vary with regards to how contributions are attributed, which is why we’ve included a second chart below to show total athletic department contributions, as some schools reported a large portion of contributions as non-sport specific.

This chart shows total athletic department contributions in relation to total athletic department revenue:

For more on how contributions/donations play a role in Penn State’s future, check out this piece by founder, Kristi Dosh, on

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