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USA Today Releases Finances Database, Including FCS Schools

One of the best pieces of data reporting, in regards to NCAA athletics, comes from USA Today Sports and a group of lawyers and reporters.

It's called the NCAA Athletics Spending database, which details the amount of revenue and spending that every public school makes on athletics.  (By law, every public or partial-public school needs to disclose this information.)

It also computes the amount that each school receives in "subsidy", which is a combination of institutional support (a direct payment from the school to the athletic department), student fees (fees included in tuition that end up going to the athletic department), and taxpayer money.

The full database is here, which is interesting in and of itself, but I wanted to break out the database to only include those schools with FCS football programs.  That's what I've done below.




First of all, some interesting facts about the numbers.

  • The average revenue and spending of athletic departments with FCS football is close to $15 million.  The highest, by far, was James Madison (a little more than $43 million of revenues and expenses) and the lowest was Mississippi Valley State (under $4 million of revenues and expenses).
  • The average subsidy of these athletics departments with FCS football is almost $11 million, with 70% of the revenues coming from the USA Today's definition of "subsidy".  Again, James Madison topped the list in terms of raw numbers ($35.75 million) and Mississippi Valley State was last ($2.17 million).  In terms of percentage, Central Connecticut State (87.97%) is the highest, and VMI was the lowest (31.80%).
  • A little bit over 1/3 of the FCS schools beat the average ot $15.3 million, including every school from the CAA that disclosed.  Nine of the twelve schools from the CAA averaged more than $15.3 million, with private schools Villanova, Elon and Richmond, who weren't required to disclose their numbers.  The lowest school in the CAA was Albany, who still had expenses and revenues of over $19 million.
  • Every school but one in the SWAC had revenues and expenses nearly $5 million under the FCS average.  Alabama State (approximately $14 million) looked a lot more like the funding of an FCS playoff team, with Prairie View ($10.8 million) a distant second.  Of the twelve FCS programs funding football teams with budgets of less than $10 million, seven were from the SWAC (Texas Southern, Alabama A&M, Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Jackson State, Alcorn State, Grambling State, Mississippi Valley State), three were from the MEAC (South Carolina State, Morgan State, Savannah State), one was from the Ohio Valley (UT-Martin), and the last one was from the Southland (Nicholls).
  • The spending gaps between the top and bottom of most conferences are fairly large.  In the Big Sky, UC Davis ($31 million) and Southern Utah ($10 million) illustrate the significant gaps between the tops and bottoms of individual conferences.  Other large gaps exist in the Big South (Coastal Carolina $23 million, VMI $12 million), the Missouri Valley (Southern Illinois, $21 million, Western Illinois $12 million) and the Southland (Lamar $16 million, Nicholls $8 million).
  • Only six schools had subsidies less than half of the total expenses of the department.  The lucky six are some perennial playoff schools that you might expect to see here: North Dakota State (38.6), Montana (41.94), and Northern Iowa (49.89).  The other three are Southern of the SWAC (49.95), VMI of the SoCon (31.80), and McNeese State of the Southland (46.95).
AVG SUBSIDY:$10,810,141
AVG REVENUE:$15,347,604
AVG EXPENSE:$15,284,048
AVG RATIO:69.73613333

FCS Athletics Spending Data - Sorted by Subsidy


FCS Athletics Spending Data - Sorted by Revenues


FCS Athletics Spending Data - Sorted by Expenses


FCS Athletics Spending Data - Sorted by Percent Subsidy

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