Albama Arkansas Auburn Florida Georgia Kentucky LSU Mississippi State Missouri Ole-Miss USC Tennessee Texas A&M Vanderbilt
Latest News

Expansion By The Numbers 6: Athletic Budgets

Money equals facilities.  Facilities equal recruiting.  More money equals better facilities.  Better facilities equal better recruiting.

When it comes to college athletics — especially college football — money is the lifeblood of a program.  The deeper a program’s pockets, the more likely that program can build state of the art facilities and travel the nation looking for prospects.  The more likely it can hire a flashy head coach and a proven staff of ace recruiters with NFL experience.

Check the nation’s Top 25 each year and you’ll find many of America’s biggest-spending athletic departments represented.  So in Part 6 of our series on SEC expansion, we’ll look at the total dollars spent by 35 different potential — though many are highly unlikely — dance partners for the Southeastern Conference.

This Category:  Athletic budgets

Why:  There’s no better way to gauge both a school’s resources and its commitment to winning than by checking the US Department of Education’s yearly reports on athletic spending.  That doesn’t, however, mean that these numbers are perfect.  Schools can use different methods of budgeting, for example.  That’s why we’ll look only at the total athletic expenses for each school and not at individual program spending (like football versus basketball versus. badminton and so on).

Some schools like Mississippi and Mississippi State use a bit more private booster club money to help pay for expenses.  A school like Arkansas has very little debt which allows UA to reach deeper into its boosters’ pockets than these numbers might suggest.  The US Naval Academy doesn’t even report its athletic expenses (though, they’re believed to be rather small, which is why we’ll rank them at the bottom of our list).

In addition, most schools joining the SEC would see an increase in athletic department revenue which in turn would result in an increase in athletic department spending, too.

So we’re not talking a pure apples-to-apples comparison here.  But these are the best numbers available.  They’re the numbers turned in by the schools to the US Department of Education for school year 2009-2010.  If the numbers are good enough for the government, they’re good enough for us.

Below are the total athletic expenditures for the 35 schools we’re comparing in our series.


Rank School Athletic Expenses ’09-’10 (Millions)
1 Texas 113.9
2 Oklahoma 88.5
3 Penn State 80.2
4 Notre Dame 75.9
5 Florida State 75.2
6 Virginia 70.8
7 Texas A&M 69.1
8 Duke 68.0
9 N. Carolina 67.3
10 Boston College 63.2
11 Louisville 61.2
12 Kansas 60.1
13 Oklahoma State 60.1
14 Connecticut 58.3
15 W. Virginia 56.6
16 Clemson 56.1
17 Rutgers 55.5
18 Baylor 54.1
19 Missouri 53.1
20 TCU 52.4
21 Maryland 52.0
22 Miami 50.8
23 Virginia Tech 50.2
24 Syracuse 49.3
25 Pittsburgh 49.2
26 NC State 47.1
27 Georgia Tech 46.9
28 Iowa State 46.6
29 Texas Tech 43.1
30t Wake Forest 41.3
30t Kansas State 41.3
32 S. Florida 39.0
33 Cincinnati 37.1
34 E. Carolina 29.2
35 Navy Not Reported


* Look at the top 10 budgets on the list.  Those are budgets comparable to big-time SEC budgets.  Especially the top five budgets on the list.  Those are SEC-level programs in terms athletic commitment.

* Missouri — the SEC’s most likely 14th school as of today — ranks pretty far down the list in terms of athletic spending.  But MU’s facilities are still large (football) and new (basketball).  The Tigers would be a perfect example of a school that would have more cash to throw around in the SEC than they did in the Big 12 in ’09-’10.

* Admit it… you’re surprised to see potential SEC wish-listers Virginia Tech and NC State so far down on the spending list.  When it comes to bang for the buck, the Hokies are the Tampa Bay Rays of college football.

* The viral marketing kings of East Carolina would be the lowest-spending program in the SEC upon entry, but their dollars would increase exponentially if they were to receive a highly unlikely bid from Mike Slive.  (They’re “The Blair Witch Project” of expansion candidates.  For a school with such a small budget, their fans are pushing the “Undaunted” Terry Holland sales pitch video anywhere and everywhere.  And, yes, we posted it on this site when it came out weeks ago.)

For comparison’s sake, the SEC’s budget numbers are listed below:


Rank School Athletic Expenses ’09-’10 (Millions)
1 Florida 105.2
2 LSU 102.2
3 Tennessee 96.6
4 Auburn 90.8
5 Alabama 85.3
6 S. Carolina 78.2
7t Georgia 76.2
7t Kentucky 76.2
9 Arkansas 71.8
10 Vanderbilt 45.7
11 Ole Miss 43.9
12 Miss. State 36.2


* The SEC’s total athletic expenditures in 2009-10 were $908.3 million.  That’s an average athletic budget of 75.69 million.  No wonder the SEC reigns supreme in most mainstream college sports.

Up next, we’ll look at facilities in Part 7 of our series tomorrow.


Jack Edwards
Jack Edwards

ECU is the only one of those schools that doesn't get BCS money.


I still say East Carolina. Like the article states...once a team/university is in the SEC, spending will go up...more dollars will be available.


Look at what Virginia spends....

I thought those people were supposed to be good at math? lol They're like the Chicago Cubs of college atheltics, spending about as much money as all the big boys and pretty much getting nothing in return.


In the middle of the 3rd quarter, here's how they stand with simple rank analysis (lower the better).

RankSchoolSum of Rank (1-5)
1Texas A&M 34
2Texas 38
3Baylor 46
4TCU 52
5Virginia 53
6Penn State 54
7N. Carolina 55
8Duke 55
9Notre Dame 64
10Cincinnati 66
11Virginia Tech 69
12NC State 71
13Wake Forest 72
14Pittsburgh 77
15Oklahoma 79
16Rutgers 81
17Maryland 88
18E. Carolina 94
19Texas Tech 94
20Missouri 96
21Louisville 98
22Florida State 98
23Boston College 101
24Clemson 102
25Connecticut 102
26Navy 103
27Oklahoma State 106
28Syracuse 113
29W. Virginia 113
30Kansas 116
31Georgia Tech 118
32Miami 122
33S. Florida 132
34Iowa State 139
35Kansas State 140


I'm surprised by Duke, Louisville, Kansas and UConn. Does (First Class) B-Ball drive that much expense? Most are between 40 to 60 mill, with about a dozen that spend 60+ mill. Only 5 have budgets that meet the SEC average.


Virginia was in the top 3 in the Director's Cup this year. Won 3 national championships and 7 ACC titles. Lacrosse, soccer, crew, swimming, tennis, baseball (we were in the final 4) we rock. Just struggling in football and mid-pack in basketball at the moment but both are on their way back. Go Hoos. And Roll Tide.


The answer is sort of. Last year UofL earned $25 million in total revenues from men's basketball. That was an almost $18 million profit. For Kansas, those numbers were $15.7 million and $7.5 million respectively. Those two basketball programs make up for what those colleges lack in football revenues. Duke earned $12 million in revenues, but their basketball team operated at a $2 million loss. UCONN earned about $8 million in revenues and $2 million profit. For Duke and UCONN, this is not so true. (Figures are from CNN Money from the 2008-2009 season.)

Clearly, Louisville basketball is an outlier for these numbers. The most likely reason that UofL revenue and profits are so high is that Louisville is the largest metropolitan area in the US without a pro team of any kind. Thus UofL basketball becomes the de facto king of sports for a decent size city.


  1. [...] Part 6: Athletic Budgets looked at — wait for it — the athletic spending of each of the 35 schools on our list. [...]

  2. attention deficit hyperactivity disorders…

    [...]Blue Chip Stories |[...]…

  3. URL says:

    … [Trackback]

    [...] There you will find 44404 more Infos: [...]

  4. … [Trackback]

    [...] Read More here: [...]

  5. Trackback says:

    Like it

    I want to start a blog. How do I get free web site traffic?

  6. Trackback says:

    Like it

    how do you change your Blogger background into a picture?

  7. zonwering says:

    … [Trackback]

    [...] Find More Informations here: [...]

  8. Trackback says:

    Thank you

    I have a website idea that i know will make me money, i just don’t know what to do and where to start..

  9. … [Trackback]

    [...] Read More here: [...]

  10. oman says:

    … [Trackback]

    [...] Read More: [...]

  11. Trackback says:


    I want to build a blog in wordpress where I can share photos, have people upload photos and everyone can rate them. Can anybody recommend a good theme or some tips? Free is preferred or like, under $100… Thanks!.

  12. I like your blog

    I have a domain that is redirecting it views to my main site. I want to build a wordpress site on that domain but i cant access my admin for wordpress because it just redirects me to my main site. I don’t want to take my domain off redirect until the…

  13. urlman cow says:

    Thorn of Girl

    Superb facts might be identified on this net web site.

  14. Trackback says:


    I wanted to start my own blog and I was looking for your suggestions for which sites you think are the best to start one with.. I want to be able to post pictures, text, and music (maybe).. I only want to use a free blog host..

  15. … [Trackback]

    [...] Read More Infos here: [...]

  16. Trackback says:

    I have some question

    So I created a secondary blog off my first one, but I now want my secondary blog to be my personal or my main blog. So that as soon and I sign on the newer blog I made would be my default blog. If that makes any sense… Is there a way to do this?.

Follow Us On:
Mobile MrSEC