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HCA: The money involved in WSU football

A detailed look at the money that goes into Cougar Football

WSU Athletic Communications

We knew WSU spent tens of millions of dollars on its football program each year, but thanks to some ESPN reporting, we now have a better idea of where that money comes from and what it's used for.

The network filed information requests, obtaining revenue and expense data for a number of colleges. Among other things, it shows how much each school spends on recruiting, marketing and more. The full report, with data from 2008-2012 can be found here. Before we get to WSU's numbers, here are the notes from ESPN on the data:

Our database displays only select categories, so adding the numbers shown here won't equal the figures listed for total revenues and expenses for each athletic department.

The information comes from detailed financial disclosure forms that athletic departments submit annually to the NCAA and federal government. ESPN requested the forms from all 120 Division I colleges in the Football Bowl Subdivision under state and federal public records laws. Private colleges declined to release their forms. In those cases, ESPN filled in some of the blanks using financial information that public and private schools are required to provide to the U.S. Department of Education Office of Postsecondary Education or the IRS.

2012 2011 2010 2009 2008
Ticket sales $6,547,079 $5,101,745 $5,181,093 $5,981,037 $6,751,773
Student fees $1,123,849 $1,608,068 $1,862,522 $1,870,506 $1,115,799
Money from road opponents $1,417,138 $1,285,022 $2,554,067 $1,180,602 $2,194,042
Contributions and donations $7,855,037 $7,108,305 $6,754,924 $7,726,529 $7,512,105
Payments to coaches/staff from third party $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
University subsidy $6,055,321 $7,678,042 $5,367,245 $5,881,784 $5,596,586
NCAA, conferences $12,832,858 $8,932,571 $8,102,022 $7,952,526 $8,940,908
Media rights $0 $120,473 $562,098 $460,202 $405,790
Licensing, royalties, ads, sponsorships $3,935,817 $3,905,426 $3,922,832 $2,549,838 $2,175,166
Total operating revenues $42,729,548 $39,983,482 $39,352,096 $38,293,755 $39,621,060
Tuition, aid for student athletes $8,135,099 $7,238,416 $6,646,292 $6,448,155 $5,812,449
Money paid to visiting teams $1,752,710 $1,401,434 $1,527,988 $1,723,335 $1,549,662
Coaches' salaries, benefits from the university $7,803,825 $6,572,635 $5,847,246 $6,107,198 $5,909,349
Staff and admin salaries/benefits $8,246,492 $6,501,238 $5,911,920 $5,762,698 $5,376,756
Recruiting $729,984 $611,759 $594,048 $569,629 $774,890
Team travel $3,083,270 $2,963,813 $2,483,912 $2,826,175 $2,525,321
Game day expenses $1,160,971 $1,259,876 $1,040,451 $1,165,035 $1,138,804
Fund raising, marketing $2,544,530 $1,814,187 $1,846,894 $2,160,260 $2,207,387
Medical expenses, insurance $1,008,898 $745,702 $709,475 $592,683 $688,164
Total operating expenses $47,962,255 $40,617,093 $38,045,842 $38,079,471 $36,495,847

There is a lot to digest here, but here are a few things which stood out to me.

  • I'm not sure what to think about the $0 figures for third party payments and 2012 media rights. I was under the impression that Mike Leach and Paul Wulff received supplemented income from Nike and for doing radio shows. Not sure why that wouldn't count as third party, but who knows. As for the media rights, I'm assuming the change comes from the new Pac-12 deal and whatever would have come from media rights in previous years was now lumped into the conference payout.
  • As you'll notice, WSU doesn't spend very much on recruiting. According to Land Grant Holy Land, WSU spent the least of any BCS school on recruiting.
  • You can see the Bill Moos impact on the fund raising budget as that jumped significantly last year.
  • Donations are up over $1 million since Moos took over, but are still among the lowest for BCS schools.
  • Not only do Leach and his assistants make more than Wulff and his, but the off the field staff budget increased significantly as well. All told, the new coaching and off field staff made close to $3 million more than the group in 2011.
  • That extra cost, however, was nearly cut in half by the considerable boost in ticket sales. The Martin Stadium addition and Oregon Seattle game played a part of that, but Leach was a big reason for the spike.
  • Despite being in the red overall, there was some significant progress in 2012. Ticket sales were up, donations were up, conference revenue was up. Now WSU just needs to continue that trend.


Which college football team gets the most bang for their recruiting buck? - Land-Grant Holy Land
So who is spending the least on recruiting? The bottom of the barrel, predictably, is dominated by non-BCS leagues who don't have oodles of money to spend on anything, including recruiting. The bottom spender was Louisiana-Monroe, who spent a measly $205,978 in 2012. The lowest current BCS league spender was Washington State, at $729,984, although Rutgers is spending less (that may not continue once the Scarlet Knights join the Big Ten).


Brock Motum played his first summer league game on Sunday, scoring six points in seven minutes of action.


Olynyk Shines in Professional Debut - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather
Former WSU Cougar, Brock Motum scored six points for the Philadelphia 76ers in his NBA Summer League debut. The Sixers take on the Indiana Pacers Monday at 10am.