Monday, August 25, 2008

NCAA Men's Football

Well, college classes have started here at the University of Iowa and Fall is just around the corner - so college football season must be soon upon us. The University of Iowa football team takes on that dreaded powerhouse - the University of Maine - here in Iowa City on August 30th. Can you feel the tension? OK, maybe not. I heard a motivating factor for scheduling Maine was that Maine is the former employer of Iowa's current men's football coach - but I could be wrong. Last year Iowa finished unranked in any poll, so there is hope for improvement this Fall!

Anyway, continuing my series on NCAA Division I-A finances, let's look at the average revenue, expenses, profits and per student profit/loss from the 2005-2006 academic year for Iowa, along with the Big 10, ACC, Big12, Big East, Conference USA (C-USA), Mid-American, Mountain West, Pac 10, SEC, Sun Belt, WAC and Notre Dame which is the only Independent university that I included.

First Iowa made nearly $11 million in profit off of football in 2005-2006 on about $32 million of revenues, and the football team generated just over $80,000 per student. Now, this is one of the reasons that some say NCAA student athletes (primarily in football and men's basketball) should be paid for playing these sports. The NCAA is against paying their athletes (naturally). Typically the NCAA makes this argument on grounds that college is an amateur sport. I do not support this argument, but would also not say that in 2005-2006 the football players at the University of Iowa should have been paid on average $80,000 per player. This is not the place for that argument, and I write up my views of college player pay in a future issue.

As you can see on a per student basis the SEC has the highest profit ($157,755), followed closely by the Big 10 ($148,408). following the SEC and Big 10 is the Big 12 with an average per student profit of close to $89,000 and the PAC 10 with about $74,000. From there per student profits starts to drop dramatically, with four conferences averaging a per student loss in football.

Notre Dame made the most profit and per student profit of any of the NCAA Division IA football colleges, raking in nearly $43.5 million or $443,000 per player. I would suspect much of this is due to the national TV contract Notre Dame has with NBC. Without this contract, I would guess that Notre Dame is similar to Georgia, Michigan or Ohio State. Interesting enough, Texas, which I did not include individually has similar revenues, expenses and profits ($42.5 million) as Notre Dame, but without the same TV contract.

Average conference per student profits/losses is 99% correlated with the conference average revenues. Average conference per student profits/losses are 87% correlated with average conference expenses. Finally, average student per conference are only 42% correlated with average per student profit/losses.

Just a quick note - neither Air Force, Army nor Navy are in the database that I am using - which seems a curious omission. So when looking at the Mountain West Conference remember that the averages excludes Air Force.

Feel free to let me know what you think!

Conf/School Number Revenue Expense Profit/Loss Per Student
Iowa 136 $31,810,059 $20,848,711 $10,961,348 $80,598
Big 10 112.5 $31,072,236 $14,296,327 $16,775,910 $148,408
ACC 110.8 $16,210,502 $11,840,104 $4,370,399 $38,318
Big 12 128.4 $23,276,614 $11,934,861 $11,341,753 $88,768
Big East 114.9 $14,555,494 $10,819,732 $3,735,762 $30,621
C-USA 111.2 $5,502,327 $6,587,749 -$1,085,422 -$10,295
Notre Dame 98 $61,463,627 $17,973,037 $43,490,590 $443,782
Mid-American 103.6 $2,807,481 $4,410,194 -$1,602,713 -$15,623
Mountain West 121.1 $7,322,567 $7,146,869 $175,698 $1,259
Pac 10 111.8 $20,253,497 $12,148,398 $8,105,099 $73,699
SEC 122.9 $32,991,030 $13,017,115 $19,973,915 $157,755
Sun Belt 120.1 $2,903,805 $3,660,964 -$757,159 -$6,021
WAC 104.3 $3,990,374 $4,395,897 -$405,523 -$4,058

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