As the landscape surrounding dollars and cents in college athletics has been significantly impacted by changes to name, image and likeness rules, as well as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it’s been a whirlwind of an exercise to try and keep up. While there have always been sporadic studies and reporting done on university athletic department finances, Sportico has taken the endeavor one step further in these turbulent times.
Sportico, whose slogan prominently describes their content as “the business of sports”, has created a one stop shop financial database that tracks the official balance sheets of FBS athletic departments. Although that is the baseline requirement for tracking, the breakdowns include operating revenues for other major college sports, such as men and women’s basketball. The database also granularly breaks down different metrics for the major sports.
“Our numbers duplicate those that schools submit annually through the NCAA’s Membership Financial Report System, which we’ve obtained through numerous open records requests. As such, our database provides the most comprehensive and interactive examination into the finances of major college athletics,” the website said in a statement. Via Finance.Yahoo.com
The financial data currently present in Sportico’s database covers the 2019-2020 athletic calendar. For example, taking a look at the University of Alabama’s financial rundown reveals a $58.5 million operating expense for the Crimson Tide football team in the 2019-2020 year. Parsing the numbers even further, we find that $18.6 million of that total operating expense was attributed to coaching compensation. By comparison, game expenses totaled around $6.3 million, and athletic student aid comprised around $5.3 million of that total.
For effect and comparative purposes, the Toledo Rockets athletic department had a different breakdown in the 2019-2020 season. Out of their $9.9 million operating expenses for the football team, over $3.1 million was allocated to athletic student aid. Game expenses checked in at just over $1.1 million, and coaching compensation was reported as over $3.3 million.
In addition to expenses, there are also breakdowns present for the total revenue each of the major sports brought in. Kansas Jayhawks men’s basketball brought in a reported $16.4 million in 2019-2020, and the vast majority of that total($14.8 million) was attributed to ticket sales. On the other side of the coin, Southern Mississippi’s men’s basketball team brought in $493,000 in the same season, with $122,000 of that coming from NCAA distributions to the school.
The database includes information for three academic years, and it will be interesting to see if enhancements are made to visually show graphical trends over five years, ten years and longer periods of time.