Oklahoma State Comes in 40th in Most Recent NCAA Revenue Report

Written by Kyle Porter

The new data for the 2016-17 school year were recently released, and Oklahoma State’s athletic department came in at No. 40 in total revenue, just $123 million behind No. 1 Texas. Hey, money can’t buy four of the last five, I suppose.

Here’s a look at the top 50 in revenue earned for 2016-17.

Rank School Conference Revenue
1 Texas Big 12 $214,830,647
2 Texas A&M SEC $211,960,034
3 Ohio State Big Ten $185,409,602
4 Michigan Big Ten $185,173,187
5 Alabama SEC $174,307,419
6 Georgia SEC $157,852,479
7 Oklahoma Big 12 $155,238,481
8 Florida SEC $149,165,475
9 LSU SEC $147,744,233
10 Auburn SEC $147,511,034
11 Tennessee SEC $145,653,191
12 Oregon Pac-12 $145,417,315
13 Florida State ACC $144,514,413
14 Penn State Big Ten $144,017,055
15 Wisconsin Big Ten $143,420,668
16 South Carolina SEC $136,032,845
17 Kentucky SEC $130,706,744
18 Iowa Big Ten $130,681,467
19 Arkansas SEC $129,680,808
20 Washington Pac-12 $128,745,183
21 Michigan State Big Ten $126,021,377
22 Louisville ACC $120,445,303
23 Nebraska Big Ten $120,205,090
24 Mississippi SEC $117,834,511
25 Minnesota Big Ten $116,376,862
26 Clemson ACC $112,600,964
27 West Virginia Big 12 $110,565,870
28 Indiana Big Ten $106,139,192
29 UCLA Pac-12 $104,106,646
30 Arizona State Pac-12 $101,579,860
31 Mississippi State SEC $100,062,237
32 Missouri SEC $97,848,195
33 Illinois Big Ten $97,447,731
34 Rutgers Big Ten $96,883,027
35 North Carolina ACC $96,551,626
36 Kansas Big 12 $95,251,461
37 Maryland Big Ten $94,881,357
38 Colorado Pac-12 $94,226,111
39 Virginia ACC $92,865,175
40 Oklahoma State Big 12 $91,644,865
41 Arizona Pac-12 $90,976,758
42 California Pac-12 $90,976,576
43 Texas Tech Big 12 $88,804,476
44 Virginia Tech ACC $87,427,526
45 Kansas State Big 12 $86,081,528
46 Purdue Big Ten $84,841,133
47 North Carolina State ACC $83,741,572
48 Utah Pac-12 $83,672,639
49 Connecticut AAC $83,374,223
50 Iowa State Big 12 $82,659,447

A total of 31 schools brought in $31 million in revenue in 2016-17, but Oklahoma State was not among them. Three of those are in the Big 12, with Texas clearly leading the way at nearly $215 million. OU and WVU also topped the $100 million number.

Overall Rank School Conference Revenue
1 Texas Big 12 $214,830,647
7 Oklahoma Big 12 $155,238,481
27 West Virginia Big 12 $110,565,870
36 Kansas Big 12 $95,251,461
40 Oklahoma State Big 12 $91,644,865
43 Texas Tech Big 12 $88,804,476
45 Kansas State Big 12 $86,081,528
50 Iowa State Big 12 $82,659,447

Where it gets interesting, though, is when you start looking at football wins compared to revenue earned. I took the top 50 and sorted them based on revenue rank for last school year and total wins since 2012, the first year of the new-look Big 12. Unsurprisingly, Oklahoma State and Kansas State are among the most efficient football programs in the country. Clemson, Virginia Tech and Utah are also up there (again, unsurprising).

Revenue Rank Wins Rank Difference SCHOOL
40 11 29 Oklahoma State
45 16 29 Kansas State
44 20 24 Virginia Tech
26 3 23 Clemson
48 28 20 Utah
22 8 14 Louisville
31 17 14 Mississippi State
47 34 13 North Carolina State
21 10 11 Michigan State

What about the other end? Schools that get the least bang for their buck. I know it’s not necessarily fair to do a one-to-one comp with revenue and football wins, but when that sport brings in the lion’s share of the revenue, we’re at least hitting on some sort of pattern in recent efficiency.

Revenue Rank Wins Rank Difference SCHOOL
2 14 -12 Texas A&M
28 41 -13 Indiana
4 18 -14 Michigan
33 47 -14 Illinois
36 50 -14 Kansas
8 26 -18 Florida
19 38 -19 Arkansas
11 36 -25 Tennessee
17 42 -25 Kentucky
1 35 -34 Texas

Texas, baby! When you can be (much) worse off than the likes of Tennessee, Kansas and Kentucky, you have to be proud of that position. Also, why is Kansas in here? Like I noted, I only looked at the top 50 programs in terms of revenue (i.e. most of the Power 5 schools). Kansas was 50th out of 50 in wins since 2012 (they have 10 total) but 36th in revenue (higher than Oklahoma State).

OSU athletic director Mike Holder insinuated recently that he’s proud of what Oklahoma State has been able to accomplish in both football and beyond despite its modest sub-$100 million budget. He was fact-checking yours truly when I challenged OSU on recruiting budget, and what he said was true (and still is).

“I think we rank sixth or seventh in the conference in budget,” said Holder. “That’s the problem. You’re not going to get anywhere dissecting the (recruiting) line items in the budget. The real problem is the overall size of the budget. Five years in a row, we’ve prevailed (in the Bedlam Cup) against our No. 1 rival, and they’re spending about twice as much money as us.”

Not quite twice, but the point is well taken. Oklahoma State has figured out how to be really, really good at a lot of sports (they just finished 32nd in the Learfield Directors’ Cup — OU checked in at No. 25) on an underwhelming budget. So that’s commendable … and so are efforts to raise that revenue (and hopefully the quality of performance) into the future.