Britton Banowsky, I’ve got a question for you: if, as you say, colleges continue to seek joining Division I based on uniting a university and bringing alums back to campus as opposed to financial considerations, then why would paying players cause schools to drop football?
As always, when they say it isn’t about the money, it’s about the money.
According to data provided by the plaintiffs, C-USA revenues increased from $30 million in 2002-03 to nearly $59 million in 2011-12. Athletic budgets also experienced significant growth, as did Banowsky himself.
East Carolina’s men’s basketball team, for example, netted $642,000 in 2000 according to date collected by the Department of Education. In 2012, the school pulled in a cool $3 million. Rice football went from earning $2.2 million in ’02 to more than $40 million two years ago.
Coaching salaries have gone up along the way, as have those for athletic directors and conference commissioners.
By his own account, Banowsky said he was paid $328,000 during his first year as commissioner. Now his annual base salary is $500,000.
Part of that is due to the lucrative television contract C-USA has with Fox and CBS. The two television companies agreed to pay Banowksy’s league $84 million over a six-year period.
“There is more revenue flowing into the system than ever,” Banowsky testified. “But we’ve seen growth in expenses. As revenues are flowing in, it’s just plowed back into the athletics.”
Plowing sounds pretty lucrative. And keep in mind this is coming from the commissioner of a mid-major conference.