USA TODAY’s annual “Look Who’s Rolling In Cash List” is out

NCAA athletics is measured not by wins and losses, but by cold hard cash. Every year, USA TODAY is swell enough to post the losers and winners on a big honking list – a Who’s Who of Haves and Have Nots.

Surprise! Texas A&M is still sorry-not-sorry for ditching the Big XII after raking in the year’s biggest haul – $194,388,450. Credit the old SEC money machine, which landed six programs in Duck McScrooge’s Top Ten Cash Cows. On the other side of the spectrum: Alabama A&M, which generated a whopping $2,592,863 of revenue.

Revenue is one thing. Expenses is another (FULL DISCLOSURE: I earned a C in my accounting class). The most expensive athletic program in the nation is the one forking over $10,500 for football lockers.

The Longhorns expenses were reported at $171,394,287 – it’s okay though because Texas earned $16M more than it spent. Go ahead and buy more of those fancypants lockers, Coach Herman.

Coming nowhere near Texas A&M’s revenue or Texas’ expenses was the Group of Five (known as “The Forgotten” around here), because quite frankly we’re one hell of a bargain. Our biggest money maker? Boise State! Nope. Houston! Nah. Try Connecticut, which pulled in $79,229,275. You have to spend money to make money, and the Huskies were good at that, too: $79,211,704 in bills.

Who’s shoveling green and who’s pinching pennies in the Group of Five? Hey, I made this chart:

Conference Most Revenue Biggest Spender Least Revenue Cheapest
AAC UCONN ($79,229,275) UCONN ($79,211,704) E. Carolina ($44,613,084) E. Carolina ($45,814,967)
CUSA Old Dom. ($44,681,935) Old Dom. ($43,998,223) LaTech ($23,388,735) LaTech ($23,102,396)
MAC W. Mich ($37,650,232) W. Mich ($37,643,168) Bowling Green ($22,836,309) Bowling Green ($23,719,835)
MW SD St. ($56,551,028) SD St. ($55,285,535) San Jose St. ($30,875,052) San Jose St. ($30,563,760)
Sun Belt AR St. ($43,102,044) AR St. ($43,102,044) ULM ($14,653,575)* ULM ($14,617,004)
* Sun Belt tallies exclude non-football members UALR and UT-Arlington

God bless Skip Holtz, winning games with that heroically small Louisiana budget. Consider this! LSU’s budget of  $123,952,910 is $60,565,184 more than Louisiana Tech, Louisiana and ULM combined.

On the whole, AAC is the G5 conference that’s clearly investing the most dough – though UCONN is still roughly $90M behind Texas. (Sorry, Mike Aresco, there ain’t no P6). The rest of the G5 seems more or less on a level playing field, though it’s a little surprising (to me) to see newbie Old Dominion making it rain in CUSA.

Yes, yes, some G5 programs receive more subsidies (such as “student athletic fees”) than others. Howl Yes was polite enough to make this list:

Something else to ponder: James Madison of the FCS is pulling G5 bank with $47,442,648 in revenue. Might want to make those guys an offer, Sun Belt.

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