Thursday Nov 23

Double Majoring: Diversifying Success in College Sports

As we enter the crossroads of college sports in which the football regular season winds down while the hoops season kicks off, the vast majority of fans from the six major conferences are either pinning all their hopes on a respectable bowl victory or looking far ahead to the madness of March. Success is more often than not an either/or proposition when it comes to the distinct worlds of these two wildly popular pastimes. In fact, only seven schools have ever won a title in both sports (Michigan St, Florida, Ohio St, Michigan, UCLA, Maryland, and Syracuse) and only one (Florida during that magical ’06-’08 run) has even captured both in the last generation. Historically, you’re either a football school or a basketball school. You have your Dukes and Kentuckys or your Nebraskas and Penn States. With all that being said, it seems like more and more colleges are diversifying. For instance, there’s a very solid chance that Michigan St, Ohio St, Wisconsin, Virginia Tech, Florida and Missouri will all finish with a top 25 ranking in both sports. Furthermore, one could make a list encompassing Tennessee, Boston College, Notre Dame, Pitt, USC, Oklahoma, Oklahoma St, LSU, Texas, West Virginia, Georgia Tech, Texas A&M and BYU that have enjoyed a moderate level of dual success in recent years.

However, does this success translate to the hearts and wallets of the fans?
Looking at school revenues over the past year across the board, it was clear that football is king. Despite football’s shorter season and with it, far less home games to sell tickets for, only Duke, Villanova, Georgetown, and Louisville raked in more money with their hoops programs among big six schools (Though Gtown and Nova play their football at the subdivision level). Even basketball powerhouses like Syracuse ($16.8 million in revenue in hoops to $17.1 in football), Kansas ($15.7 to $17.7) and Kentucky ($16.8 to $31.9) have their relative revenues in football’s favor. Among historically football-fueled schools that had made great strides in their basketball programs as of late it wasn’t even close (Ohio St enjoyed revenues of $16 million in hoops to a whopping $63.7 million in football while Florida, with all their recent success in basketball, brought in only $10 million to a ridiculous $68 million in football.) And, to nobody’s surprise, Nebraska’s ratio was $6.3/$55 while USC’s was $3.8/$35.

Luckily, as a fan without a true horse in the race or a bottom line to worry about, I don't have to chose.  Most everyone else can take comfort in that there's always next year, or that March is just around the corner, or maybe, if you're lucky, both.


0 # 2010-11-12 17:27
Wow, that is amazing to me that a school like Kentucky, with all the buzz they generate in basketball, still makes almost twice as much $ with their football program. I didn't see any mention of UNC here but i assume they make more $ with football too, which is equally dumbfounding. Football really is taking over the world. Just a shame they cant figure out how to create a postseason that can hold a candle to what college basketball has going for it.
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0 # 2010-11-14 17:21
'Cuse is going to get a bowl this year and I could give a shit. final four or bust!
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