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College Sports

Behind the numbers: Where MAC athletic departments rank in spending, profit

Danielle Guerra - dguerra@shawmedia.com                                          
Northern Illinois University head coach Rod Carey calls a play during the first spring practice in the Chessick Center on Tuesday,March 3, 2015.
Danielle Guerra - dguerra@shawmedia.com Northern Illinois University head coach Rod Carey calls a play during the first spring practice in the Chessick Center on Tuesday,March 3, 2015.

While the Mid-American Conference sits in the same general geographic area as the Big Ten - and its football teams have scored wins over big brother in recent years - that is where the comparisons end between the haves and have-nots of college athletics.

The University of Michigan brought in nearly $158 million in athletic revenue in 2013-14, $64.6 million of which was profit. Ohio State sold $47 million in football tickets. All of those numbers are detailed in our Big Ten financial rankings.

In the MAC, however, Akron's $32.7 million in athletics revenue leads the way and $1.5 million in football ticket sales would have been tops in the conference.

This all according to 2013-14 financial data from forms sent from the schools to the NCAA, acquired via FOIA requests.

A great place to compare that data to data from the past five years is here.

Different numbers matter in the MAC, big donors are rare and departments rely on things like guarantees for playing away games at Power 5 schools.

The MAC has a TV deal, but its schools brought in between $930,000 and $2.6 million in NCAA/bowl/conference money each last school year.

Both student fees and the direct institutional support, then, make a huge difference when it comes to the bottom line.

Athletic department total operating revenue

1. Akron - $32,774,266

2. Buffalo - $31,277,980

3. Eastern Michigan - $30,081,523

4. Miami - $29,393,128

5. Central Michigan - $29,281,777

6. Western Michigan - $28,927,072

7. Ohio - $27,720,000

8. NIU - $27,007,053

9. Kent State - $24,932,694

10. Bowling Green - $23,469,664

11. Ball State - $23,424,359

12. Toledo - $22,559,175

Athletic department profit (revenue minus expenses):

1. NIU - $876,938

2. Akron - $723,580

3. Miami - $680,662

4. Ohio - $421,281

5. Bowling Green - $162,699

6. Buffalo - $143,831

7. (tie) Eastern Michigan, Central Michigan - $0

9. Kent State - (-)$49,594

10. Ball State - (-)$1,821,091

11. Western Michigan - (-)$1,186,692

12. Toledo - (-)$3,745,156

Coaches pay

The MAC has long been a breeding ground for young coaches looking to establish themselves. Western Michigan's P.J. Fleck, the former Kaneland/NIU star, is a great example. At age 34, he is already preparing for his third season as Western Michigan's head coach.

Fleck is only a year younger than Toledo's Matt Campbell.

The point being, the MAC is a stepping stone. But it also can cost universities when coaches leave, they have to search for and replace a coach, then it happens again.

Northern Illinois, for example, had a run where it had four different coaches in a two-year span. Jerry Kill left for Minnesota in December 2010, Tom Matukewicz was the interim coach for the Humanitarian Bowl, Dave Doeren became head coach and left for N.C. State and then Rod Carey took over in December 2012.

Here are the rankings of what MAC coaches made in 2013-14, keeping in mind this is a total of what the school paid to the position over the financial year, meaning some of the top spots are partially due to coaching changes.

This is also the reason when, when larger schools such as DePaul come looking, guys like Buffalo coach Bobby Hurley are certain to listen.

Football coach salaries, benefits, bonuses paid by university

1. Don Treadwell (fired)/interim Mike Bath/Chuck Martin, Miami - $684,284

2. Matt Campbell, Toledo - $635,701

3. Pete Lembo, Ball State - $562,377

4. Terry Bowden, Akron - $554,523

5. Frank Solich, Ohio - $549,639

6. Dave Clawson (hired by Wake Forest)/Dino Babers, Bowling Green - $545,762

7. P.J. Fleck, Western Michigan - $536,854

8. Rod Carey, NIU - $469,700

9. Dan Enos (left to become Arkansas OC), Central Michigan - $458,013

10. Jeff Quinn, Buffalo - $398,317

11. Paul Haynes, Kent State - $388,226

12. Ron English (fired for recorded rant)/Chris Creighton Eastern Michigan - $305,444

Football asst. coach salaries, benefits, bonuses paid by university

1. Central Michigan - $1,385,645

2. Western Michigan - $1,285,639

3. Bowling Green - $1,263,630

4. Ohio - $1,199,699

5. Akron - $1,195,992

6. Miami - $1,173,066

7. Toledo - $1,172,959

8. Ball State - $1,135,764

9. NIU - $1,115,794

10. Eastern Michigan - $1,054,528

11. Buffalo - $1,003,679

12. Kent State - $750,134

Men's basketball coach salaries, benefits, bonuses paid by university

1. Jim Christian, Ohio (left for Boston College in April 2014)/Saul Phillips - $751,934

2. Keith Dambrot, Akron - $660,208

3. Todd Kowalczyk, Toledo - $647,741

4. Steve Hawkins, Western Michigan - $544,659

5. Keno Davis, Central Michigan - $383,562

6. James Whitford, Ball State - $344,360

7. John Cooper, Miami - $339,837

8. Louis Orr (fired)/Chris Jans, Bowling Green - $338,146

9. Bobby Hurley, Buffalo - $319,264

10. Mark Montgomery, NIU - $316,140

11. Rob Murphy, Eastern Michigan - $306,476

12. Rob Senderoff, Kent State - $271,511

Women's basketball coach salaries

1. Tricia Cullop, Toledo - $429,314

2. Jodi Kest, Akron - $326,864

3. Sue Guevara, Central Michigan - $289,994

4. Cleve Wright, Miami - $278,856

5. Shane Clipfell, Western Michigan - $272,404

6. Tory Verdi, Eastern Michigan - $242,590

7. Brady Sallee, Ball State - $224,966

8. Jennifer Roos, Bowling Green - $216,558

9. Bob Boldon, Ohio - $212,764

10. Felicia Legette-Jack, Buffalo - $177,589

11. Danielle O'Banion, Kent State - $171,896

12. Kathi Bennett, NIU - $138,372

Profit programs

Most of the Power 5 athletic programs rely on the football and basketball programs to support the rest of the athletic department. In the MAC, however, those margins are slimmer. The football teams simply don't make as much money. In fact, just two claimed "excess" in the 2013-14 season.

Football team profit (revenue minus expenses):

1. Ball State - $4,529,327

2. Ohio - $714,344

3. (tie) Miami, Buffalo - $0

5. Eastern Michigan - (-)$750,648

6. Central Michigan - (-)2,095,097

7. Kent State - (-)$2,370,456

8. Bowling Green - (-)$2,572,974

9. Western Michigan - (-)$3,789,684

10. NIU - (-)3,826,544

11. Toledo - (-)$4,467,586

12. Akron - (-)$4,816,530

Men's basketball profit (revenue minus expenses):

1. Ball State - $1,464,456

2. Ohio - $438,867

3. Eastern Michigan - $217,903

4. (tie) Miami, Buffalo - $0

6. Bowling Green - (-)$740,326

7. NIU - (-)$1,219,214

8. Toledo - (-)$1,248,995

9. Western Michigan - (-)$1,330,720

10. Central Michigan - (-)$1,342,171

11. Kent State - (-)$1,374,591

12. Akron - (-)4,816,530

Other revenue sources

One of the revenue sources that gets plenty of attention in MAC football is the "guarantee." Teams get paid to go on the road and be an opponent for a Power 5 school.

The problem comes in when the MAC team goes there and wins. It seems to make it less likely for the team to get invited back (and paid) in the future.

Football guarantees (payments for away games)

1. Central Michigan - $2,625,000

2. Western Michigan - $1,950,000

3. Kent State - $1,905,000

4. Miami - $1,575,000

5. NIU - $1,440,000

6. Eastern Michigan - $1,425,000

7. Buffalo - $1,150,000

8. Akron - $1,100,000

9. Toledo - $1,100,000

10. Bowling Green - $1,000,000

11. Ball State - $825,620

12. Ohio - $500,000

TV money

Then, there's the MAC TV contract. The Chicago Tribune outlined the secrecy behind the numbers of the new contract in a report last week. That means it will be interesting next year, when the numbers are filed, how much they change. But, for now, here is what was paid to each school for bowl shares, etc, in 2013-14.

Programs brought in a similar amount each year in donor contributions.

NCAA/conference distributions (bowl, tournament, conference TV, etc.)

1. Akron - $2,538,667

2. NIU - $2,527,832

3. Buffalo - $2,505,034

4. Eastern Michigan - $2,250,161

5. Ohio - $2,054,820

6. Bowling Green - $1,957,702

7. Ball State - $1,899,703

8. Western Michigan - $1,871,943

9. Toledo - $1,312,119

10. Miami - $1,291,660

11. Kent State - $1,061,798

12. Central Michigan - $932,564

Athletic donor contributions

1. Toledo - $2,581,272

2. Ohio - $2,337,759

3. Akron - $2,076,146

4. NIU - $1,724,111

5. Miami - $1,615,928

6. Bowling Green - $1,452,756

7. Central Michigan - $1,253,633

8. Kent State - $968,748

9. Ball State - $697,601

10. Western Michigan - $618,220

11. Buffalo - $600,252

12. Eastern Michigan - $523,811

The vague Direct Institutional Support

Of the $32.8 million in Akron's MAC-leading athletics profit, there is one number that stands out: $22.7 million in Direct Institutional Support.

The NCAA form tells schools to "Include value of institutional resources for the current operations of intercollegiate athletics, as well as all unrestricted funds allocated to the athletics department by the university (e.g., state funds, tuition, tuition waivers and transfers)."

Clear, right?

It's clear each school has a different philosophy on the category, but Deadspin seems to have one of the best explanations of what the category is, essentially saying a big part of it is the difference between the price of paying tuition and room and board for an athlete and the cost to the athletic department for the same thing.

So, as an example, the athletic department says it is paying $35,000 of grant-in-aid for an athlete to attend school and it actually costs the school $15,000 for the same thing, which is taken from the athletic department budget. Then $20,000 would be attributed to "Direct Institutional Support."

Direct Institutional support

1. Akron - $22,654,017

2. Central Michigan - $21,605,613

3. Eastern Michigan - $17,136,124

4. Western Michigan - $16,863,785

5. Buffalo - $13,581,712

6. NIU - $5,903,906

7. Miami - $5,349,805

8. Kent State - $4,937,306

9. Ball State - $4,759,768

10. (tie) Toledo, Ohio, Bowling Green - $0

Student fees still large

While most Big Ten schools are at the point in revenue that they do not require student fees to pay for athletics, the MAC is not there.

Only three schools don't charge fees. The rest take money, essentially one category that is part of the tuition fee for any student at the university, and sends it to athletics to pay for the programs. Here is how much each school collects and sends to the athletic department.

Athletic student fees collected

1. Ohio - $16,046,712

2. Miami - $15,735,046

3. Kent State - $13,982,690

4. Bowling Green - $12,718,603

5. Ball State - $11,237,600

6. Toledo - $10,504,815

8. NIU - $9,101,312

8. Buffalo - $8,168,727

9. Eastern Michigan - $1,572,843

10. (tie) Western Michigan, Central Michigan, Akron - $0

Tickets don't raise big money

One issue MAC schools continue to have, especially as they play mid-week games for TV purposes later in the year, is attendance and ticket revenue. They don't make a ton here, though football and men's basketball remain the big moneymakers at most schools.

Miami, though, makes more in ice hockey ($581,510) tickets than any other sport.

Football ticket sales

1. Bowling Green - $1,471,323

2. Akron - $1,029,547

3. NIU - $1,004,655

4. Buffalo - $902,461

5. Western Michigan - $895,541

6. Ohio - $837,317

7. Toledo - $824,965

8. Ball State - $775,432

9. Central Michigan - $499,226

10. Miami - $459,511

11. Kent State - $224,751

12. Eastern Michigan - $79,920

Men's basketball ticket sales

1. Ohio - $464,594

2. Akron - $405,790

3. Toledo - $391,229

4. Western Michigan - $219,186

5. Ball State - $210,389

6. Buffalo - $185,176

7. Bowling Green - $143,352

8. Kent State - $141,373

9. Miami - $122,106

10. NIU - $71,602

11. Central Michigan - $56,394

12. Eastern Michigan - $51,889

Spending on recruiting

The Big Ten numbers showed that spending on recruiting didn't necessarily reflect on how successful a program would be. With the rise of recruiting film and the accessibility of recruits on social media, any coach can recruit pretty much any athlete at any time.

But, it is telling when a program like Eastern Michigan is spending just $80,000 on football recruiting while three schools are spending nearly three times as much.

Football recruiting spending

1. Toledo - $242,496

2. Ohio - $239,451

3. Western Michigan - $227,014

4. Central Michigan - $199,220

5. Buffalo - $164,403

6. NIU - $158,737

7. Akron - $152,866

8. Ball State - $120,394

9. Miami - $105,561

10. Kent State - $97,760

11. Bowling Green - $84,553

12. Eastern Michigan - $80,625

Men's basketball recruiting spending

1. Buffalo - $144,257

2. Toledo - $136,126

3. Miami - $95,013

4. Ohio - $94,231

5. Ball State - $82,869

6. Akron - $78,635

7. Kent State - $76,828

8. Central Michigan - $76,071

9. Bowling Green - $63,389

10. Eastern Michigan - $49,333

11. Western Michigan - $41,684

12. NIU - $31,390

Individual programs to read about:

Ohio State

Texas

Georgia

Iowa

Florida State

LSU

Oregon

Minnesota

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