The Money Bowl

The real competition in big-time college sports is over who can spend the most.

Efforts are under way to improve the comparability of finances in college sports. Rule changes enacted for the 2006–07 school year require universities to file financial reports using a common set of accounting definitions and have them audited by a third party. The new guidelines also require schools to report capital expenditures and the athletic department’s share of costs being picked up by the university. “We believe it will significantly improve the quality and reliability of our data,” says Jim Isch, CFO of the NCAA.

The NCAA is also making changes to promote more transparency. After the coming year, schools will be able to view the financials of up to 10 peers, says Isch. While the public will still be kept largely in the dark, sharing data among universities offers them some hope of understanding — and hence controlling — athletic spending. — J.McC.

Winners and Losers
Some college athletic programs run a surplus, but many go well into the red.
Most Profitable Athletic Programs
University of Georgia $23.9*
University of Michigan 17.0
University of Kansas 10.1
Virginia Tech University 8.3
University of Texas 7.3
University of Iowa 6.7
Kansas State University 5.5
Texas A&M University 5.3
University of Alabama 5.3
Louisiana State University $5.1
Least Profitable Athletic Programs
University of Arkansas-Little Rock -$8.7*
University of California-Berkeley -7.9
University of Cincinnati -4.1
University of North Texas -3.1
University of South Carolina -2.7
West Virginia University -2.3
University of Washington -2.2
University of Hawaii -2.2
University of Nevada -1.8
North Carolina State University -$1.3
* Revenues minus expenses for the 2004–05 academic year (in $ millions). The numbers are presented here as reported to the NCAA. Schools differ greatly in how they report financial information.
Source: Indianapolis Star analysis of data obtained through public-records requests.

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