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Revenues Flat for Penn State Football, Intercollegiate Athletics in 2018-19, as Profits Down $6 Million

by on February 21, 2020 12:00 AM

Penn State Intercollegiate Athletics reported a small dip in revenues in 2018-19, as well as a drop of $6 million in profits in its annual report filed with the NCAA.

Overall revenues for Penn State athletics were $164.5 million in its most recently completed fiscal year, a decline of about $840,000 from 2017-18.

Meanwhile, revenues produced by Penn State football were $105.505 million for the reporting period that included the Nittany Lions’ 9-4 season in 2018. That represented an increase of only $244,000 on revenues generated during the team’s 11-2 Fiesta Bowl season in 2017.

A link to the report on Penn State’s GoPSUSports.com website is here.

For the fiscal year 2016-17, which included Penn State’s Big Ten championship, overall football revenues were $81.2 million and in 2014-15, James Franklin’s first season as head coach, football revenues were $69.4 million. (Penn State’s fiscal year runs from July 1 through June 30.)

In 2018-19, Penn State football ticket sales increased almost $2.8 million, to $36.83 million. Football’s other big money-makers were media rights ($41 million, a drop of $683,000); contributions ($10.79 million, a drop of about $550,000), and concessions, parking and souvenirs ($6.8 million, an increase of about $430,000).

Football expenses increased $1.021 million over the past year, led by jumps in compensation for coaches (up about $1.6 million, to $15.76 million) and staff (up about $945,000, to $5.27 million).

Included in that figure are bowl bonuses and approximately $900,000 in new, additional federal excise taxes Penn State must pay on any coaches salaries above $1 million. According to his most recent contract made public, Franklin made $5.96 million in salary and bonuses in 2019.

Bottom-line, Penn State football showed a “profit” of $54.26 million in 2018-19, off slightly from the $55.02 million it reported in 2017-18.

Overall, Penn State athletics received nearly $52.5 million in media rights, Big Ten non-media money and NCAA distribution. That represented an increase of $1.3 million compared to 2017-18.

Contributions to Penn State athletics fell about $3.4 million in 2018-19, to $31.49 million — a dip administrators attribute to changes in how donations are recorded.

Expenses department-wide were up about $5.2 million, from $155.18 million in 2017-18 to $160.369 million.

The biggest jump in athletics’ costs came in coaches and staff overall compensation — salaries, bonuses and benefits — and new hirings. Those labor costs increased 10.6% in that one-year period, from $55.7 million to $61.6 million in 2018-19— an increase of nearly $5.9 million.

In 2018-19, Penn State spent $31.9 million on coaches compensation and $29.7 million on staff compensation. Over the past five years, expenditures on coaches and staff compensation, including new additional hires, has increased 42%, going back to 2014-15, when the combined figure was $43.3 million.

In the report, game expenses for all Penn State sports went up $1.87 million, to $10 million, while department-wide recruiting costs went up $363,000 to $3.07 million, and the athletic department’s share of costs for university facilities, overhead and administration increased over $1.5 million. Football’s recruiting costs jumped from $1.37 million to $1.53 million.

Penn State athletics’ overall debt and lease expenses dropped almost $4 million, though those expenses still include paying back a bridge loan from Old Main and paying off its NCAA fine from the Sandusky scandal.

Penn State is one of fewer than 20 major college athletic departments that is self-sustaining; that is, it generates all of the revenue it uses to operate the department. Rutgers, by contrast, received $29.3 million from university and state support, and student fees, that were directed to its athletic budget in 2018-19 — and thus showed a “profit” of $83,936.

Penn State has 31 intercollegiate teams, second-most in the Big Ten Conference, behind Ohio State, which has 36. In its report to the NCAA, Penn State said it had 981 participants in athletics in 2018-19— 556 on men’s teams (56.7%) and 425 on women’s teams (43.3%). In the Big Ten, only Ohio State and Michigan have more total participants. Approximately 72% of Penn State’s varsity athletes are from out of state.

Student aid for Penn State football remained stagnant in 2018-19, at $5.185 million, while overall student aid for athletics climbed $600,000, to about $20.86 million. This does not include the $1.81 million Penn State spent on athletes’ meals, meal programs and its fuel stations, which represents an increase of $365,000.

As Vice President of Athletics Sandy Barbour pointed out on Twitter 10 days ago, while retweeting a post by Barstool Penn State, Penn State athletics has had more than 15 varsity teams ranked in the Top 25 in 2019-20, including the following teams in the Top 10: men’s lacrosse, wrestling, women’s and men’s volleyball, men’s basketball, men’s and women’s fencing, hockey and football.

Barbour, who was named athletics director at Penn State in August 2014, signed a new contract last February that will pay her $1.219 million in 2019-20, plus $240,000 annually in a benefit plan, as well as the potential for another $260,000 annually in “performance bonus opportunities.”

PENN STATE REVENUES SINCE 2010-11

Here’s a look at the annual revenues and profits/losses of Penn State Intercollegiate Athletics and Nittany Lion football since its 2010-11 report to the NCAA:

2010-11 — Athletics: $116.2 million, +$14.8 million. Football: $58.9 million, +$38 million.

2011-12 — Athletics: $108.25 million, +$863,023. Football: $66.1 million, +$47.8 million.

2012-13 — Athletics: $104.75 million, -$5.9 million. Football: $52.85 million, +$25.27 million.

2013-14 — Athletics: $117.59 million, +$150,000. Football: $68.05 million, +$38.2 million.

2014-15 — Athletics: $125.72 million, +$3.45 million. Football: $69.4 million, +$35.8 million.

2015-16 — Athletics: $132.25 million, +$2.898 million. Football: $75.53 million, +$39.9 million.

2016-17 — Athletics: $144 million, +$5.3 million. Football: $81.2 million, +$41.4 million.

2017-18 — Athletics: $165.37 million, +$10.118 million. Football: $100.24 million, +$55.02 million.

2018-19 — Athletics: $164.529 million, +$4,159 million. Football: $100.505 million, +$54.265 million

COLLEGE ATHLETICS NATIONALLY

Several major college athletic programs have already released copies of the 2018-19 financial reports that they submitted to the NCAA. Here is a sampling, with overall revenues first and profit/loss listed second. Note that Ohio State shows a slight loss and while Alabama’s loss is quite substantial, the school reports that it opted to defer $24.5 million in seat contributions to next year.

Texas — $223.9 million, +$16.5 million

Ohio State — $210.03 million, -$624,359

Georgia — $174 million, +$30.7 million

Alabama — $164.1 million, -$21.2 million

Florida — $159.7 million, +$17.9 million

LSU — $157.8 million, +$8.8 million

Auburn — $152.4 million, +$13.2 million

Nebraska — $136.2 million, +$12.085 million

Maryland — $108.8 million, +$115,000

Missouri — $106.6 million, -$1.79 million

Rutgers — $103.2 million, +$83,936



Mike Poorman has covered Penn State football since 1979, and for StateCollege.com since the 2009 season. His column appears on Mondays and Fridays. Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/PSUPoorman. His views and opinions do not necessarily reflect those of Penn State University.
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