Only 23 schools out of the 228 colleges and universities that compete in NCAA Division I produced enough revenue to cover the cost of their athletic programs during the 2011-12 academic year, the most recent period for which data are available. Four of the 23 are in the Big 12 Conference.
Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas State and Texas Tech each had favorable variances in their 2011-12 athletic budgets, which means that they brought in more revenue from media rights, contracts, ticket sales, donations and other sources, including subsidies from outside of the athletic budgets, than they spent in operating expenses. The significance of this is that only 19 other major college programs operated their athletic programs in the black during this period.
Texas A&M, one of nine schools in the Southeastern Conference to favorable cover its expenses over this period, generated the most profit from its athletic programs ($32.7 million), thanks to a $5 million in subsidies.
Texas, from the Big 12, with the largest ahtletic budget in the country, was second behind Texas A&M, a former Big 12 member, with a favorable $25 million after expenses. Oklahoma and Kanssas State had favorable operating results of $10.2 and $9.5 million, respectively, and Texas Tech was 14th out of the 23 Division I schools that covered their costs, coming in at $3.8 in the black.
Texas and Oklahoma, which often draw criticism for the large budgets they have to work with, which are considerably more than the other eight schools in the Big 12, importantly were not aided by any subsidy payments to supplement their revenue generation efforts and help pad their results. Interestingly, only LSU among the nine SEC schools that reportedly operated their athletic programs in the black during 2011-12 did not receive any subsidies.
Kansas State’s recent success on the football field and on the basketball court has gone a long way toward helping the school operate an athletic program that is self-sufficient and has paid for itself in seven of the past eight years. K-State athletic director Jeff Currie credits the increased good will among its fan base, expecially in the sports of football and basketball, as being a key factor in generating positive financial results.
In contrast, Texas Tech had not been self-sufficient in the administration of its athletic profit and loss results in any of the previous seven years. As a result of a $2.6 million increase in donations and an additional $7.4 million in its share of Big 12 and NCAA revenue, Tech is now receiving $2 million less from the university than it did every year since 2006.
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