Texas and Texas A&M always have been formidable players in the world of college sports finance. But they moved into new territory during their 2017 fiscal years.
Both schools exceeded $210 million in total operating revenue for the year, amounts that take on a different meaning when put against context provided by a USA TODAY Sports analysis of annual data from NCAA Division I public schools that were compiled in partnership with Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications.
Texas’ $214.8 million in revenue and Texas A&M’s $212 million — an amount boosted by donations from a fundraising drive for facilities — come close to the combined revenues of the 12 Big Sky Conference public schools ($233.8 million).
Perhaps more startling within the narrower picture of the Football Bowl Subdivision, which comprises college sports’ biggest-money schools, Texas’ and Texas A&M’s combined revenues are greater than the total combined revenues of Conference USA’s 13 public schools ($412 million) and the total combined revenues of the Mid-American Conference’s 12 public schools ($385.7 million).
Texas’ $72.5 million in ticket revenue for 2017 — which athletics department spokesman John Bianco has said was partially attributable to an expansion of concert business at the basketball arena – is more money than the total revenue for 178 of the 230 public-school athletic programs for which annual financial reports to the NCAA could be obtained.
Here are a few other notable findings for 2017:
– After the two Texas schools, the next-highest revenue totals belonged to other usual financial powers: Ohio State ($185.4 million), Michigan ($185.2 million) and Alabama ($174.3 million). After that came an considerable gap to the No. 6 school, Georgia, at $157.9 million.
– On the spending side, Texas lead with operating expenses of $207 million. That figure doesn’t just mark the first time a school has reported more than $200 million in expenses during the 13 years for USA TODAY Sports has been compiling the data – it also is the largest by a margin of almost $32 million over the $175.4 million that Michigan spent in 2017.