The richest college athletic program is not who you think it is…


Photo credit: Pixabay, KeithJJ, CC0 Public Domain,

College athletics are big money, with $500 million stadium expansions and billions of dollars in TV football contracts.

But which school brings in more cash than any other?

USA Today has published its annual list of Division 1 college athletic finances for state-supported schools, and the single biggest money program in the nation is…

Texas A&M.

Raking in $194,388,450 in total revenue, the Aggies run the single most lucrative program among schools listed.

The Longhorns are second at $187,981,158, placing them $6,407,292 behind A&M.

In terms of which program brings in more than it spends, A&M is #1 by a shocking blowout. A&M’s revenue outpaces its expenses by $57,286,676, a stunning $23,104,876 ahead of #2 Oklahoma’s $23,104,876.  No other school comes anywhere close to A&M in terms of profitability.

The Longhorns are eighth, at $16.6 million.

It’s worth noting ESPN’s “Longhorn Network” deal with the school guarantees them at least $15 million a year. Without the ESPN deal, which broke up the Big 12, the Longhorns could be running a money-losing program.

They would, literally, be poor t-sips.

Of the 230 schools for whom USA Today had information (private institutions do not have the same reporting requirements,) 128 bring in more revenue than they rack up in expenses.  Only 72 of the 230 programs lose money.   The remaining 30 schools’ books balance evenly.

In total, Division I programs bring in $9,711,940,160, and cost $9,437,058,460, generating a net profit of $274,881,700.

Originally published at

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