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Washington State football brought in a $21.7 million profit in 2017

Overall revenue for the football program was $41.7 million

NCAA Football: Alamo Bowl-Iowa State vs Washington State Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

We interrupt the Ernie Kent news cycle to bring you some interesting football news: The U.S. Department of Education released FY2018 revenue numbers, and during the 2017 season (the most recent numbers), your Washington State Cougars brought in $41.7 million and turned a $21.7 million profit. Cha-ching!

That number was good for 45th out of 65 power 5 teams (plus Notre Dame). Washington State was 9th among Pac-12 teams, ahead of UCLA, Oregon State and Cal. The Washington Huskies were tops in the Pac-12, bringing in $81.1 million and $42.4 million in profit.

The Texas Longhorns were the revenue leader in all of college football, and not by a little. The Longhorns posted revenues of $141.3 million in 2017. That figure was $14.1 million more than the Georgia Bulldogs, who came in at no. 2. Texas turned in a $101.8 million profit. You do you, Longhorn fans.

So, what does this all tell us? That’s a matter of perspective of course, but to me it was a reminder that the costs to run a P5 football program are immense (also, each school reports numbers differently, so keep that in mind). Each time someone asks why we have to pay Mike Leach millions of dollars each year, point to these numbers. If you were in charge of your department at work and helped bring in $40+ million in one year, you’d be worth millions of dollars too.

This doesn’t even get into the residual impact successful college football programs have on their schools and their communities. That’s a post for another day, but many top college football coaches could claim to be underpaid, given the impact they’ve had on their universities (Nick Saban, for one).

Like it or not, college football is big business. Washington State turned in impressive numbers on their own, but there is more to be done.


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We break down 10 possible candidates who could replace Ernie Kent and use a 1-5 scale to rate how likely it is they’ll become Washington State’s next coach.

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A GRIP ON SPORTS • Washington State made a change in its basketball program leadership yesterday. Bit the $4.2 million artillery shell and fired head coach Ernie Kent. At least when we miss, we miss big. Read on.