You are on page 1of 27

International Journal of Sports Science & Coaching Volume 7 · Number 2 · 2012 345

The Great Divide: Examining Football


Revenue among FBS Schools
Cary A. Caro1 and Clayton F. Benton2
1Xavier University of Louisiana

1 Drexel Drive, Box 52, New Orleans, LA 70125, USA


E-mail: ccaro@xula.edu
2Louisiana State University

112 Thomas Boyd Hall, Baton Rouge, LA 70803, USA


E-mail: cbenton@lsu.edu

ABSTRACT
The focus of this study is to examine the dispersion of football-generated
revenue amongst Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) teams. This article seeks
to determine if parity exists in the ability of all college football teams to
generate revenue, and to determine the impact on the competitive
balance of the sport. The results of this study indicate that there is a major
stratification among affiliation status (automatic qualifying versus non-
automatic qualifying) and within conferences. Further, the data indicates a
cycle of inequity in college football. This study quantifies the perception of
inequality and recommends means to correct or control this disparity
moving forward.

Key words: American Football, Bowl Championship Series, Competition,


Recruiting, Revenue, Sports Economics

INTRODUCTION
The advent of the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) in college football has allowed the sport
to blossom from a national pastime to a multi-billion dollar business. Teams and their
respective conferences are no longer just competing for championships on the field; they are
pit against one another in a race for increased revenue and profitability. Athletic departments
have come to rely more heavily on the funds generated by their football programs. Fulks [1]
reported that in 2004 and 2006, football generated revenue accounted for 43% of the athletic
department’s total revenue; this figure jumped to 45.8% in 2009. Given the expansion of the
BCS, exploding television markets, and the rise of the popularity of the sport, this percentage
can be expected to have risen considerably in the last five years. The revenue generated from
the college football season is often important to fund and maintain traditionally non-revenue
generating sports within the athletic department [2]. Coupled with the need to upgrade and
maintain facilities, the desire to attract and retain the top players in each recruiting cycle, the
recent rise in head coaching and staff salaries, and the fact that athletic departments strive to

Reviewers: Dan Fulks (University of Transylvania, USA)


Stephen Dittmore (University of Arkansas, USA)
346 The Great Divide: Examining Football Revenue among FBS Schools

be self-sustaining arms of the college or university, finding consistent revenue streams is


more important than ever.
While television contracts, licensing agreements, donor-giving to athletic foundations,
and corporate partnerships are more prevalent than ever before, there appears to be a great
disparity between schools and conferences in their revenue-generating ability. On the
surface, the distance between those that have and those that do not appears to have widened
since the advent of the BCS. To this end, Fulks [1] quantified the disparity among FBS teams
and reported that the gap among those programs that were profitable and the other FBS
programs had continued to grow. Maxcy [3] concluded that the BCS acted much like a
monopoly to help teams and conferences that automatically compete in the more lucrative
bowls continue to hoard the financial benefits and the decision-making authority over the
sport. Even seven years back, six years after the BCS was created in 1997, Sutter and
Winkler [4] noted that there existed a great competitive imbalance in college football.
After presenting the relevant literature, this study seeks to explore and quantify the
perception of imbalance between teams that automatically qualify and those that do not
automatically qualify for the BCS. The variables of this study are total football revenue
generated by the automatic and non-automatic conferences as well as the respective teams in
each conference. This study seeks to examine the growth of revenue across the college
football landscape and the distribution of the revenue across each conference. Further, the
study seeks to quantify the variability in revenue across all conferences and to determine if
there exists an imbalance in funding. Finally, this study seeks to explain these differences,
analyze their impact on the sport, and make recommendations on how to approach any
imbalances that may be found through data analysis.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL AND THE BCS


As of January 1, 2012, there are 120 football teams in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS),
governed by the NCAA, and competing in eleven different conferences. There are also four
independent teams (Army, Navy, Notre Dame, and BYU) which have no football conference
affiliation. According to the BCS website [5], the BCS was created in 1997, replacing the
former bowl structure in an effort to ensure that the two top-rated football teams met in the
national championship. The former bowl system often did not allow the two top-rated teams
to play one another due to bowl/conference agreements. Thus, the BCS was instituted with
the sole purpose of pitting the two highest ranked teams together for what became known as
the “BCS Championship.” Under the initial agreement, the four most popular, and arguably
most prestigious bowl games (Rose, Sugar, Fiesta, and Orange) invited the champions of the
six major conferences (Big East, Big 10, Big 12, SEC, Pac-10, and the ACC) and
independent Notre Dame, along with two at-large teams to play in, and share the revenue
from, these more lucrative bowls.
Immediately, the BCS generated a new level of excitement and fanaticism among college
football fans, especially those of the conferences who automatically qualified (AQ) for the
more prestigious bowl games. More than anything, it created an opportunity for football to
crown a unanimous national champion (which it has actually failed to do on at least one
occasion). Equally, when the previous television contracts that each bowl individually held
expired, the BCS allowed the bowl games to partner together and negotiate a shared
television contract, generating more money than each respective bowl could do individually.
As a consequence to the creation of the BCS, however, the path to compete in a BCS bowl
game, for a non-automatic qualifying (non-AQ) conference (Conference USA, Mid-
American, Mountain West, Sun Belt, and the Western Athletic) was virtually impossible. In
International Journal of Sports Science & Coaching Volume 7 · Number 2 · 2012 347

response to pressure from the fans, the media, and from college presidents of the non-AQ,
the BCS expanded from four bowl games to five bowl games in 2006, and, in theory, granted
greater access to the non-AQ schools. From the 1998 to the 2004 season, only one non-AQ
team (Utah in the 2004-2005 season) had been invited to participate in the BCS; since the
2005 season four non-AQ teams (Utah (2008), Hawaii (2007), Boise St. (2006, 2009), Texas
Christian (2009, 2010)) have been invited to participate in the BCS, although never for a
BCS Championship [5].
Dumond et al. [6] reported that BCS payout in 2004 had risen to over $14 million dollars
per team. According to Michael Smith of the Sports Business Journal [7], the BCS distributed
$142.5 million dollars from the revenue created by the five major bowl games following the
2010 season. This was thanks in large part to the annual $82.5 million dollar television
contract the BCS signed with Fox and the current four-year $125 million dollar a year contract
with ESPN [7]. The money is distributed based on a formula created in 2004 by the BCS
commissioners. The formula divides the revenue among the AQ, non-AQ, FCS schools, Notre
Dame, Army, and Navy and rewards teams which play in the bowl games with an extra payout
for participating in those games. As such, in 2010 the “Big Six” AQ conferences garnered
81% ($115.2 million) of the $142.5 million dollar pay-out, the non-AQ conferences were
awarded $24 million (nearly 17%) [7]. That percentage, however, was higher than normal as
the non-AQ had two teams (Texas Christian and Boise St.) participate.
The 2011 figures rose as the newly-negotiated television contract with ESPN allowed the
BCS to distribute a record $174 million dollars to its participating schools [8]. Again, the AQ
conferences shared the greatest portion of the revenue ($145 million or 83.4%), while the
non-AQ conferences were awarded $24.72 million (roughly 14%). The lion’s share ($12.75
million) of the revenue was awarded to the Mountain West Conference as they were
represented by Texas Christian in the Rose Bowl [8].

REVENUE AND COMPETITION


The BCS has the ability, mainly through their negotiated television contracts, to produce
copious amounts of revenue each year. Most blatant, however, is the fact that over 80% of
the revenue goes to the original AQ conference teams. Moreover, Notre Dame receives a
negotiated percentage of the BCS even when it does not participate in one of the five bowl
games (the percentage rises when they do participate). Groza [9] argued that it was important
for teams to align themselves with conferences that were respected and held better
reputations; conferences with better reputations are able to participate in better bowl games,
play with better competition, and negotiate more lucrative television contracts. Padilla and
Baumer [10] found that one of the greatest influences on the growth of college football was
television; moreover, television and winning on the field led to greater profitability as a
program. Competition and uncertainty fuel the fan’s desire to watch athletics [11]; however,
researchers have found that the competitive balance on the field has experienced a decrease
over the course of the last decade and longer. Eckard [12] compared the NCAA to an
economic cartel and concluded that the NCAA has decreased competitive balance in the
sport over time. Sutter and Winkler [4] concluded that there existed a great competitive
imbalance in college football, but Dittmore and Crow [11] concluded that the six original
BCS conferences have seen an increase in competition within the conference; further, they
hypothesize that this competitive balance has helped the power conferences sign multi-
billion multi-media contracts to add to their growing revenue streams. The success of the AQ
conferences in revenue-generation should not distract from the difficulty that many of the
non-AQ conferences have in keeping pace with the AQ institutions.
348 The Great Divide: Examining Football Revenue among FBS Schools

AQ conferences have continued to expand and upgrade their facilities, attract and recruit
better athletes, and coaches; as a result, the stratification between AQ and non-AQ schools
has never been more apparent. While non-AQ schools like North Texas and Florida Atlantic
have recently constructed new stadiums, most of the funding came as a result of bond issues
and not from philanthropic or donor-related funding as has led to many of the facilities
upgrades in the AQ schools [13, 14]. Schools like Alabama, Florida State and Auburn have
secured their coaches with multi-year, multi-million dollar contracts for not only their head
coaches, but some of their top assistants as well [15]. It becomes difficult for a non-AQ
school with limited funding to attract a top assistant coach when they may face a reduction
in pay to leave their current school.
Of greater danger to the balance in on-the-field competition is recruiting. Fulks [16]
reported that in 2001 the average cost for recruiting in Division 1-A across all men’s sports
was $373,000 per school. By fiscal year 2009, Fulks [1] reported that this figure had
increased to $488,000. Given the extreme competition for quality high-school athletes, the
expectation is that this number will continue to rise. To this end, data for the 2010-2011 fiscal
year indicate that the figure had risen to $549,043 [17]. Dumond et al. [6] surmised that
college football recruiting had fallen into a cyclical pattern where success on the field led to
greater success in recruiting, which called for continued success in the future. More
importantly, however, they found evidence to support the notion that recruits prefer to play
for BCS automatic qualifiers and that the added media exposure from the BCS gave these
AQ schools an advantage in recruiting. According to the Rivals recruiting database [18] only
one five-star recruit has signed a national letter of intent to attend a non-AQ school (2009
James Aiono was a junior-college transfer; as of 2011 Utah joined the Pac-12 Conference).
Coupled with the strain of decreased revenue, the lack of updated facilities, and the lack of
being competitive against the AQ conferences, the findings of Dumond et al. [6] tell a story
of the imbalance of competition and recruiting among all 120 members of the FBS.
There should be no denying the impact that recruiting has on winning. It can be
hypothesized that teams who on average recruit better athletes will win a greater majority of
their games. This formula for success poses another issue for the non-AQ schools. Several
studies have concluded that winning leads to increased contributions from alumni and donors
[19-21]. In addition, there is also a relationship between bowl appearances and increased
alumni and donor contributions [22, 23]. Thus, this alternative avenue for revenue could
place the non-AQ schools at a disadvantage if their performance on the field is sub-par or
fails to live up to alumni and donor expectations.
Facilities are an important variable in recruiting and revenue. Athletic departments across
the country have remodeled, and in some instances, expanded aging structures in order to
create a more pleasant experience game-day experience for fans. The University of Texas
spent $27 million on a stadium expansion and addition in 2009 [24]. Not included in that
figure was an $8 million video and scoreboard appropriately nicknamed “Godzillatron” [24].
The University of Alabama expanded their south end zone in 2010, adding 8,500 seats at a
cost of $65.6 million, which was $15 million less than their original budget [25]. Other
schools have recently erected new, on-campus facilities to try to appease fans and maintain
the status-quo in what can be seen as an “arms race.” Florida Atlantic (non-AQ school)
completed a new on-campus stadium with an estimated cost of nearly $70 million dollars
[13,14]. The University of North Texas (non-AQ school) also constructed a new on-campus
facility to the tune of $78 million [13].
Facilities are important not only for recruiting purposes, but also help to drive attendance
for home games; attendance is largely controlled by winning. Fulks [16] reported that 26% of
International Journal of Sports Science & Coaching Volume 7 · Number 2 · 2012 349

the total revenue generated by athletic programs in 2001 was from ticket sales. This number
fell slightly to 24% in 2009 [1]. While winning is important, it is equally important to draw
high caliber opponents to your home field. Leonard [26] reported that the quality of the teams
playing in a football game affected total attendance, and Price and Sen [27] concluded that
conference membership was an important variable in fan support. Finally, Fulks [16] found a
positive relationship between home game attendance and athletic fundraising.
Given the previous work, and the importance of revenue to program operation and
sustainability, this study seeks to expand on the findings of Fulks [1], Maxcy [3] and of
Sutter and Winkler [4] by examining recent trends in revenue for both the AQ and non-AQ
schools of the BCS. Specifically, the study addresses the following questions:

1. Does a difference exist between the AQ and non-AQ conferences in the total football
revenue generated collectively as a conference?
2. Does a difference exist in the amount of football revenue generated among the
respective schools within each conference?
3. Is there a correlation between conference affiliation and conference classification (AQ
vs. non-AQ) and the amount of football revenue generated?

On the surface there may appear to be discrepancies in the amount of revenue generated
across conferences and schools. Many believe that the rich have gotten richer; this study
seeks an answer to that assumption. Moreover, this study seeks to understand the causes of
discrepancies in revenue, and presents recommendations based on the conclusions formed
from the available data to help concentrate the gap between those schools and conferences
that have and those that do not have the advantage of automatically qualifying for the BCS.

METHOD
Football revenue data for schools participating in the eleven FBS conferences were obtained
from the Department of Education’s Office of Postsecondary Education. The data were
available from the Equity in Athletics Disclosure Act website, and 2010 conference
alignment was used. Football revenue from 2003 to 2009 was treated as the dependent
variable, and data were available for all schools except the U.S. Air Force Academy. Data for
Florida Atlantic, Florida International, and Western Kentucky were available for only the
years they participated in FBS football. Data for the University of Maryland was not
available for 2005, 2006, and 2007 reporting years. Independent Notre Dame, Navy, and
Army were not included in this study as they do not participate in a football conference.
Recruiting information was available from the Rivals Football website. Recruiting
information for the schools included in the study from 2004 to 2009. Average recruiting stars
earned in a recruiting cycle, an independent variable, was selected as it captures the overall
average of star ratings for all players added in the recruiting season. The average recruiting
stars earned is a measure of the total stars earned divided by the total number of players in
each respective class. This was selected as it is a reflection of the talent level of the entire
class, not a reflection of the total number of prospects signed.
Home game attendance was selected as an independent variable. This variable was
selected as it represents the total paid attendance for each respective school and takes into
account the varied methods schools take into determining actual attendance figures. Data for
the schools included in the study were captured from the NCAA website for the 2004 to 2010
season. Average attendance for the season was selected as the variable because schools play
a varied number of home games; thus, this measure captures a season perspective. Off-site
350 The Great Divide: Examining Football Revenue among FBS Schools

home games were not included in the study.


Descriptive statistics were formulated for each of the variables used in the study. Analysis
of Variance (ANOVA) was used to determine if significant differences existed among and
within each of the conferences along the dependent variable. The Games-Howell post-hoc
test was used to detect significant differences among the multilevel factors. Games-Howell
was selected as it does not assume equal variances, is appropriate when the assumption of
homogeneity of variance is violated, and is recognized as a robust measure when the
assumptions of ANOVA are violated [28-30]. Finally, Pearson’s product-moment correlation
was used to determine the correlation of the continuous measures, and simple linear
regression was used to model the relationship between the independent and dependent
variables.

LIMITATIONS
The year 2003 was selected as a starting point for the study as this was the data available
through Equity in Athletics Disclosure Act (EADA) website. It should be noted that the
EADA website gathers information from respective schools and includes funds provided by
the institution in their calculations. As such, this is a limitation to the study as universities
that participate in FBS football receive various levels of institutional funds; moreover, some
universities receive no institutional funding. A further limitation to the study is that the data
are not adjusted for inflation. Finally, Virginia Tech, Boston College and Miami are
classified as Atlantic Coast Conference schools despite joining at different times since 2003.
In the Big East, Cincinnati, South Florida, and Louisville are also included despite having
joined the conference in 2005. This was done to maintain continuity respective of current
conference alignment. The data indicate, however, that each of these schools benefited from
the increased revenue that their new, respective conferences provided; thus, their revenue
prior to 2005, as it is not controlled for, is noted as a limitation to this study.

RESULTS
REVENUE ACROSS CONFERENCES
The average football revenue per conference from 2003 to 2009 was analyzed to determine
if there was a statistically significant difference among the eleven conferences studied. The
overall average for all conferences during the period of study was $17,189,517; however, the
standard deviation ($15,837,520) indicates that there are large discrepancies among the
eleven conferences. Schools from the SEC (X= $38,239,781), the Big Ten (X= $33,384,359)
and the Big 12 (X= $27,233,826) averaged the largest football revenue from 2003-2009,
while schools from the Sun Belt (X= $3,504,254), the Mid-American (X= $3,951,450), and
the Western Athletic (X= $5,130,376) averaged the lowest amount of revenue. The six AQ
schools all had higher averages than the five non-AQ schools. The Big East averaged the
lowest football revenue of the six AQ schools (X= $15,058,066); however, this was still
significantly different statistically from the highest non-AQ leader, the Mountain West (X=
$8,401,775). The six AQ schools reported a statistically significant different revenue (p <
0.001) for 2003 to 2009 of $26,482,906 from the non-AQ schools ($5,423,096) over the
same period of time; none of the non-AQ schools were above the all-conference average (X=
$17,189,517). Regression analysis was used to determine the Pearson’s product-moment
coefficient and the coefficient of determination for the relationship between AQ/non-AQ and
revenue. The coefficient for the relationship was found to be significant at α = 0.05 (r = .661;
p < 0.001), indicating a positive, strong correlation between revenue and conference
qualification status. The coefficient of determination (r2) for the relationship was 0.44
International Journal of Sports Science & Coaching Volume 7 · Number 2 · 2012 351

indicating that conference qualification status explained 44% of the variance in revenue.

Table 1. Average Football Revenue Across all FBS Conference Schools for
2003-2009

n Mean Std. Deviation Minimum Maximum

SEC 84 $38,239,781.29 $18,431,593.72 $9,792,405.00 $71,884,525.00


Big 10 77 $33,384,359.45 $15,614,854.27 $10,538,427.00 $70,208,584.00
Big 12 84 $27,233,826.24 $17,285,279.28 $6,202,948.00 $93,942,815.00
Pac-10 70 $22,082,133.36 $7,399,426.90 $9,904,767.00 $37,092,611.00
ACC 81 $18,653,056.31 $7,268,081.13 $7,134,512.00 $40,634,499.00
Big East 56 $15,058,006.05 $6,023,012.61 $4,739,787.00 $29,467,612.00
Mo. West 56 $8,401,775.84 $4,039,087.97 $2,122,421.00 $20,609,361.00
CUSA 84 $6,690,266.32 $2,593,917.97 $1,744,014.00 $15,173,200.00
West. Athl. 63 $5,130,376.90 $2,976,540.72 $949,214.00 $14,515,613.00
Mid-American 91 $3,951,450.08 $2,322,104.88 $670,647.00 $10,093,610.00
Sun Belt 63 $3,504,254.68 $1,632,823.80 $589,883.00 $7,164,071.00
Total 809 $17,189,517.32 $15,837,520.82 $589,883.00 $93,942,815.00

Next, the total football revenue for all 116 schools included in the sample was analyzed
across each individual year from 2003 to 2009. The results indicate that the average football
revenue, across all conferences, has risen 63.7% from 2003 (X= $13,210,672) to 2009 (X=
$21,623,571). There was an increase in each year, with the smallest year to year increase
occurring from 2003 to 2004 (3.3%) and the largest occurring from 2005 to 2006 (13.1%).
While the amount of revenue has continued to increase each year, the double digit percentage
gains experienced in 2005 (10.8%), 2006 (13.1%) and 2007 (12.7%) have decelerated in
2008 (5.3%) and 2009 (6.5%).

Table 2. Football Revenue by Year Across all FBS Conferences

n Mean Std. Deviation Std. Error Minimum Maximum % Change


116 $13,210,672.63 $11,869,077.31 $1,102,016.16 $589,883.00 $47,556,281.00
116 $13,651,623.26 $12,577,468.70 $1,167,788.65 $777,969.00 $53,204,171.00 3.33
115 $15,132,572.47 $13,966,485.22 $1,302,381.46 $670,647.00 $60,880,069.00 10.85
115 $17,115,884.79 $15,435,019.25 $1,439,322.97 $1,118,277.00 $63,798,068.00 13.11
115 $19,284,718.37 $16,883,230.74 $1,574,369.38 $1,882,475.00 $72,952,397.00 12.67
116 $20,307,273.38 $17,775,462.88 $1,650,410.30 $1,577,189.00 $87,583,986.00 5.30
116 $21,623,571.35 $19,192,212.41 $1,781,952.19 $2,280,834.00 $93,942,815.00 6.48
809 $17,189,517.32 $15,837,520.82 $556,817.58 $589,883.00 $93,942,815.00 63.68

REVENUE WITHIN CONFERENCES


The overall average football revenue across all conferences from 2003 to 2009 was
$17,189,517; the average for AQ schools was $26,482,906, while the average for non-AQ
schools was $5,423,096. Texas accounted for the greatest average football revenue among
the teams in the study (X= $68,559,683), followed by Ohio State (X= $59,296,706), Georgia
(X= $59,184,075), Florida (X= $56,302,699), and Alabama (X= $53,471,308). The schools
with the lowest average football revenue average were Louisiana-Lafayette (X= $2,736,895),
352 The Great Divide: Examining Football Revenue among FBS Schools

North Texas (X= $2,493,955), Louisiana-Monroe (X= $2,488,219), Akron (X= $2,235,950),
and Florida Atlantic (X= $1,990,122). Texas Christian reported the highest average football
revenue for non-AQ schools (X= $13,590,643) followed by Utah (X= $11,355,868), and
BYU (X= $11,328,191). The lowest AQ school average football revenues were reported by
Cincinnati (X= $8,137,604), Baylor (X= $9,584,474), and Duke (X= $9,835,039).
An ANOVA on the average football revenue for the years 2003-2009 was performed for
each of the respective conferences; each of the analysis was found to be significant.

Table 3. ANOVA Summary Table for Revenue by Year Across all FBS
Conferences

Sum of Squares df Mean Square F Sig.


Between Groups 7688605749756010.00 6 1281434291626000.00 5.271 <.000*
Within Groups 194979663476806000.00 802 243116787377563.00
Total 202668269226562000.00 808

*significant at the alpha 0.05 level.

The average football revenue for the ACC was $18,653,065. Virginia Tech (X=
$29,313,478), Clemson (X= $28,881,051), and Miami (X= $21,573,570) posted the largest
football revenue; Duke (X= $9,835,039), Wake Forest (X= $9,977,166), and Maryland (X=
$10,938,499) were the lowest (although it should be noted that Maryland did not have a
complete sample size). Georgia Tech (X= $19,276,677) was the only school not to indicate
significant differences using the Games-Howell post-hoc tests following the ANOVA.
Virginia Tech, with the highest average football revenue, was significantly higher than
Boston College, Duke, Florida State, North Carolina State, Maryland, Virginia, and Wake
Forest. Duke, with the lowest average football revenue, was significantly lower than Boston
College, Clemson, Florida State, Miami, North Carolina, Virginia, and Virginia Tech.

Table 4. ACC School Average Football Revenue for 2003-2009

ID School Mean Std. Deviation Std. Error Minimum Maximum


11 Virginia Tech $29,313,478.141,3,4,6,7,10,12 $5,618,932.46 $2,123,756.84 $24,138,543.00 $40,634,499.00
2 Clemson $28,881,051.431,3,4,6,7,9,10,12 $5,107,625.46 $1,930,500.96 $22,334,140.00 $35,205,168.00
8 Miami $21,573,570.573,7,12 $4,117,585.07 $1,556,300.87 $15,512,749.00 $27,155,010.00
5 Georgia Tech $19,478,119.43 $7,924,761.05 $2,995,278.14 $9,953,347.00 $29,353,239.00
9 North Carolina $19,276,667.432,3,7,12 $3,150,212.28 $1,190,668.33 $15,120,192.00 $24,163,760.00
4 Florida State $19,029,833.862,3,7,11,12 $3,093,620.63 $1,169,278.69 $14,820,135.00 $24,877,536.00
10 Virginia $17,940,907.862,3,7,11,12 $2,586,626.75 $977,653.02 $14,213,380.00 $20,483,132.00
1 Boston College $17,168,032.142,3,11,12 $2,643,994.21 $999,335.88 $13,418,390.00 $20,711,067.00
6 North Carolina State $17,118,071.142,11 $4,956,439.20 $1,873,357.93 $7,979,250.00 $22,018,738.00
7 Maryland $10,938,499.502,4,8,9,10,11 $2,332,309.07 $1,166,154.53 $8,941,831.00 $13,980,823.00
12 Wake Forest $9,977,166.571,2,4,8,9,10,11 $2,844,307.78 $1,075,047.29 $7,134,512.00 $14,866,810.00
3 Duke $9,835,039.001,2,4,8,9,10,11 $2,871,406.18 $1,085,289.52 $7,727,680.00 $16,109,324.00
Total $18,653,056.31 $7,268,081.13 $807,564.57 $7,134,512.00 $40,634,499.00

*ANOVA indicates significant differences at α = 0.05 level (F = 14.35, p < 0.01)


n=7 for all schools
Superscript indicates significant Games-Howell post-hoc test.
International Journal of Sports Science & Coaching Volume 7 · Number 2 · 2012 353

Georgia Tech, due to the standard deviation in its average, did not record any significant
post-hoc differences.
Similarly, the Big East average football revenue across all schools was $15,058,006. West
Virginia (X= $23,976,444), Pittsburgh (X= $19,463,539), and Syracuse (X= $17,059,591)
indicated the largest football revenue; Cincinnati (X= $8,137,604), South Florida (X=
$10,499,340), and Connecticut (X= $11,436,162) reported the lowest average football
revenue. Rutgers (X= $14,642,110) was the only school to not indicate any significant
differences using the post-hoc tests. West Virginia, the largest football revenue school, was
significantly higher than Cincinnati, Connecticut, and South Florida; Cincinnati, the lowest
football revenue school, was significantly lower than West Virginia, Pittsburgh, Syracuse,
and Louisville.

Table 5. Big East School Average Football Revenue for 2003-2009

ID School Mean Std. Deviation Minimum Maximum


20 West Virginia $ 23,976,444.4315,16,19 $ 5,202,705.61 $ 17,170,945.00 $ 29,467,612.00
18 Pittsburgh $ 19,463,539.2915,16,19 $ 1,777,108.10 $ 17,279,610.00 $ 22,513,336.00
14 Syracuse $ 17,059,591.5715,16 $ 1,729,956.01 $ 14,866,061.00 $ 19,152,691.00
17 Louisville $ 15,249,254.8615 $ 3,599,444.45 $ 9,771,414.00 $ 19,023,605.00
13 Rutgers $ 14,642,110.43 $ 5,168,496.65 $ 5,741,810.00 $ 19,738,023.00
16 Connecticut $ 11,436,162.8614,18,20 $ 3,421,862.17 $ 4,846,306.00 $ 14,400,371.00
19 South Florida $ 10,499,340.5718,20 $ 4,531,212.65 $ 5,189,338.00 $ 16,562,391.00
15 Cincinnati $ 8,137,604.4314,17,18,20 $ 3,409,814.99 $ 4,739,787.00 $ 13,325,304.00
Total $ 15,058,006.05 $ 6,023,012.61 $ 4,739,787.00 $ 29,467,612.00

*ANOVA indicates significant differences at α = 0.05 level (F = 12.67, p < 0.01)


n=7 for all schools
Superscript indicates significant Games-Howell post-hoc test.

Table 6. Big Ten School Average Football Revenue for 2003-2009

ID School Mean Std. Deviation Minimum Maximum


24 Ohio State $ 59,296,706.2921,22,23,26,27,28,30,31 $ 7,768,517.72 $ 46,242,355.00 $ 68,196,195.00
29 Michigan $ 51,313,036.4321,23,26,27,30,31 $ 7,830,274.95 $ 38,547,937.00 $ 63,189,417.00
25 Penn State $ 48,665,843.142123,26,27,30 $ 13,667,016.26 $ 33,236,463.00 $ 70,208,584.00
22 Michigan State $ 36,760,497.2921,23,24 $ 8,744,845.28 $ 21,871,775.00 $ 44,462,659.00
28 Iowa $ 36,401,859.7121,23,24,26,27,30 $ 7,830,067.72 $ 25,349,769.00 $ 45,854,764.00
31 Wisconsin $ 34,594,661.0021,23,24,26,27,29,31 $ 5,545,019.77 $ 23,271,101.00 $ 40,005,517.00
27 Illinois $ 21,946,775.5724,25,28,29,31 $ 3,389,656.02 $ 17,963,276.00 $ 25,710,645.00
26 Purdue $ 21,535,678.4324,25,28,29,31 $ 2,549,183.92 $ 18,118,898.00 $ 25,134,139.00
30 Minnesota $ 20,860,326.7124,25,28,29,31 $ 6,668,854.25 $ 14,484,196.00 $ 32,322,688.00
23 Northwestern $ 18,577,953.4322,24,25,28,29,31 $ 3,907,183.33 $ 14,743,414.00 $ 23,951,794.00
21 Indiana $ 17,274,616.0022,24,25,28,29,31 $ 4,396,893.75 $ 10,538,427.00 $ 21,783,185.00
Total $ 33,384,359.45 $ 15,614,854.27 $ 10,538,427.00 $ 70,208,584.00

*ANOVA indicates significant differences at α = 0.05 level (F = 28.91, p < 0.01)


n=7 for all schools
Superscript indicates significant Games-Howell post-hoc test.
354 The Great Divide: Examining Football Revenue among FBS Schools

The Big Ten had the second highest average football revenue of all of the conferences (X=
$33,384,359), and Ohio State (X= $59,296,706), Michigan (X= $51,313,036), and Penn
State (X= $48,665,843) reported the largest football revenue amongst conference teams.
Minnesota (X= $20,860,326), Northwestern (X= $18,577,953) and Indiana (X=
$17,274,616) reported the lowest football revenues. The disparity amongst schools is
illustrated in the fact that each school had at least one significant difference in the post-hoc
Games-Howell tests. Ohio State was statistically higher from every school in the conference
except for Michigan and Penn State; Indiana was statistically significantly lower than
Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State, Iowa State, Michigan, and Wisconsin.
The Big 12 recorded a conference average football revenue of $27,233,826 and Texas (X=
$68,559,683), Oklahoma (X= $39,920,882), and Texas A&M (X= $37,836,177) recorded the
highest average football revenue. Iowa State (X= $15,044,705), Kansas (X= $13,206,721),
and Baylor (X= $9,584,474) recorded the lowest. Again, there was at least one significant
difference among the conference schools; the Big 12 also produced the greatest number of
post-hoc differences. Texas was significantly higher than every school except Texas A&M,
Nebraska, and Oklahoma. Baylor was also significantly lower than all of the other schools
except Kansas and Iowa State.

Table 7. Big Twelve School Average Football Revenue for 2003-2009

ID School Mean Std. Deviation Minimum Maximum


38 Texas $68,559,683.8632,33,34,35,37,38,39,40,41 $17,243,875.84 $47,556,281.00 $93,942,815.00
43 Oklahoma $39,920,882.1432,33,34,35,37,40,41 $8,955,464.48 $32,275,608.00 $58,295,888.00
36 Texas A&M $37,836,177.2932,33,34,35,36,37,39,40,41 $3,831,086.12 $31,103,827.00 $42,552,070.00
42 Nebraska $36,257,830.7132 $14,617,487.67 $20,671,989.00 $55,226,605.00
39 Colorado $24,944,310.7132,33,36,38,40 $2,635,163.52 $22,053,568.00 $28,755,199.00
35 Oklahoma State $22,195,311.0032,36,38,43 $5,831,660.22 $16,670,801.00 $32,787,498.00
37 Texas Tech $20,414,548.2932,36,38,43 $3,830,323.16 $14,079,284.00 $26,201,009.00
34 Kansas State $20,262,120.8632,36,38,40,43 $1,618,503.61 $17,570,624.00 $21,900,159.00
41 Missouri $18,579,149.5732,36,38,43 $4,491,118.36 $14,977,244.00 $25,378,066.00
33 Iowa State $15,044,705.0036,38,39,43 $4,483,386.81 $10,660,310.00 $21,261,439.00
40 Kansas $13,206,721.1434,36,38,39,43 $3,585,888.58 $9,361,531.00 $17,885,176.00
32 Baylor $9,584,474.2934,35,36,37,38,39,41,42,43 $3,012,555.12 $6,202,948.00 $14,355,322.00
Total $27,233,826.24 $17,285,279.28 $6,202,948.00 $93,942,815.00

*ANOVA indicates significant differences at α = 0.05 level (F = 30.70, p < 0.01)


n=7 for all schools
Superscript indicates significant Games-Howell post-hoc test.

The Pac-10 (X= $22,082,133) leaders in average football revenue were Washington (X=
$32,334,406), Southern California (X= $29,696,142), and Oregon State (X= $25,283,308).
Conversely, Arizona (X= $17,549,162), Stanford (X= $13,397,761), and Washington State
(X= $11,642,094) recorded the lowest average. California (X= $21,955,848) did not record
any significantly different post-hoc measures. Washington was significantly higher than
Stanford, Arizona, Washington State, Oregon, and UCLA. Washington State was
significantly lower than Arizona State, Oregon State, UCLA, Oregon, Southern California,
and Washington.
International Journal of Sports Science & Coaching Volume 7 · Number 2 · 2012 355

Table 8. Pac-10 School Average Football Revenue for 2003-2009

ID School Mean Std. Deviation Minimum Maximum


86 Washington $ 32,334,406.2980,81,83,84,87 $ 3,470,617.32 $ 27,100,356.00 $ 37,092,611.00
85 Southern California $ 29,696,142.1480,81,87 $ 2,936,510.27 $ 26,244,364.00 $ 35,203,483.00
79 Oregon State $ 25,283,308.4380,87 $ 5,079,118.24 $ 19,056,237.00 $ 31,867,028.00
78 Arizona State $ 24,661,616.7180,87 $ 5,347,362.53 $ 17,669,149.00 $ 29,857,334.00
83 UCLA $ 22,281,456.0080,86,87 $ 4,131,465.92 $ 17,231,998.00 $ 28,174,046.00
84 Oregon $ 22,020,537.5780,86,87 $ 4,507,847.35 $ 16,849,754.00 $ 29,505,906.00
82 California $ 21,955,848.14 $ 6,025,414.54 $ 12,548,856.00 $ 27,826,942.00
81 Arizona $ 17,548,162.4385,86 $ 3,883,779.58 $ 13,266,117.00 $ 24,398,253.00
80 Stanford $ 13,397,761.0078,79,83,84,85,86 $ 3,853,717.67 $ 9,920,845.00 $ 21,309,949.00
87 Washington State $ 11,642,094.8678,79,83,84,85,86 $ 1,330,756.86 $ 9,904,767.00 $ 13,469,260.00
Total $ 22,082,133.36 $ 7,399,426.90 $ 9,904,767.00 $ 37,092,611.00

*ANOVA indicates significant differences at α = 0.05 level (F = 16.59, p < 0.01)


n=7 for all schools
Superscript indicates significant Games-Howell post-hoc test.

The Southeastern Conference (X= $38,239,781) reported the highest average football
revenue among the AQ schools with Georgia (X= $59,184,075), Florida (X= $56,302,699),
and Alabama (X= $53,471,308) recording the largest football revenue. The lowest football
revenues were reported by Mississippi (X= $18,820,148), Vanderbilt (X= $16,604,792), and
Mississippi State (X= $13,649,122). South Carolina (X= $39,094,527) was the only school
to not record any significant post-hoc tests; this may be attributable to the standard deviation.
Georgia was significantly higher than Mississippi State, Mississippi, Vanderbilt, Arkansas
and Kentucky. Mississippi State, on the other hand, was significantly lower than all of the
other schools in the conference except South Carolina, Mississippi, and Vanderbilt.

Table 9. Southeastern Conference School Average Football Revenue for 2003-2009

ID School Mean Std. Deviation Minimum Maximum


95 Georgia $59,184,075.0090,93,96,97,99 $9,957,918.40 $42,104,214.00 $70,838,539.00
94 Florida $56,302,699.1490,96,97,99 $11,353,352.90 $42,710,967.00 $68,715,750.00
91 Alabama $53,471,308.1490,96,97,99 $11,942,798.98 $39,848,836.00 $71,884,525.00
88 Auburn $52,945,100.0090,96,97,99 $10,576,562.16 $37,173,943.00 $66,162,720.00
89 Louisiana State $49,869,501.0090,96,97,99 $11,952,735.72 $38,381,625.00 $68,819,806.00
92 Tennessee $39,231,582.7190,97,99 $10,536,303.90 $27,732,427.00 $56,593,946.00
98 South Carolina $39,094,527.00 $17,664,494.01 $14,292,557.00 $58,266,159.00
93 Arkansas $36,133,458.0090,95,97,99 $8,333,971.12 $27,337,120.00 $48,524,244.00
96 Kentucky $23,571,061.4388,89,90,91,94,95 $4,619,639.88 $19,631,403.00 $31,890,572.00
97 Mississippi $18,820,148.5788,89,91,92,93,94,95 $4,322,419.10 $15,958,445.00 $28,409,774.00
99 Vanderbilt $16,604,792.4388,89,91,92,93,94,95 $3,097,182.97 $13,431,804.00 $22,506,492.00
97 Mississippi State $13,649,122.0088,89,90,91,92,93,94,95,96 $3,008,161.62 $9,792,405.00 $18,732,248.00
Total $38,239,781.29 $18,431,593.72 $9,792,405.00 $71,884,525.00

*ANOVA indicates significant differences at α = 0.05 level (F = 19.60, p < 0.01)


n=7 for all schools
Superscript indicates significant Games-Howell post-hoc test.
356 The Great Divide: Examining Football Revenue among FBS Schools

The Mountain West (X= $8,401,775) touted the highest average football revenue among
the non-AQ schools with Texas Christian (X= $13,590,643), Utah (X= $11,355,868) and
BYU (X= $11,328,191) the three highest teams; New Mexico (X= $6,406,563), Colorado
State (X= $4,808,823), and Nevada-Las Vegas (X= $4,098,611) were the three lowest. San
Diego State (X= $8,226,934) did not produce any significant post-hoc tests. Texas Christian
was significantly higher than Colorado State, Nevada-Las Vegas, and New Mexico; Nevada-
Las Vegas was significantly lower than BYU, Texas Christian, and Utah.

Table 10. Mountain West Conference School Average Football Revenue for
2003-2009

ID School Mean Std. Deviation Minimum Maximum


73 Texas Christian $13,590,643.4371,74,75 $4,299,521.90 $7,814,061.00 $20,609,361.00
76 Utah $11,355,868.5771,74 $3,765,470.76 $4,726,994.00 $16,388,182.00
70 Brigham Young $11,328,191.7171,74,75,77 $2,251,985.13 $8,819,805.00 $15,763,650.00
72 San Diego State $8,226,934.14 $2,830,686.28 $4,508,597.00 $11,931,887.00
77 Wyoming $7,398,570.2970,71 $1,244,726.48 $5,545,301.00 $9,145,222.00
75 New Mexico $6,406,563.4370,73 $1,533,988.35 $3,265,057.00 $7,961,505.00
71 Colorado State $4,808,823.5770,73,76,77 $1,357,807.80 $3,445,782.00 $7,288,328.00
74 Nevada – Las Vegas $4,098,611.5770,73,76 $1,987,361.32 $2,122,421.00 $7,690,735.00
Total $8,401,775.84 $4,039,087.97 $2,122,421.00 $20,609,361.00

*ANOVA indicates significant differences at α = 0.05 level (F = 11.64, p < 0.01)


n=7 for all schools
Superscript indicates significant Games-Howell post-hoc test.

Conference USA (X= $6,690,266) was next among the non-AQ schools with Southern
Methodist (X= $10,092,880), Rice (X= $8,236,394), and Texas-El Paso (X= $7,848,625)
producing the largest football revenue. Alabama-Birmingham (X= $5,590,510), Southern
Mississippi (X= $5,159,109), and Houston (X= $4,599,138) produced the lowest. Southern

Table 11. Conference USA School Average Football Revenue for 2003-2009

ID School Mean Std. Deviation Minimum Maximum


47 Southern Methodist $10,092,880.1445,49,50,52,54,55 $1,602,318.09 $7,906,391.00 $12,493,293.00
46 Rice $8,236,394.14 $3,433,746.78 $3,486,850.00 $12,682,194.00
48 Texas – El Paso $7,848,625.29 $2,376,690.09 $3,526,517.00 $10,229,709.00
52 Memphis $6,916,120.14 $2,474,271.18 $4,621,399.00 $11,557,329.00
44 East Carolina $6,892,885.14 $1,897,114.39 $4,246,064.00 $9,627,578.00
45 Marshall $6,625,304.0047 $987,975.62 $5,422,949.00 $8,112,305.00
51 Central Florida $6,501,861.86 $4,645,292.25 $1,744,014.00 $15,173,200.00
55 Tulsa $6,121,556.4347 $1,756,376.68 $4,034,571.00 $8,792,917.00
49 Tulane $5,698,810.5747 $1,578,880.60 $3,036,695.00 $7,395,365.00
50 Alabama – Birmingham $5,590,510.1447 $806,429.58 $4,469,854.00 $6,811,742.00
54 Southern Miss $5,159,109.1447 $1,341,734.37 $2,697,530.00 $7,221,086.00
52 Houston $4,599,138.8647 $1,994,478.52 $2,461,588.00 $7,719,733.00
Total $6,690,266.32 $2,593,917.97 $1,744,014.00 $15,173,200.00

*ANOVA indicates significant differences at α = 0.05 level (F = 11.64, p < 0.01)


n=7 for all schools
Superscript indicates significant Games-Howell post-hoc test.
International Journal of Sports Science & Coaching Volume 7 · Number 2 · 2012 357

Methodist produced the only significant post-hoc test, as it was significantly higher than each
of the other schools in the conference except Rice, Central Florida, Texas-El Paso, Memphis,
and East Carolina.
Fresno State (X= $8,982,528), Boise St. (X= $8,430,042), and Hawaii (X= $7,024,283) led
the Western Athletic Conference (X= $5,130,376); San Jose State (X= $3,252,150), Louisiana
Tech (X= $3,053,973), and Utah State (X= $3,046,419) generated the lowest average football
revenue. Fresno State produced the only significant post-hoc tests, as the school’s revenue was
significantly higher from all of the schools except Boise St. and Hawaii.

Table 12. Western Athletic Conference School Average Football Revenue


for 2003-2009

ID School Mean Std. Deviation Minimum Maximum


110 Fresno St. $8,982,528.29111,112,113,115,116,117 $840,399.08 $7,902,336.00 $10,414,434.00
109 Boise St. $8,430,042.43 $4,128,717.14 $2,824,122.00 $14,515,613.00
114 Hawaii $7,024,283.57 $2,532,077.88 $4,837,475.00 $12,205,141.00
116 Nevada $4,375,743.43110 $1,108,908.75 $2,471,430.00 $5,648,487.00
115 Idaho $4,263,946.71110 $1,533,355.38 $1,996,166.00 $5,900,551.00
112 New Mexico St. $3,744,305.00110 $2,163,805.01 $1,118,277.00 $6,479,728.00
113 San Jose St. $3,252,150.00110 $1,925,574.67 $949,214.00 $6,012,613.00
111 Louisiana Tech $3,053,973.29110 $928,996.87 $2,187,733.00 $5,040,398.00
117 Utah St. $3,046,419.43110 $1,536,247.75 $1,148,638.00 $4,738,478.00
Total $5,130,376.90 $2,976,540.72 $949,214.00 $14,515,613.00

*ANOVA indicates significant differences at α = 0.05 level (F = 8.95, p < 0.01)


n=7 for all schools
Superscript indicates significant Games-Howell post-hoc test.

Table 13. Mid-American Conference School Average Football Revenue for


2003-2009

ID School Mean Std. Deviation Minimum Maximum


65 Temple $8,645,519.7156,67,59,60,61,62,63,64,65,66,67,68 $844,443.18 $7,632,247.00 $10,093,610.00
61 Miami (OH) $5,059,170.7165 $931,820.22 $4,225,044.00 $6,903,977.00
58 Central Michigan $4,786,407.14 $2,280,469.59 $1,444,040.00 $7,991,950.00
63 Ohio $4,628,398.0065 $1,723,269.31 $2,353,407.00 $7,467,896.00
59 Eastern Michigan $4,043,270.8665 $1,488,781.64 $2,355,559.00 $6,076,907.00
67 Toledo $3,921,534.2965 $2,447,469.15 $1,343,825.00 $7,245,746.00
62 Northern Illinois $3,448,872.1465 $1,292,476.41 $2,265,844.00 $5,351,447.00
57 Bowling Green $3,038,035.0065 $1,077,909.48 $1,957,598.00 $4,261,871.00
56 Ball St. $2,986,158.1465 $2,180,943.47 $799,737.00 $5,436,482.00
60 Kent St. $2,951,327.4365 $2,215,413.88 $777,969.00 $6,040,915.00
68 Western Michigan $2,820,630.1465 $1,759,946.45 $1,419,840.00 $5,603,913.00
64 Buffalo $2,803,576.7165 $2,119,835.48 $670,647.00 $5,271,139.00
66 Akron $2,235,950.7165 $2,086,776.70 $688,274.00 $ 5,738,172.00
Total $3,951,450.08 $ 2,322,104.88 $670,647.00 $10,093,610.00

*ANOVA indicates significant differences at α = 0.05 level (F = 5.90, p < 0.01)


n=7 for all schools
Superscript indicates significant Games-Howell post-hoc test.
358 The Great Divide: Examining Football Revenue among FBS Schools

The Mid-American Conference (X= $3,951,450) was led in revenue by Temple (X=
$8,645,519), Miami of Ohio (X= $5,059,170), and Central Michigan (X= $4,786,407). The
lowest football revenue-generating schools were Western Michigan (X= $2,820,630),
Buffalo (X= $2,803,576), and Akron (X= $2,235,950). Temple was significantly higher than
all of the other schools in the conference except Central Michigan using the Games-Howell
post-hoc test.
Florida International (X= $6,063,220), Middle Tennessee State (X= $5,181,762), and
Troy (X= $4,051,671) led the Sun Belt Conference (X=$3,504,254) in average football
revenue; North Texas (X= $2,493,955), Louisiana-Monroe (X= $2,488,219), and Florida
Atlantic (X= $1,990,122) generated the least. The Sun Belt had the lowest average
conference revenue of all FBS schools. Western Kentucky (X= $3,690,106), the newest team
to the conference and the FBS, was the only conference school without any significant post-
hoc tests. Florida International was significantly higher than each of the other schools in the
conference except Middle Tennessee State and Western Kentucky; Florida Atlantic was
significantly lower than Florida International, Middle Tennessee State, and Troy.

Table 14. Sun Belt Conference School Average Football Revenue for 2003-
2009

ID School Mean Std. Deviation Minimum Maximum


101 Florida International $6,063,220.29100,101,104,105,106,1007 $958,693.72 $4,720,141.00 $7,164,071.00
103 Middle Tennessee St. $5,181,762.14100,101,105,106,107 $982,115.82 $3,892,130.00 $6,638,007.00
104 Troy $4,051,671.57101,102,106 $682,403.56 $3,452,351.00 $5,386,426.00
108 Western Kentucky $3,690,106.00 $1,366,795.24 $2,549,940.00 $5,768,244.00
100 Arkansas State $2,842,339.71102,103 $1,065,626.16 $1,565,937.00 $3,760,642.00
105 Louisiana - Lafayette $2,736,895.86102,103 $1,263,337.32 $1,286,266.00 $4,210,176.00
107 North Texas $2,493,955.14102,103 $1,362,804.08 $1,430,676.00 $4,352,113.00
106 Louisiana – Monroe $2,488,219.43102,103,104 $674,417.04 $1,734,872.00 $3,593,026.00
101 Florida Atlantic $1,990,122.00102,103,104 $841,468.83 $589,883.00 $2,630,350.00
Total $3,504,254.68 $1,632,823.80 $589,883.00 $7,164,071.00

*ANOVA indicates significant differences at α = 0.05 level (F = 11.90, p < 0.01)


n=7 for all schools
Superscript indicates significant Games-Howell post-hoc test.

RECRUITING AND ATTENDANCE


Attendance across all conferences from 2003 to 2009 averaged 44,612 (s.d. = 25,965) with
the SEC (X= 74,938) Big Ten (X= 70,124), and Big 12 (X= 60,097) leading in average
attendance. The Western Athletic (X= 22,378), the Mid-American (X= 17,554), and the Sun
Belt (X= 16,977) averaged the lowest attendance. As expected, the AQ conferences all held
higher average attendance figures than the non-AQ conferences. Regression analysis was
used to determine the Pearson’s product-moment coefficient and the coefficient of
determination for the relationship between attendance and revenue. The coefficient for the
relationship was found to be significant at α = 0.05 (r = .854; p < 0.001), indicating a
positive, strong correlation between attendance and revenue status. The coefficient of
determination (r2) for the relationship was 0.729 indicating that across all conferences, home
game attendance accounted for 73% of the variance in revenue.
International Journal of Sports Science & Coaching Volume 7 · Number 2 · 2012 359

Table 15. Attendance Across All Conferences for 2003-2009

Conference n Mean Std. Deviation Minimum Maximum


SEC 84 74,939 20,558 28,472 107,593
Big Ten 77 70,125 27,346 24,190 111,825
Big 12 84 60,097 18,692 30,586 101,175
Pac Ten 70 55,523 15,160 22,509 86,793
ACC 81 52,707 16,691 17,486 82,841
Big East 56 44,966 15,312 20,373 91,480
Mountain West 56 33,453 14,097 16,413 64,497
CUSA 84 29,477 13,951 10,072 80,367
WAC 63 22,379 9,844 6,479 43,514
MAC 91 17,555 8,694 5,016 60,524
Sun Belt 54 16,977 2,968 7,982 21,468
Total 800 44,613 25,966 5,016 111,825

Table 16. Regression Summary for Attendance and Football Revenue


across All Conferences from 2003-2009

Model R R Square Adjusted R Square Std. Error of the Estimate


Revenue and Attendance .854 .730 .729 8248639.314

*ANOVA indicates significant model at α = 0.05 level (F = 2153.07, p < 0.01)

The conferences were then split among AQ status and linear regression was conducted to
examine the relationship between revenue and attendance according to AQ stats. For the AQ
teams the coefficient for the relationship was found to be significant at α = 0.05 (r = .786; p
< 0.001), indicating a positive, strong correlation between revenue and conference
qualification status. The coefficient of determination (r2) for the relationship was 0.618
indicating that for AQ conferences, home game attendance accounted for 62% of the
variance in revenue. However, for the non-AQ conferences the coefficient for the
relationship was found to be significant at α = 0.05 (r = .502; p < 0.001), indicating a
positive, moderate correlation between revenue and conference qualification status. The
coefficient of determination (r2) for the relationship however was 0.252 indicating that across
all conferences, home game attendance accounted for 25% of the variance in revenue.

Table 17. Regression Summary for Attendance and Football Revenue


across AQ Conferences from 2003-2009

Model R R Square Adjusted R Square Std. Error of the Estimate


Revenue and Attendance .786 .618 .617 9690616.215

*ANOVA indicates significant model at α = 0.05 level (F = 726.50, p < 0.01)


360 The Great Divide: Examining Football Revenue among FBS Schools

Table 18. Regression Summary for Attendance and Football Revenue across
non-AQ Conferences from 2003-2009

Model R R Square Adjusted R Square Std. Error of the Estimate


Revenue and Attendance .502 .252 .249 2807680.690

*ANOVA indicates significant model at α = 0.05 level (F = 116.31, p < 0.01)

With respect to recruiting, where recruiting was measured as average stars earned per
recruiting class per year, AQ schools (X= 2.92) held a statistically significant advantage (F
= 757.53; p < 0.001) over the non-AQ schools (X= 2.18). The relationship between revenue
and recruiting was explored using linear regression. The coefficient of the relationship was
found to be significant at α = 0.05 (r = .808; p < 0.001), indicating a positive, strong
correlation between revenue and recruiting. The coefficient of determination (r2) for the
relationship was 0.653 indicating that across all conferences, average football revenue
accounted for 65% of the variance in recruiting.

Table 19. Regression Summary for Average Recruiting Stars and Football
Revenue across all Conferences from 2003-2009

Model R R Square Adjusted R Square Std. Error of the Estimate


Recruiting Stars and Revenue .808 .653 .653 .31059

*ANOVA indicates significant model at α = 0.05 level (F = 1520.00, p < 0.01)

The relationship between AQ status and recruiting was also explored using linear
regression. The coefficient of the relationship was found to be significant at α = 0.05 (r =
.696; p < 0.001), indicating a positive, strong correlation between qualification status and
recruiting. The coefficient of determination (r2) for the relationship was 0.484 indicating that
across all conferences, BCS qualification status accounted for 48% of the variance in
recruiting.

Table 20. Regression Summary for Average Recruiting Stars and


Conference Qualification Status from 2003-2009

Model R R Square Adjusted R Square Std. Error of the Estimate


Recruiting Stars and Qualification Status .696 .484 .484 .37878

*ANOVA indicates significant model at α = 0.05 level (F = 757.53, p < 0.01)

DISCUSSION
The landscape of FBS football has continued to change and evolve since the advent of the
Bowl Championship Series (BCS). While not singularly responsible for the expansion of the
sport’s popularity, the BCS plays an integral part in generating interest and discussion from
even the most casual football observer. The creation of the BCS has also led to greater
television exposure across all conferences, and technology and media advances have allowed
fans greater access than ever before. From 2003 to 2009, average football revenue across all
conferences rose from $13,210,672 to $21,623,571 respectively. The exposure and
International Journal of Sports Science & Coaching Volume 7 · Number 2 · 2012 361

controversy of matching number one versus number two have allowed the sport to grow in
popularity and created a financial windfall through increased notoriety.

REVENUE AND QUALIFICATION STATUS


The results of this study indicate that there is a growing discrepancy among the original BCS
conferences, the AQ schools, and the non-AQ schools. In each year of the BCS, the revenue
gap has continued to widen between the two types of FBS schools, despite the fact that all
participants are playing under the same system, with the same rules. The statistical
distribution of the average football revenue indicates that there are glaring discrepancies in
revenue generation across all schools in all conferences. The cumulative difference in
average football revenue over the course of this study between AQ and non-AQ conferences
is over $20 million; the Big East, which averaged the least revenue among AQ schools still
holds a marked advantage over the Mountain West, who averaged the most revenue of the
non-AQ conferences.
Given the stark differences in revenue between the AQ and non-AQ conferences,
categories implicitly created by the BCS, the results of this study confirm the findings of
Maxcy [3] and indicate that the BCS has allowed those teams that compete as automatic
qualifiers to reap the financial benefits of the system they created and exercise power and
authority over the non-AQ conferences. This study confirms the separation between the AQ
and non-AQ conferences in revenue; the results indicate that in each year since 2003, AQ
conferences have not only generated more revenue than their non-AQ counterparts, the
margin has continued to increase each year (the percentage difference, however, has dropped
each year since 2006). In 2009, AQ conferences generated 335% more revenue than non-AQ
conferences. A great majority in the variance may be attributed to healthier conference
television/media contracts, to the revenue created from a conference championship game,
and to the added exposure of participating in a nationally recognized conference.

QUALIFICATION STATUS AND THE BCS


The increased national exposure for the AQ conferences has allowed them to distance
themselves from the non-AQ conferences financially and in the court of public opinion. This
exposure has allowed each of the AQ conferences to negotiate larger multimedia contracts,
and has created greater recognition amongst fans. A consequence of this exposure, however,
is a bias against the non-AQ schools. Since the creation of the BCS in 1998, six non-AQ
schools (Tulane in 1998; Marshall in 1999; Utah in 2004 and 2008; Boise St. in 2004, 2006,
2008 and 2009; Hawaii in 2007; and TCU in 2009 and 2010) have finished undefeated a
cumulative total of eleven times; none of these schools have qualified to play in the BCS
National Championship Game (BCSNCG). The same fate occurred to Auburn of the SEC in
the 2004 season. Auburn is the only AQ school to finish the season undefeated and not play
in the BCSNCG. Arguably, the failure of these schools to compete in the BCSNCG has been
driven by a fan sentiment that schools in the non-AQ conference do not play the same level
of competition as those schools in the AQ conferences on a weekly basis. Each year the
media dissects the schedules of the non-AQ schools and, many argue, generates a bias
against these schools amongst not only the fans, but also the voters of each of the respective
polls (the Coaches Poll and the AP poll; the Coaches Poll in an input variable in the BCS
formula for national BCS rankings). This occurs despite the fact that non-AQ schools who
have been paired against AQ schools in a BCS bowl game have won three of the four
matchups in BCS history (Utah defeated Alabama, Boise St. defeated Oklahoma, TCU
defeated Wisconsin, Hawaii lost to Georgia).
362 The Great Divide: Examining Football Revenue among FBS Schools

Equally important, the rules that govern the BCS often exclude participation of multiple
non-AQ schools (occurred only once in BCS history). Currently only one non-AQ is granted
automatic access to the BCS if they are ranked in the top 12 in the last regular season BCS
poll, or if they are ranked in the top 16 and maintain a ranking that is higher than any one
conference champion from an AQ conference [5]. A second non-AQ school may qualify if
there is a slot available in one of the BCS bowls and the team is ranked in the top 14.
Historically, this has occurred three times; the first year, two-non-AQ schools (Texas
Christian and Boise St.) were undefeated and were invited to play one another in the Fiesta
Bowl. The other two years, however, Boise St. was not invited to play in a BCS game despite
being ranked 10th and 7th respectively in the last BCS poll of the year [5]. Still, the BCS,
through their invitation of non-AQ member schools to participate in actual BCS bowl games,
has helped both the Mountain West and the Western Athletic Conference generate more
football revenue than the other non-AQ conferences.
The data suggest that conference qualifying status defines the inequality among the FBS
schools. The average football revenue of the Sun Belt, the Mid-American, and the Western
Athletic conferences combined (X=12,586,080) is still less than each of the AQ conferences
except for the Big East(X=12,058,006). The BCS system, or playing in a BCS bowl game,
is not solely responsible for the generation of revenue for schools and conferences; however,
schools like Utah, Texas Christian, and Boise St. illustrate that non-AQ schools, which
garner the national exposure from the BCS bowl system, can gain a competitive advantage
over their non-AQ counterparts. To this end, Utah and Texas Christian have both been invited
to join AQ conferences in 2011 and 2012 respectively. Television markets have further aided
the acceptance of non-AQ schools into AQ conferences as conference realignment in 2011
and 2012 has resulted in Boise St., Navy, San Diego State, Houston, Southern Methodist,
Memphis and Central Florida joining the Big East by 2014 (agreements in principle have
been reached, but contracts not finalized for all schools to enter into the conference).

WITHIN-CONFERENCE REVENUE
The results of this study help to support the findings of Dittmore and Crow [11] who reported
that several conferences had begun to experience a discrepancy in the revenue balance within
the respective conference. The results of this study indicate that the stratification of revenue
occurs both at the AQ/non-AQ classification level and at the conference level. Each of the
AQ conferences reported a significant ANOVA with respect to revenue, indicating that at
least one of the schools in the conference had a significantly higher or lower mean revenue
than the other respective schools. Automatic-qualifying schools such as Texas, Georgia,
Florida, Ohio State, and Alabama have created blatant outliers in the revenue data. The
margin between the top tier in each conference and the bottom tier is rather pronounced.
Teams in the top tier are beginning to earn two-to-three times more revenue than those in the
bottom tier of their conference. Conference stratification, especially in the Big Ten, Big 12,
and SEC, also paints a picture of competitive imbalance on the field, where fewer and fewer
teams are competing for conference championships.
The revenue problem within conferences is not unique to the AQ conferences. In all non-
AQ conferences the same stratification pattern has emerged. While not as pronounced as in
the AQ conference, the problem still exists.
Stepping back and examining the entire landscape of college football reveals the same
pattern on a grander scale. Those juggernaut programs (Texas, Georgia, LSU, Ohio State,
Alabama, and Florida) that generate the greatest revenue and produce the largest profit
margins are those that are consistently competing on a national level, and hold a competitive
International Journal of Sports Science & Coaching Volume 7 · Number 2 · 2012 363

advantage on the field, in facilities, and in recruiting.


There are many causes of the revenue differences among schools. It can be argued that
these schools have investment in their infrastructure through: continued success on the field,
revenue created by the licensing and marketing of their stadiums, clothing and apparel
contracts, and increased alumni and booster donations. Winning drove ticket demand beyond
the capacity of their respective stadiums; thus many of the top-producing revenue schools
have implemented a seat licensing system similar to the NFL for fans attending home games,
adding a premium donation in order to be eligible to purchase season tickets. The same
system is in place at many of these schools for parking spots. This system arose from
demand, a demand created by success, and it has allowed these schools to reap benefits
unlike ever before. This structure, however, is not a feasible or sustainable model for every
FBS school.
A seat licensing or auxiliary athletic donation system is not sustainable where ticket
supply is greater than consumer demand. Adding an additional license at schools like Eastern
Michigan, Tulane, or Temple, where actual attendance for games is below 40% capacity for
the stadium, for the opportunity to purchase tickets would likely result in decreased
attendance. The addition of a donation system at many non-AQ schools, and some AQ
schools, would drive the price of the total ticket package higher for many fans. This would
leave the fan questioning if their investment in season tickets would be worth the
entertainment return. Further, many non-AQ schools play midweek games, making
attendance for many working fans more difficult. In the end, the fan of a non-successful
school would have to ask themselves if watching a team that has not been successful is worth
their total investment. Unless the team can compete and draw a big-name opponent, the
answer to this question, many times, is no.
Still, non-AQ schools such as Boise St., Utah, and Texas Christian, have increased their
revenue streams and profit margins through consistent success on the field, and through
inclusion, and victory, in BCS bowl games. These programs provide a model for other non-
AQ schools to follow with respect to earning greater revenue: play high-caliber opponents
and win those games. Participating in BCS bowl games has allowed these schools to increase
their post-season revenue, thus adding additional funds to their total football revenue.
Equally important, these schools have been invited to play in “Kick-Off Classic” games
where they potentially earn more money than a regular home game, and they gain national
exposure through a nationally-televised matchup. The resulting path that these schools have
taken shows that consistent success on the field and a willingness to schedule tough out-of-
conference games can result in greater exposure and national attention. Over the course of
time, as the “lesser” school turns being competitive into being successful against their
“larger” opponent, the system, and the fans will recognize their success and more lucrative
opportunities will follow. Subsequently, this exposure can lead to greater stadium attendance,
increased advertising opportunities, and the ability to demand a greater television contract as
your team becomes relevant outside of its immediate television market.

REVENUE, COMPETITIVE BALANCE, AND ATTENDANCE


The impact of decreased revenue for the non-AQ schools cannot be ignored as it can lead
competitive imbalance on the field. The decrease in revenue can create stratifications in
facilities, in recruiting, and even in coaching. Schools must continue to generate revenue in
order to upgrade facilities, attract and pay top coaches, and recruit and sign higher-rated
athletes. With limited funds, many of the non-AQ schools cannot remain competitive. Where
Texas and Alabama used donor funds to renovate their respective stadiums, North Texas and
364 The Great Divide: Examining Football Revenue among FBS Schools

Florida Atlantic relied on loans, bonds, or student fees to secure the funding for their new
stadiums [13, 14, 25, 26]. Non-AQ schools must also rely on “pay for play” games to
generate additional revenue. Most AQ schools schedule seven home games a season. This is
usually not the case for most non-AQ programs. Driven by money, many non-AQ programs
will schedule away games where the home school provides a lucrative payout for coming to
play at their school (for a complete review of the “pay for play” system see Faure and Cranor
[2]). While the payout may vary by game and school, these games allow non-AQ teams to
earn more money by travelling to an AQ school than they would generate in a home game.
The revenue earned from these games help non-AQ schools fill holes in their total athletic
budgets. While the chances of winning these games are slim [2], they provide the program
with greater national exposure, especially if they are able to win the game.
Generating more revenue from attendance is reliant upon the conference and competition
[9]. The results indicate that attendance explains a greater percentage of the variance in AQ-
schools, meaning that either attendance is significantly lower for the non-AQ schools, or they
are not able to generate revenue from their home game ticket sales through increased ticket
prices or seat license agreements. Many of the non-AQ conference schools could benefit
from signing a home and home agreement versus a top tier AQ conference school. Still,
convincing the AQ school to forfeit a home game, and willingly lose that revenue, may be
difficult. However, non-AQ schools located in fertile recruiting grounds may use their
location as a negotiating tactic when constructing their non-conference schedule. As a means
of building relationships with AQ schools, some non-AQ teams may even consider two–for-
one arrangements that allow for two games on the AQ campus and one at the home of the
non-AQ school. These agreements would allow for the non-AQ school to have a marquee
home game to help bolster ticket sales for home games. In another effort to generate revenue
and visibility, some non-AQ schools have taken to playing “road home games” where the
non-AQ school acts as the home team at a neutral facility near the AQ school’s campus. In
these agreements, the non-AQ school receives both a payout for playing in the game and a
percentage of the game’s ticket sales.

REVENUE AND RECRUITING


The results indicate that there exists a relationship between recruiting and total revenue,
which points to the difficulties that non-AQ conferences have in recruiting top-rated players.
Collectively, AQ conferences recruit at a statistically significant higher level than non-AQ
conference. This supports the finding of Dumond et al. [6] who found evidence to support
that recruits favored AQ schools. As noted through regression, revenue accounts for 65% of
the variance in recruiting across all of the BCS conferences; separately BCS classification
accounts for 45% of the variance in recruiting. The variability in recruiting can be
attributable to several factors. First, as Dumond et al. explain, [6] the relationship between
winning and recruiting can create a cyclical process. Simply, historical success draws recruits
to a particular program to be part of the history and tradition of the school. Facilities further
help to explain the variance in recruiting. The race to upgrade and to build new facilities is
an indication that schools recognize this as an important factor when it comes to attracting
top recruits. Football stadiums, practice facilities, operations centers, and academic centers
are all important facility upgrades that have been undertaken by those who can most afford
them in college football.
The results of this study indicate that the conferences with the most revenue continue to
attract higher-rated players. It should be noted, however, that attracting higher-rated athletes
does not guarantee that a program will be successful, as these ratings are simply subjective
International Journal of Sports Science & Coaching Volume 7 · Number 2 · 2012 365

projections based on the potential a recruit has to be an impact player at the collegiate level.
Still, signing a greater number of these higher-rated athletes does increase the likelihood that
success will follow, which in the long term, can create a competitive unbalance. This cycle
continues to place all lower revenue-generating schools at a disadvantage. There are
significant costs associated with recruiting on a regional and national level. An inability to
generate revenue can leave these schools with a reduced recruiting budget, thus placing these
schools at a competitive disadvantage. Schools are forced to become regional recruiters and
seek out players that are geographically accessible. Without the draw of big television and
lucrative bowl games, these schools often do not attract players to their programs or their
campuses. To this end, only one five-star recruit has chosen to attend a non-AQ school since
2003. Without the ability to attract and develop top-rated talent, non-AQ schools may
continue to fall behind in competition on the field.
Given these discrepancies in revenue and recruiting, and in an effort to reverse some of
the current trends in the sport, college football may benefit from a reduction in scholarships
across all programs. The current scholarship structure allows for programs to have 85
scholarship athletes on their roster. By limiting the number of scholarships, talented recruits
would become more dispersed across all of college football thereby increasing the
competitive balance across the sport. Theoretically, as the talent level across all teams
stabilizes, more teams would become competitive, creating greater opportunity for balance
among the sport. As fan interest in the non-AQ schools increased through stabilized balance,
these schools would benefit from increased home attendance, greater media exposure, and
more lucrative marketing opportunities. The propensity of non-AQ schools to gain national
exposure in the BCS would increase, as would their ability to play in the national
championship game. While it occurred before the advent of the BCS, there is a historical
precedent for a reduction in scholarships leading to increased competition. When limits were
first set in the 1970’s, parity in college football began to return.
As noted by Sutter and Winkler [4], however, there are some limitations to the perceived
parity that scholarship reductions bring. While their research concluded that the relationship
between scholarship reductions and parity was not conclusive, they hypothesized that this
was because: the limitations were not strictly enforced, the effects of scholarship limitations
were equal on all teams, and the scholarship limit at 85 was, perhaps, still too high. Reducing
the scholarship limit could help to disperse the pool of talent; however, there are costs
associated with a lower number of scholarship athletes. A reduction in scholarships could
limit the quality depth at each position across all schools thus impacting the overall quality
of the sport. Further, these reductions in depth could potentially compromise the health and
safety of the student athlete. It should be noted that this system would not prevent an athlete
from attending their desired school as a walk-on. As such, it could potentially open the door
for NCAA violations such as boosters paying for a walk-on’s tuition or giving the walk-on
athletes extra benefits.
Any reduction in scholarships cannot be fully implemented without thorough research on
the part of the NCAA and the institution. First, the impact to player health and safety must
be considered to ensure that the athlete’s well-being is not compromised. Of equal
importance, the potential impact on women’s sports and on scholarships for female athletes
(through Title IX compliance) cannot be ignored. Finally, a reduction in scholarships could
lead to greater competition in recruiting thereby leading to increased spending on recruiting.
Leveling the playing field with recruiting may not be the only solution to the revenue
discrepancy. Many programs should conduct an internal audit and decide if Division One
football, namely playing FBS football, is financially feasible. If schools have self-reported
366 The Great Divide: Examining Football Revenue among FBS Schools

their revenue and expense figures correctly to the Department of Education, there are many
programs that are operating under a continued loss. In the long run, these programs must ask
if a drop in classification is in the best interest of their athletic departments. The NCAA may
benefit from instituting minimum revenue margins to remain classified as an FBS school
(there are currently attendance minimums and sanctions imposed for graduation rates).
Contracting programs may help raise the competitive balance of the sport and create smaller,
more economical conferences. Teams like Eastern Michigan, who are not on the same
competitive level as the University of Michigan, would no longer compete in the same bowl
division. With minimum revenue qualifications, the FCS conference would receive new
teams to add to its division, which could lead to a gain in attendance, popularity, and revenue.

CONCLUSION
College football has exploded in fan support and popularity since the advent of the BCS in
1998. The results indicate that each of the BCS conferences has experienced an increase in
revenue over the period of the study. The results of this study confirm a landscape of
imbalance and inequity in college football. Over the course of the study, the variance in
revenue between non-AQ and AQ conferences has continued to rise and shows no sign of
reaching an apex in the near future. With respect to research question number one, the results
of this study conclude that there is a stark difference in revenue between the AQ and the non-
AQ conferences. Further, the results of this study point to a likelihood for this pattern to
continue. Given the vast differences among the conferences, AQ schools have gained a
competitive advantage on the field and off the field in their ability to generate revenue
through success on the field.
The results of this study also indicate that conference membership has bolstered the
revenue-generating ability of some of the lower-tiered AQ schools. Duke, Indiana, and
Mississippi State have benefited from their AQ-conference affiliation. However, they are not
on par with many of the other schools in their conference. With respect to research question
two, the results of this study confirm that there is a significant difference in the revenue
generated among the respective schools in each conference. This study not only illustrates
the chasm between the AQ and the non-AQ conferences, it also clearly indicates problems
among schools in the same conferences. Many fans and members of the media are quick to
blame the BCS for the differences seen in college football today. However, the rate of
separation cannot be solely and fully explained by the advent of the BCS. Programs that
made the investment in coaches, facilities, and other aspects of their infrastructure are now
beginning to benefit from successful programs through increased media attention, increased
endorsement opportunities, and increased alumni and booster donations. These programs
cannot be blamed nor held accountable for the risk that they assumed in making investments
in their program.
Finally, with respect to research question three, the results of this study indicate that there
is a strong, positive correlation between conference classification (AQ versus non-AQ) and
revenue. Thus, schools in AQ conferences have a stronger ability to raise revenue with
continued success.
The culmination of this research points to the creation of a competitive imbalance on the
field. Simply, non-AQ schools, with less revenue and exposure, find it increasingly more
difficult to compete with the AQ schools at the FBS classification. With respect to finances,
the same schools continuously rank among the leaders in revenue and profit, and, the same
schools are competing for BCS bowl games and national championships. The results of this
study quantify the public perception of stratification in college football. At a macro and
International Journal of Sports Science & Coaching Volume 7 · Number 2 · 2012 367

micro-level, the disparity among teams and conferences cannot be ignored. Teams in a cycle
of losing may experience “flash in the pan” success, but unless they have the revenue to
support the infrastructure required for long-term success, they will eventually fall back into
relative obscurity. For every Boise St., Utah, and Texas Christian, there are teams like Tulane
and Marshall who have finished undefeated but have been unable to maintain their success
over a long period of time. Further, there are teams in conferences that are fighting for
respectability, let alone a conference title. Winning is more than the product on the field.
Schools must make an investment in their recruiting budgets, upgrade facilities, and finance
big-name coaches to earn a competitive advantage over the other members of their
conference. All of these respective actions require a significant monetary investment. Given
the differential in revenue amongst the FBS schools, one cannot ignore the impact that it can
have on the longevity and sustainability of a football program.
The implications to athletic directors, to coaches, and to administrators are endless. The
current system allows a very few number of teams to recruit players and honestly say, “Come
to State, where we promise you will compete for national championships every year.” The
current system almost ensures that the competition for the more lucrative bowls and greater
national exposure is down to six conferences. Now more than ever, there are more and more
teams that recruit players who know before they ever start their freshman year that they will
never compete for a championship and may spend their time on campus as a sacrificial lamb
in order to help their programs stay afloat. As athletic directors and college presidents look
at the spirit of the sport, and the spirit of the governing body whose rules they play under,
they must ask themselves, honestly, if the game has been lost and now the sport is just a
business. The results of this study indicate that while the current system has created the
opportunity for financial gain, it has not come without sacrificing competitive balance and
competitive spirit.
The growing gap between those at the top and those at the bottom will take years to self-
correct; therefore it is recommended that the NCAA consider reducing the number of
scholarship players across the FBS from the current cap of 85 players per team. Just as it did
in the 70’s when teams were signing upwards of 130 players to scholarships, an NCAA-
imposed cap would lead to a greater distribution of talent across all teams in the FBS and
allow for increased competition and competitive balance. While this may reduce the
opportunities for some high-school athletes due to a reduction in overall slots, the sport
would benefit from greater conference and out-of-conference competition through increased
parity. Still, the cost to the school must be further researched as this reduction in scholarships
may lead to an increase in recruiting expenditures as the competition for top-rated recruits
intensifies.
Further, it is recommended that the NCAA investigate the possibility of imposing revenue
minimums as part of their classification process. Namely, this effort would require programs
with revenues below a predetermined benchmark to move to a lower classification of
competition where they may be more competitive (both fiscally and on the field). The current
fiscal model of the sport cannot sustain and support the 120 schools claiming FBS status –
with or without the BCS. The reduction in FBS teams could also help to increase
competitive balance among the remaining teams and potentially lead to increased revenue
across all teams in college football.
The current study concludes that the long-term sustainability of many programs is in
serious jeopardy unless they can find alternative avenues to generate funds. College football
should not be a liability to schools and to athletic programs that are constantly playing catch-
up and trying to compete on an uneven playing field. Further research is necessary to explore
368 The Great Divide: Examining Football Revenue among FBS Schools

an economic model that can provide competitive balance and consistent profitability for all
programs. Further research should seek to find an economic model that provides alternative
revenue streams for sustainability. Efficiency models should be explored to help athletic
departments find more effective and efficient methods of operating. Specifically, the impact
of stadium size and game day expenditures should be explored. Athletic departments,
specifically those who do not sell out their stadiums, may benefit from reducing capacity by
using branded tarps to cover seats. While this leads to reduced capacity, the additional
advertising revenue may offset the lost ticket sales. These self-studies may help to uncover
lost or untapped revenue streams for ailing departments.
Future studies should investigate television contracts and new forms of media as
alternative avenues for teams to help increase funding and revenue. Finally, the impact of
reduced scholarships on teams and the student athlete should be explored, as a greater
understanding of the impact on the depth of teams, the quality of competition, and the well-
being of the student athlete is necessary before these recommendations can move forward.
The financial and competitive strain that revenue-stratification can pose on all
conferences is clearly illustrated in this study. The growth of the sport should be an
opportunity for all schools in all conferences to re-position themselves for success and
prosperity. For this to occur, however, athletic administrators must prioritize sustainability
and competition. Further, they must seek ways to maximize both through additional,
alternative streams of revenue. Administrators must ask themselves if the current system is
fair and just. The challenge for administrators and coaches, then, is to build a competitive
and marketable team that can grow within the system, or implement policy to help alleviate
the ills of stratification and restore balance to the sport.

REFERENCES
1. Fulks, D. L., 2004-2009 NCAA Revenues and Expenses of Division I Intercollegiate Athletics Programs
Report, National Collegiate Athletic Association, Indianapolis, IN., 2010.
2. Faure, C. E., and Cranor, C., Pay for Slay: An Examination of the Repercussions of the Big Money Game on
the Little Guy in College Football, Journal of Issues in Intercollegiate Athletics, 2010, 3, 194-210.
3. Maxcy, J. G., The 1997 Restructuring of the NCAA: A Transactions Cost Explanation, in Fitzel, J. and Fort,
R., eds., Economics of College Sport, Praeger Publishers, Westport, CT., 2004, 11-35.
4. Sutter, D. and Winkler, S., NCAA Scholarship Limits and Competitive Balance in College Football, Journal
of Sports Economics, 2003, 4, 3-18.
5. BCS Background., Retrieved from Bowl Championship Series: http://www.bcsfootball.org/news/
story?id=4809699, 2012.
6. Dumond, J. M., Lynch, A. K. and Platania, J., An Economic Model of the College Football Recruiting
Process, Journal of Sports Economics, 2008, 9(1), 67-87.
7. Smith, M., The BCS’ Big Split. Retrieved from Sports Business Journal:
http://www.sportsbusinessdaily.com/Journal/Issues/2010/01/20100125/This-Weeks-News/The-BCS-Big-
Split.aspx, 2010.
8. SBJ: BCS Payouts Grow Along With Big Shares for Big Six Conferences. Retrieved 2011, from Sporting
News: http://aol.sportingnews.com/ncaa-football/story/2011-01-24/sbj-bcs-payouts-grow-along-with-big-
shares-for-big-six-conferences, 2011.
9. Groza, M. D., NCAA Conference Realignment and Football Game Day Attendance, Managerial and
Decision Economics, 2010, 31, 517-529.
10. Padilla, A. and Baumer, D., Big-time College Sports: Management and Economic Issues, Journal of Sport
and Social Issues, 1994, 18(2), 123-143.
11. Dittmore, S. W. and Crow, C. M., The Influence of the Bowl Championship Series on Competitive Balance
in College Football, Journal of Sport Administration and Supervision, 2010, 2(1), 7-19.
International Journal of Sports Science & Coaching Volume 7 · Number 2 · 2012 369

12. Eckard, E. W., The NCAA Cartel and Competitive Balance in College Football, Review of Industrial
Organization, 1998, 13, 347-369.
13. Fox, D., Campus Stadiums Key for FAU, UNT, Retrieved from Rivals.com: http://www.rivals.com/
content.asp?cid=1241789, 2011.
14. Frank, S., FAU Trustees Approve $44.6 Million Loan for Football Stadium Construction, Retrieved from The
Palm Beach Post: http://www.palmbeachpost.com/sports/owls/fau-trustees-approve-44-6-million-loan-for-
815586.html, 2010.
15. Brady, E., Upton, J. and Berkowitz, S., Salaries for College Football Coaches Back on Rise, Retrieved from
USA Today: http://www.usatoday.com/sports/college/football/story/2011-11-17/cover-college-football-
coaches-salaries-rise/51242232/1, 2011.
16. Fulks, D. L., Revenues and Expenses of Division I and II Intercollegiate Athletics Programs: Financial
Trends and Relationships-2001, National Collegiate Athletic Association, Indianapolis, IN., 2002.
17. Jessop, A., Retrieved from The Business of College Sports: http://businessofcollegesports.com, 2012
18. Ranking Index, Retrieved from Rivals: http://www.rivals.com, 2011.
19. Brooker, G. and Klastorin, T., To The Victors Belong the Spoils? College Athletics and Alumni Giving,
Social Science Quarterly, 1981, 62, 744-750.
20. McCormick, R. E. and Tinsley, M., Athletics vs. Academics, Center for Policy Studies, College of Commerce
and Industry, Clemson University, Clemson, SC, 1986.
21. Daughtrey, C. and Stotlar, D., Donations: Are They Affected By A Football Championship?, Sport Marketing
Quarterly, 2000, 9(4), 185-193.
22. Baade, R. A. and Sundberg, J. O., What Determines Alumni Generosity?, Economics of Education Review,
1996, 15(1), 75-81.
23. Rhoads, T. A. and Gerking, S., Educational Contributions, Academic Quality, and Athletic Success,
Contemporary Economic Policy, 2000, 18(2), 248-258.
24. Longhorns Now Have Texas-Sized Jumbotron, Retrieved from NBC Sports:
http://nbcsports.msnbc.com/id/14530698, 2006.
25. Jones, A., UA Stadium Expansion Cheaper than Expected, Retrieved from Tuscaloosa News:
http://www.tuscaloosanews.com/article/20090417/NEWS/904169969, 2009.
26. Leonard, J. M., The Geography of Visitor Attendance at College Football Games, Journal of Sport Behavior,
2005, 28, 231-252.
27. Price, D. I. and Sen, K. C., The Demand for Game Day Attendance in College Football: An Analysis of the
1997 1-A Season, Managerial And Decision Economics, 2003, 2, 35-46.
28. Games, P. and Howell, J., Pairwise Multiple Comparison Procedures with Unequal N’s and/or Variance: A
Monte Carlo Study, Journal of Educational and Behavioral Statistics, 1976, 1(2), 113-125.
29. Jaccard, J., Becker, M. and Wood, G., Pairwise Multiple Comparison Procedures: A Review, Psychological
Bulletin, 1984, 96 (3), 589-596.
30. Sullivan, J., Riccio, C. and Reynolds, C., Variations in Students’ School- and Teacher-Related Attitudes
across Gender, Ethnicity, and Age, Journal of Instructional Psychology, 2008, 35(3), 296-305.
Copyright of International Journal of Sports Science & Coaching is the property of Multi-Science Publishing
Co Ltd and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the
copyright holder's express written permission. However, users may print, download, or email articles for
individual use.