Alabama Football: The Tide is near the top in NCAA revenues and expenses

(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /

Alabama football is the primary driver of athletics revenue and expenses for the University of Alabama. See how the Tide compares to other top programs.

It is no secret that money fuels an arms race in the upper echelons of college football. Alabama football both makes and spends a lot of money. Over the past few decades, the top programs can afford to offer their athletes considerable amenities. Far beyond essentials, some athletic facility components, like Dabo’s indoor slide at Clemson, are indulgences.

This past week the Crimson Tide unveiled a 25,000 square foot Sports and Nutrition facility. Detractors claimed the latest Crimson Tide toy was another example of excessive college football spending – all in the pursuit of winning.

Our response is given two things, the new facility is a wise investment. No matter how much revenue comes in, the athletes cannot be paid. Whether they should be or not is an unresolved debate. So, with all that money, schools should take care of them in the best possible manner. Great medical, training, nutritional and academic support facilities are expensive. Schools who can afford the best should provide the best. Because of Alabama football, the University of Alabama can do so.

Take a look at this and be proud it is on the University of Alabama campus.

The athletic $$$ by school

The NCAA publishes an annual athletics finances report and it is published by USA Today.

The report shows revenue and expenses for 2016-17 for FBS/Division 1 schools. Not surprisingly, the top 48 schools in total revenue are Power Five schools. We list the top 15 plus other SEC schools.

1. Texas – $214,830,647;
2. Texas A&M – $211,960,034
3. Ohio State – $185,409,602
4. Michigan – $185,173,187
5. Alabama – $174,307,419
6. Georgia – $157,852,479
7. Oklahoma – $155,238,481
8. Florida – $149,165,475
9. LSU – $147,744,233
10. Auburn – $147,511,034
11. Tennessee – $145,653,191
12. Oregon – $145,417,315
13. Florida State – $144,514,413
14. Penn State – $144,017,055
15. Wisconsin – $143,420,668
16. South Carolina – $136,032,845
17. Kentucky – $130,706,744
19. Arkansas – $129,680,808
24. Ole Miss – $117,834,511
31. Mississippi State – $100,062,237
32. Missouri – $97,848,195

Vanderbilt was not listed but has been reported as having $35 million in 2016-17 revenues.

The University of Alabama topped all SEC schools with $158,646,962 in expenses. The report tracks a category defined as Total Allocated. It is the calculation of how much revenue comes directly from each school, usually through student fees. The number for Alabama was $2,938,948. One reason the Alabama number is so low is University of Alabama Athletics gave over $5 million back to the general school budget.

Alabama football is a financial windfall for the entire school. Not only does its revenue help fund other sports programs, football returns money to be allocated by the University for non-sports activities.

If Alabama football (and other top schools) wants to spend self-generated money on football players, there should be no complaints.

Next: Is Georgia the top dog in the East?

Looking at the revenue numbers, it is clear the huge challenge for Vanderbilt. Given the disparity, it is easy to root for the Dores in football  – except when they play Alabama football, of course.