Top 20 College Football Programs That Are Most Profitable

After expenses, the 20 most successful college football programs earned an incredible $925 million. With nine schools among the top 20, the SEC is the most successful conference in terms of both field play and balance sheet. There are 11 other profitable programs: four from the Big Ten and three from Pac-12. Two of the Big-12 schools are represented as well as one from ACC. Here is the complete list.

Texas - $92 Million

Tennessee - $70 million

LSU - $58 Million

Michigan - $56 Million

Notre Dame - $54 million

Georgia - $50 Million

Ohio State - $50 Million

Oklahoma - $48 million

Auburn - $47 Million

Alabama - $46 Million

Oregon - $40 million

Florida State - $39 Million

Arkansas - $38 Million

Washington - $38 Million

Florida - $37 Million

Texas A&M University - $37 Million

Penn State - $36 million

Michigan State - $32 Million

USC - $29 Million

South Carolina - $28 Million

The bottom line is not affected by wins

Texas, despite winning only five games last year, is the most profitable football team. Clemson, on the other hand, won 14 games and participated in the National Championship but it is not among the 20 most profitable football teams.

Television revenue is the reason Texas makes the largest profit after expenses. The University of Texas has the Longhorn Network, which broadcasts Texas' games. Each of the most lucrative conferences, the SEC and Big Ten, have their own television networks. Notre Dame's football team also benefits from television revenue, since the Fighting Irish have an exclusive deal to broadcast their games on NBC.

Other schools that are extremely profitable, such as Michigan and Tennessee, supplement television revenues by selling tickets in their huge stadiums. Michigan Stadium, the Wolverines' home field, seats over 107,000 fans. Neyland Stadium, the Volunteers' old ground, has just over 102,000.

Should student-athletes get paid if these lucrative football programs are so lucrative?

Unpaid student-athletes are the real problem. This is the elephant in the room. Fans and media are putting pressure on the NCAA for compensation of football and men's basketball athletes due to these huge profits. Despite public support for student-athletes being paid, even the most successful football programs in the country struggle to make ends meet.

This is because football and to a lesser degree, men's basketball, subsidize all other sports that do not generate revenue. Schools would need to reduce other revenue sports in order to pay student-athletes.

Pac-12 breakout star. Carlos Strickland.

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