A book about “giant entertainment businesses that happened to do a little education on the side”

If you’re looking to do a little last minute holiday shopping for a college football fan who’s a bit cynical about the business side of the sport, here’s a recommendation.

At Texas, Michigan, Auburn, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Penn State, Notre Dame, Louisiana State University and Arkansas, revenues have increased to $762 million from $229 million from 1999 to 2012. That is a whopping 233 percent increase. Mr. Gaul observes that during this period “profit margins had ballooned to hedge-fund levels,” generated by television broadcast rights, luxury suites, seat donations and corporate advertising. Mr. Gaul reports that the big universities “have netted 90 percent of all the new money that has flowed into college football the last decade or two.”

… Meanwhile, the bank vaults remain open and the money is pouring in. No one Mr. Gaul spoke with seemed concerned with whether this incredible growth might be a bubble. He said that when he asked that question of the commissioners of the Big Ten and the Pacific-12, “they only laughed in response.” Until proven otherwise, they and others will do as the former Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds suggested: “Football is the train. You ride it for all it’s worth.”

Yeah, baby.


Filed under College Football, It's Just Bidness

12 responses to “A book about “giant entertainment businesses that happened to do a little education on the side”

  1. “Whether this growth might be an incredible bubble” – isn’t laughing what all the bankers were doing in 2007-08 before the real estate crash? Those who run college sports (and those who oversee them) are economic idiots.


  2. Scorpio Jones, III

    Football fans are the train, ride them.


  3. Hogbody Spradlin

    I’ve got a feeling that college football athletic directors will someday make doctors look like shrewd money managers by comparison.


  4. dawgfan

    Huge homes people have no chance of paying for, interest only loans, over appraised homes, politicians all in, taxpayers screwed in the end…..

    30 million facility just because other schools have them, strength coach at Alabama making more than most university presidents, new coach with no head coaching experience makes 3.75 million per year, Thursday night games, games ending at midnight, AD’s and athletic boards all in, college football fans screwed in the end…..


  5. Tronan

    I’ve long said that university administration combines the worst of academia (self-absorption and a corresponding lack of self-awareness) with the worst of the business world (short-sighted hucksterism), which results in a uniquely inept sociopathy. Casey Jones isn’t watching his speed, and there’s trouble ahead and trouble behind.


    • Jared S.

      Man, I live in a town with a public university. Six years ago, on the same day I hear on the radio that the University of Maryland System (comprised of 11 public Maryland colleges and universities including the one in my town) is making massive cuts to all it’s schools (read hiring and pay-increase freezes) the university in my town announces plans to build a $114 million library. They call it an “academic commons” but it’s a library. The school only has around 7,000 student. $114 million dollars for a library? It will be finished before next fall. Link below (it’s hideous too).



      • Tronan

        I used to live in Towson, where the local state university’s expenditure on facilities far surpasses spending on actual education.