Monday, October 20, 2008

Western Kentucky University

Recently, CNN did a nice piece on Western Kentucky's move to Division I-A NCAA sports. This got me to thinking about what are the revenues and expenses from schools moving "up" to NCAA Division I-A. In a number of previous posts, I mention that the big NCAA conferences have much higher expenses and much higher per student losses than smaller NCAA conferences.

I only have NCAA revenue and expense data for a few years, and some of it frankly I am having a difficult time of following what they are reporting. So, what I did is looked at Western Kentucky over the 2002-03 to 2005-06 academic years by different sports and calculated their average number of students for each of the 10 sports programs they were including and the average revenues, expenses, profit or loss, and per student profit or loss. I have not adjusted for inflation, so please remember that these figures are in nominal dollars. I will have to come back and look at universities like Western Kentucky and see what is the effect of moving among NCAA athletic ranks. My suspicion is that the costs of competing at higher levels of NCAA athletics will typically be greater than the benefits, else we would see a huge amount of entry among "lower" ranked colleges and universities.

What would be a great study would be to look at the schools that have changed affiliation and see what effect that has on the athletic budget. Now the big problem with this is that there is no uniform reporting of athletic revenues and expenses. Supposedly, the NCAA is going to enforce uniform accounting, which would be great to guide the financial impacts. I have noticed that some schools, such as Boston College always break-even (i.e. revenues and expenses are always the same), which frankly is a bigger miracle than when Doug Flutie tossed the "Hail Mary" against Miami in the 80's.

Anyway, here is the table for the 10 sports that Western Kentucky competed in from 2002-03 to 2005-06.

Western Kentucky

2002/03 - 2005/06 Male Revenue Expenses Profit/Losses Per Student
Baseball 37.3 $511,899 $503,379 $8,520 $229
Basketball 14.0 $1,819,098 $1,293,276 $525,822 $37,559
All Track Combined 74.5 $240,269 $305,881 -$65,611 -$881
Football 100.8 $2,473,353 $2,141,566 $331,787 $3,293
Golf 12.8 $102,597 $106,927 -$4,330 -$340
Soccer 24.3 $297,239 $314,067 -$16,828 -$694
Softball NA NA NA NA NA
Swimming and Diving 34.3 $210,880 $258,466 -$47,585 -$1,389
Tennis 10.3 $72,054 $85,652 -$13,598 -$1,327
Volleyball NA NA NA NA NA

Western Kentucky

2002/03 - 2005/06 Female Revenue Expenses Profit/Losses Per Student
Baseball NA NA NA NA NA
Basketball 12.8 $1,174,857 $1,057,336 $117,521 $9,217
All Track Combined 51.8 $299,505 $336,518 -$37,014 -$715
Football NA NA NA NA NA
Golf 11.3 $93,313 $100,680 -$7,368 -$655
Soccer 24.5 $462,901 $422,889 $40,012 $1,633
Softball 18.8 $371,685 $336,587 $35,098 $1,872
Swimming and Diving 28.3 $375,428 $321,658 $53,771 $1,903
Tennis 7.3 $94,555 $91,726 $2,829 $390
Volleyball 11.3 $303,651 $310,747 -$7,097 -$631

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