A. Because that’s where the money is.

Q.  Why do schools like Georgia State start up football programs?

Men’s basketball works to a lesser extent, too.

Costly Competition

Here are the median revenues for collegiate sports in schools that have major football programs.

Football +$1,950,00
Basketball +$518,000
Baseball -$709,000
Track & Field, Cross Country -$657,000
Lacrosse -$640,000
Ice Hockey -$605,000
Soccer -$583,000
Swimming -$545,000
Wrestling -$518,000
Gymnastics -$418,000

Source: NCAA

All in all, it’s a losing proposition on average.

In a list examining the athletic departments of 119 Division I schools, 15 of the 17 men’s sports the NCAA examined lost money. Baseball and track and field were the most costly, and even fencing had a median loss of $114,000. Only basketball and football were profitable, but they don’t bring in enough cash to offset the money-draining volleyball and wrestling teams of the world.
That’s just the men’s programs.

But if you take the median profits of every sport the NCAA documented, the typical athletic program lost almost $4 million. (And that doesn’t include women’s sports—all 19 the NCAA examined lost money, including basketball.)

And you wonder why so many want the D-1 football postseason pie sliced up more.



Filed under It's Just Bidness

5 responses to “A. Because that’s where the money is.

  1. JaxDawg

    This isn’t new info, we’ve known this for years.

    It would be interesting to see the P&L for UGA’s equestrian team. Talk about an expensive sport.


  2. Section Z alum

    to the senator’s point, i offer an article from the ajc:


    “Georgia Tech lobbyist Dene Sheheane reported spending $1,008 on Perdue for the Chick-fil-A Bowl in Atlanta, which Tech played in. Sheheane said Perdue took part in the opening ceremony at the game. He and family members watched the game in the school’s box. Lobbyists for the state’s major universities are traditionally among the biggest spenders on policy-makers. University System officials have a lot at stake, since the state budget includes more than $2 billion a year in funding for schools. Officials say the tickets are paid for by school foundations and don’t come out of state funding.”


  3. Jordan

    Regardless of money, schools like Georgia State use sports as a means as advertisement, to advance the school’s profile, and to create a certain desired atmosphere on campus.

    GSU is no Emory, so they have a history of excellent academics to rely on. In order to create more school spirit and move away from the “commuter-school” tag, sports, especially football, make a lot of sense.


  4. rbubp

    What is also interesting to consider is that the actual universities get no part of that money. The athletic department uses its resources to fund 100% of the operation, including football floating most of the other sports, but there is no substantial revenue sharing between univ and AD (hence, you may recall the old lease agreement between UGA and the AD over Sanford Stadium–for $1 a year–they had to have it because the AD was an independent operation under state law, unique amongst university/departmental relationships. For comparison, no academic dept has to pay to use, say, the Chemistry building.

    So it is sometimes, perhaps even often, asked why universities put up with big-time sports at all. Well, the primary answers are donors (duh) who fill the foundation coffers (as well as that of the AD) because their love for the school is in its fullest bloom on Saturdays in October. And then there’s students, who want to go places with all the extracurriculars. Even a place like Duke gets a huge benefit from having a big-time basketball team in the the number (if not necessarily the quality) of applications.

    (The other best ways for universities to increase student applications? Raise tuition and increase entrance requirements. Yeah, THAT’S why they are constantly raising tuition, at least in part.)


  5. Hobnail_Boot

    More proof that Title IX is socialism AND doesn’t work as an economic model.