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BIG TEN CONFERENCE SHOWS HUGE PROFITS IN FOOTBALL AND HOOPS
Published November 18, 1998
Big Ten conference football and men's basketball teams "earned record profits for their schools last season, but almost all the windfall was promptly spent within athletic departments," according to Fred Girard of the DETROIT NEWS. Nearly a half a billion dollars in Big Ten sports revenues -- $403.2M in the '97-98 school year -- were used for "massive athletic department building projects and administrative expenses, and to support nonmoney-making sports programs." Left over after the $395.5M in expenses was a total of $7.7M in profits. Big Ten football brought in $87M in profits, and basketball took in $45M -- but they were used to cover $63M in losses for all other sports. Another $61M covered losses in the conference's athletic department business offices, which brought in "a whopping" $150M from TV, bowl games, sporting goods companies and alumni donations, but the business offices spent $211M on construction projects, salaries and other administrative costs. Of the two MI Big Ten schools, Univ. of MI made an overall profit of $3.1M, while MI State Univ. (MSU) showed an overall loss of $6.4M, after it spent $6M on an athletes' study building. MSU was the only school in the conference to show a loss. The "surplus winner" was the Univ. of MN (UMN), with a $4.3M profit -- even with the conference's lowest-earning football program. While every other Big Ten school lost money in men's Olympic sports, UMN made $1.5M "thanks" to its "popular hockey team" (DETROIT NEWS, 11/17).