The Virginia Tech athletic department’s revenue neared $67 million in 2010-11, the fourth-highest of the ACC schools who reported figures in a USA Today report published Monday night.
The Hokies had $66.9 million in revenue in the most recent year NCAA filings are available. That’s over $18 million more than Virginia Tech generated in 2005-06, the first year of data listed, although the numbers are not adjusted for inflation.
The athletic department’s total expenses were $62.6 million, meaning it covered costs by $4.3 million. But that net gain is in part due to a $7.5 million subsidy, nearly all of which is through student fees (something my predecessor wrote about last year). That number accounted for 11.3 percent of Tech’s total revenue.
Only 22 Division I athletic departments operated in the black, generating enough revenue to cover athletics expenses without the aid of subsidies.
The report broke down each school’s revenues and expenses further. The Hokies earned $19.5 million in rights/licensing, $18.9 million in ticket sales, $15.8 million in contributions, $7.2 million in student fees, $354,000 in school funds and $4.9 million in “other revenues” that includes some TV income, tournament/bowl revenues and food/concessions, among other things.
Virginia Tech’s costs were $19.8 million in coaching salaries, $16 million in facilities, $9.4 million in scholarships and $17.3 million in “other expenses.” That includes guarantees paid to other schools, severance payments to former coaches. recruiting, team travel, equipment and uniforms, game day costs, fundraising/marketing costs and medical expense/insurance, among other things.
The report shows how much the cost of college athletics is rising these days. The Hokies earned $48.7 million in 2005-06 and had expenses totaling $45.3 million that year.
The figures come with this disclaimer on the USA Today site: The school’s president or chancellor reviews the data before it’s submitted to the NCAA, which also does a general audit of the data. In an effort to standardize reporting, NCAA staff members have worked with the National Association of College and University Business Officers for formulate definitions for each category. Still, some schools interpret the reporting rules slightly differently.
Here’s how Virginia Tech stacks up in the ACC. Remember, only public universities are required to release data. That exempts Boston College, Duke, Wake Forest and Miami.
ACC schools by revenue (rounded off, figures in millions):
- Florida State — $78.6
- Virginia — $78.4
- North Carolina — $75.6
- Virginia Tech — $66.9
- Clemson — $61.2
- Georgia Tech — $54.3
- Maryland — $61.6
- N.C. State — $51.1
ACC schools by expenses (rounded off, figures in millions):
- Florida State — $86.9
- North Carolina — $74.3
- Virginia — $72.4
- Virginia Tech — $62.6
- Maryland — $61.6
- Clemson — $58.4
- Georgia Tech — $55.1
- N.C. State — $50.6
- Virginia — $6 gain
- Virginia Tech — $4.3 gain
- Clemson — $2.8 gain
- North Carolina — $1.3 gain
- N.C. State — $0.5 gain
- Maryland — $0 gain/loss
- Georgia Tech — $0.8 loss
- Florida State — $8.3 loss
Comparing those figures to those in the SEC and around the country, you can understand why the idea that Florida State would look to depart the ACC might make sense (even though that talk cooled Monday, particularly after the school president shot down many of the board of trustees member’s arguments in a well-reasoned memo).
The numbers are hard to ignore, though. Florida State was the ACC’s top revenue generator, but it still trailed nine SEC schools, not counting Texas A&M, which will play in the league this season. Some of the revenue totals are staggering. Here are the top 10 (rounded off, figures in millions):
- Texas — $150.3
- Ohio State — $131.8
- Alabama — $124.5
- Florida — $123.5
- Michigan — $122.7
- Penn State — $116.1
- LSU — $107.3
- Tennessee — $104.4
- Oklahoma — $104.3
- Auburn — $104.0
Florida State makes an appearance at No. 24. Virginia Tech is No. 32, right behind Washington ($70.2 million) and Kansas State ($69.9 million) and ahead of Purdue ($66.2 million) and UCLA ($66.0 million).
For the Hokies-should-go-to-the-SEC crowd, keep in mind that Virginia Tech would have ranked 10th in total revenue of the SEC teams last year and would drop to 11th once Texas A&M joins the league. That’s in a virtual tie with Missouri ($64.1 million in revenues) and only higher than Mississippi State ($58.9 million) and Ole Miss ($49.2 million), two schools that struggle to compete on and off the field with the SEC’s big boys on a regular basis.
Yes, additional TV money would make up some of the difference, but certainly not anywhere close to the $57.6 million gap between the Hokies and SEC-revenue leader Alabama. It wouldn’t even approach a pair of the league’s middle-tier revenue producers like Georgia ($92.3 million) and Arkansas ($91.8 million).
It’s one thing to add to your revenue pot, but you also want to be a place where you can compete with teams that are in the same ballpark financially. I’d say the ACC suits Virginia Tech quite well in that regard, despite the desire of some fans to look elsewhere. Over the long haul, that’s an important thing to keep in mind.