If you mosey on over to the Department of Education’s OPE Equity in Athletics Data Analysis Cutting Tool site, you can find all sorts of cool data on US colleges and universities – including how much revenue each school’s athletic department generated in 2008.
Take, for example, this breakdown of the SEC’s income comparison of basketball, football and total revenues, by school (in order of total revenues) and for the conference overall:
SCHOOL Basketball Rev. Football Rev. Total Rev. Florida $ 10,016,431.00 $ 66,150,063.00 $ 108,309,060.00 Alabama $ 8,766,826.00 $ 64,606,392.00 $ 103,934,873.00 LSU $ 6,034,178.00 $ 61,868,953.00 $ 100,077,884.00 Tennessee $ 12,576,715.00 $ 42,805,360.00 $ 92,524,125.00 Auburn $ 7,187,457.00 $ 58,618,819.00 $ 87,001,416.00 Georgia $ 7,266,018.00 $ 65,218,406.00 $ 81,496,357.00 S. Carolina $ 8,101,086.00 $ 57,118,519.00 $ 76,254,236.00 Arkansas $ 14,391,769.00 $ 38,630,265.00 $ 63,978,641.00 Vanderbilt $ 8,021,361.00 $ 18,564,940.00 $ 45,582,274.00 Kentucky $ 14,773,034.00 $ 26,143,126.00 $ 72,057,751.00 Mississippi $ 4,725,911.00 $ 18,688,648.00 $ 41,318,068.00 Miss. State $ 6,199,698.00 $ 18,732,248.00 $ 36,536,152.00 TOTAL $ 108,058,484.00 $ 537,145,739.00 $ 909,070,837.00
Note that for the conference as a whole, football generates five times as much income as basketball and more than half of all SEC revenue. Given those numbers, it’s not a surprise that no SEC school generates more basketball revenue than football revenue, but only Kentucky has a basketball program that even earns more than half as much as its football program.
On top of this, keep in mind that these are the numbers for 2008, the season before the new TV contracts kicked in. The disparity will be far greater in the next report.
I’ll do some more exploring, but a quick check only revealed only a couple of schools in 2008 playing D-1 football and basketball in a BCS conference that generated more basketball money than football money – Louisville and Duke.
I recognize that football enjoys greater popularity than does basketball, but still, that’s an enormous spread. Given how the money is currently generated, is it any wonder that the BCS-conference commissioners and presidents are at least somewhat apprehensive about what sort of an effect a football playoff might have on the regular season cash flow?