Big is good in this state. Bigger is better still. A short walk away is a 20,000-square-foot weight room and an equally recruiting-friendly, state-of-the-art locker room complete with gaming stations and a nutrition bar. Brown, himself, is one of the highest-paid coaches in his sport — at better than $5 million a year, pulling down more than four NCAA Division I schools spend on their entire athletics program.
The thing you know at the University of Texas, he says, is that youre going to be able to have the best of the best and youre going to have it on a yearly basis. … I wouldnt swap with anybody.
Football merely fronts the largesse. In the past three years, USA TODAY Sports annual analysis of college athletics finances shows, no college athletics program has out-earned or outspent the colossus that is Texas.
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The Longhorns took in a little more than $150 million in 2010-11, the most recent year for which public schools filings with the NCAA are available. That outdistanced second-place Ohio State by $18.5 million. The Horns outlay for football and 19 other varsity sports was $133.7 million, almost $11.5 million more than Ohio State put into its 36 teams.
Texas program is one of only 22 across Division I that operate in the black — it generated enough revenue to cover athletics expenses — an increasingly touchy issue in times of shrinking state allocations and economic stress in higher education. Moreover, the Longhorns kicked $6 million back to the schools academic side a year ago. For five years, half of the take from their new statewide, 24-hour cable television venture, the Longhorn Network, is earmarked for academics.
The schools unabashed athletics growth comes, however, as the NCAA continues to preach fiscal temperance, particularly to schools spending beyond their means in the chase for athletics success. Their bar — for coaches salaries, for cushy facilities — is ever higher.
And the Longhorns underscore a long and growing criticism of major-college athletics, that its more big business than ancillary educational activity. Ten programs, all anchored by football, made or spent better than $100 million a year ago, USA TODAY Sports findings show. Nearly two dozen topped $80 million on one side of the ledger or both.
Spending across 227 public schools in the NCAAs Division I from which USA TODAY Sports obtained information rose by $267 million from a year earlier.
Theres nothing to stop Texas or other very successful financial enterprises with these gigantic television contracts from continuing to grow, grow, grow because their revenues match their expenditures, says former Arizona President Peter Likins, who several years ago headed a high-level NCAA panel that examined the cost of college athletics. But the disconnect between whats happening in athletics and whats happening elsewhere in the same universities creates stress, and … the stresses will create a breakdown.