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Big 12 Football Schools Ranked by Profit



I swiped this idea from Penn Live, which recently ranked every SEC team by profit earned from football based on numbers from the U.S. Department of Education (which is also what I used to look at recruiting numbers recently).

I cross-checked OSU’s number with its publicly-available data which you can find here, and the numbers ($42M revenue and $23M expenses) matched exactly. I don’t know where the data is for the other nine teams so I can’t check it, but I presume that if the Dept. of Education got OSU’s correct, then they got the other nine schools’ data correct, too.

All numbers are based on the 2016-17 school year, which means the 2016 football season. Let’s start with the lowest profit and move to the biggest (full table at the bottom of the page).

10. West Virginia ($2.3M profit)

Something wonky is going on here. WVU reported only making $22.5 million in 2016-17, the lowest in the Big 12 by over $10 million. And yet they also report making $27 million in non-football and non-basketball sports revenue (both men’s and women’s). That’s a lot! OSU reported around $4 million by comparison (and Texas only made $17M). So maybe it’s a reporting issue, or maybe WVU is having a harder time marketing a skullet than OSU is a mullet.

9. Baylor ($9.9M)

Baylor reported the fourth-highest expenses of any football program in the league at $33.4 million. Both private schools are in the top four, and there’s a huge gap between them, Texas and OU and the rest of the league when it comes to spending money. I’m not sure if that’s a private school thing or, again, the way they report, but I found it interesting.

8. Kansas ($16.1M)

They made $33 million in football and $18 million in basketball. OSU made $42 million in football and $11 million in basketball. Also congrats to KU for spending less than anyone else in the league. I would say you get what you pay for, but what they’ve gotten suggests they haven’t paid anything at all.

7. Kansas State ($21M)

If I would have told late 1980s you (or 1980s your dad) that Kansas State’s football program would someday bring in $21 million in profit in 12 months, the reaction would have been incredible.

6. Iowa State ($22.4M)

I think one reason it’s difficult to engender change in college football programs is because they are profitable regardless of whether they are successful. Iowa State went 3-9 in 2016 and made $22 million in profit. Can you make more than that if you’re better? Sure, but it’s difficult to want to change when you’re banking that kind of dough every year.

5. Oklahoma State ($22.9M)

I did OSU’s number first, and I thought they might end up being ranked in the top three. I was wrong, but I think it’s interesting that the fat middle of this list all pretty much makes the same amount of money.

4. TCU ($23.1M)

Is it more shocking that TCU generated nearly $60 million in revenue or that it spent on par with OU’s football program?

3. Texas Tech ($23.2M)

Hey, Tech found something it’s a lot better at than Oklahoma State: Dollars per win.

2. Oklahoma ($58M)

About what I thought. This is what happens when you have a gargantuan fan base and sell out a 90,000-seat stadium every single week.

1. Texas ($97.9M)

Texas generated $141 million in revenue in 2016-17 from its football team alone. That’s nearly twice what OSU’s entire athletic department generated. Its basketball team almost matched Kansas in revenue. Its football team spends more than Oklahoma State’s makes. OSU’s expenses are $17,000 per football player. Texas’ are $53,000 per player.

Texas is 2-6 against Oklahoma State since 2010.

Football Program Revenue Expenses Profit
Texas $141,173,444 $43,306,703 $97,866,741
OU $95,876,446 $37,848,199 $58,028,247
Texas Tech $44,646,242 $21,460,207 $23,186,035
TCU $58,775,636 $35,716,777 $23,058,859
Oklahoma State $42,225,614 $19,321,071 $22,904,543
Iowa State $41,584,474 $19,177,215 $22,407,259
Kansas State $40,887,031 $19,889,407 $20,997,624
Kansas $33,144,217 $17,061,940 $16,082,277
Baylor $43,223,215 $33,370,976 $9,852,239
WVU $22,453,097 $20,122,095 $2,331,002

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