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Posted on Tue, May 15, 2012 : 12:28 p.m.

Michigan athletic department spent $111.8 million in 2011, had total revenue of $122.7 million

By Nick Baumgardner

The University of Michigan athletic department spent money to make money in 2011.

According to a USA Today report, Michigan was one of the biggest spenders in America last year. In doing so, it had one of the highest total revenue numbers of any NCAA Division I public school.

Per the report, Michigan spent $111.8 million on athletics a year ago, the third-highest number of any school in the country. The Wolverines also received $122.7 million in total revenue, fifth-best in America.


Eight home football games (and plenty of maize T-shirt sales) helped the University of Michigan athletic department record revenues of $122.7 million in 2011.

Melanie Maxwell |

The $111.8 million spent was a $22.7 million increase from 2010, while the total revenue number was up $15.9 million.

A breakdown of Michigan's revenue and expenses:


  • Rights/Licensing: $46,745,506
  • Ticket sales: $41,688,589
  • Contributions: $27,961,623
  • Other revenue: $6,090,650
  • School funds: $272,684
  • Student fees: $0


  • Coaching staff: $37,754,836
  • Other expenses: $32,822,376
  • Building/Grounds: $24,944,126
  • Scholarships: $16,323,215

Across Washtenaw County, Eastern Michigan had $27.7 million in revenue and $25.9 million in expenses. A majority of its revenue came from subsidies, including school funds ($21.2 million) and student fees ($1.5 million).

Neither of the state's two other Mid-American Conference schools claim revenue from student fees. Western Michigan used $18.6 million in school funds as part of its $25.6 million revenue. Central Michigan used $16.6 million in school funds in its $23.5 million revenue.

Texas spent $133.7 million in 2011, which was $11.3 million more than any other athletic department. The Longhorns also earned more revenue than anyone, bringing home $150.3 million.

Ohio State was No. 2 on the list in both expenses ($122.3 million) and revenue ($131.8 million).

Michigan State had the 14th-highest expenditure ($84 million). Its revenue number was $505,970 higher than its expenses.

Michigan's $27.9 million in contributions was up from the $19.3 million it received in 2010.

The overall budget for Michigan's coaching staff was up $4.5 million from a year ago, as well. The Wolverines' $37.8 million spent on coaches was higher than any other Big Ten school.

The total operating expenses for schools in the Big Ten (except Northwestern, a private institution) is as follows:

1. Ohio State: $122.3 million
2. Michigan: $111.8 million
3. Penn State: $101.3 million
4. Wisconsin: 95.6 million
5. Iowa: $93.4 million
6. Michigan State: $84.5 million
7. Nebraska: $83.7 million
8. Minnesota: $78.9 million
9. Illinois: $77.7 million
10. Indiana: $71 million
11. Purdue: $66.2 million

Nick Baumgardner covers Michigan sports for He can be reached at 734-623-2514, by email at and followed on Twitter @nickbaumgardner.



Wed, May 16, 2012 : 3:09 p.m.

With such comfortable revenues, why are we hitting up retired faculty on fixed incomes for major additional cash to keep their season tickets? Those who've given so much over the years are rewarded with hefty price increases just to keep their seats? Let's remember it's a public university & should be affordable to the public that supports it-- we can't all be Rockefellers living on a CEO's salary.

Lou Perry

Wed, May 16, 2012 : 1 p.m.

The ludicrous use of that $11 million will happen again. The $11 million "profit" from sports should automatically be given to academic programs for enhancement and tuition. More spending on sports stuff is not needed but help with academic issues, especially with our economy should be paramount. I ask again is UofM a football team that also offers academics or an institute of academics that has a football program?


Wed, May 16, 2012 : 11 a.m.

Did anyone else catch the short news bit about Cheapskate Barden buying a $500K curtain for Chrysler so the Women's Gymnastics and Basketball games will be more "intimate". I about died laughing.


Wed, May 16, 2012 : 4:04 a.m.

An increase of $8.6 M in donations to the athletic program? Thank you Brady Hoke, and football players.


Wed, May 16, 2012 : 1:41 a.m.

So when is the next ticket price raise?


Wed, May 16, 2012 : 12:51 p.m.

They raised them this year.


Tue, May 15, 2012 : 7:49 p.m.

U-M's one of the lucky ones - most schools don't make squat on their big-time sports programs. And 11 million bucks doesn't seem like much, considering the disproportionate impact sports have on this and other universities. What's really insane is the gold-plating of minor sports - for example, U-M building a dedicated facility for field hockey, with artificial turf and a brick grandstand, that doesn't appear to be used for any other purposes. What does it really benefit a university to have world-class gymnastic or swimming program? Does the baseball team really need a minor league-grade facility, complete with lights? How many coaches and trainers do they really need for soccer and lacrosse? And should they be giving scholarships in any non-revenue sports to begin with? Football and basketball are in a class of their own, since they do a great deal to promote the university and are revenue-generators. But the other sports really need to be cut way back to their original role as recreational pursuits for the student body at large.


Wed, May 16, 2012 : 4:10 a.m.

One of you may be referring to ice hockey while the other field hockey. Hard to imagine field hockey generating much revenue, but I can see that the electric atmosphere at Yost of the team, spectators, and pep band that sells out to almost 7,000 per game could cover its expenses.


Wed, May 16, 2012 : 2:02 a.m.

I highly doubt it - not without some creative accounting. But go ahead and add it to the mix. That still doesn't justify a brick grandstand and artificial turf stadium for field hockey. Most college sports should be performed at multi-use facilities that also support intramural and general recreation use. With tuition climbing as high as it is, there's absolutely no reason to spend this much money on non-revenue athletic programs.


Tue, May 15, 2012 : 9:35 p.m.

The hockey program also turns a profit, fyi.

Elaine F. Owsley

Tue, May 15, 2012 : 7:37 p.m.

Isn't it nice to hear of some group that is not only living within its means, but showing a profit. Go Blue!!!!

Stupid Hick

Wed, May 16, 2012 : 12:56 a.m.

Huh? I don't get your point, is it that government should charge taxpayers more for public services than they cost, in order to show a "profit"?


Tue, May 15, 2012 : 8:38 p.m.

Not hard to show a profit when your labor force works for free


Tue, May 15, 2012 : 7:03 p.m.

Gross. And meanwhile, the players break bones, tear ligaments/tendons, and absorb repeated concussions for.... zero dollars. Priceless.


Wed, May 16, 2012 : 12:50 p.m.

Zero dollars? Huh, I should call the bank up today and tell them I owe them 0 dollars on my student loans because student loans don't count as real money.


Tue, May 15, 2012 : 7:30 p.m.

I've got a good idea. Let's eliminate scholarships, food budget, travel, books etc from these athletes. Let's make them pay their own way, giving them no breaks at a competitive university. Have them try out for the teams and work for it. All while taking a full class load. Have them not shown on TV, no radio, and they can do work study. Or let them not play. That would solve all your problems.


Tue, May 15, 2012 : 7:26 p.m.

life's a bitch and then you die


Tue, May 15, 2012 : 5:54 p.m.

pay for 1/2 the bridge... build an athletic parking structure... send money to the institution whose name you trade on... hire a real architect...


Thu, May 17, 2012 : 8:32 p.m.

That $16 million in scholarships goes to the institution.


Tue, May 15, 2012 : 5:41 p.m.

And David Brandon said WHAT about bringing the band?


Thu, May 17, 2012 : 8:31 p.m.

Band's not part of the Athletic Department, though.


Wed, May 16, 2012 : 4:27 a.m.