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Posted on Thu, Jun 16, 2011 : 5:56 p.m.

Michigan athletic department expects to double surplus in 2012 after 10th straight year in black

By Pete Cunningham


David Brandon, U-M's athletic director, at Thursday's meeting of the Board of Regents in Ann Arbor.

Melanie Maxwell |

The University of Michigan Athletic Department expects to more than double its surplus in fiscal year 2012.

At the University of Michigan Board of Regents meeting on Thursday, athletic director Dave Brandon presented a budget with anticipated revenues of $121.2 million versus expenses of $109.8 million, a surplus of $11.38 million.

The Michigan athletic department expects a surplus of $4.7 million for fiscal year 2011, which ends June 30. It will be the department’s 10th straight year in the black.

“We’re in a very strong financial position,” Brandon said in a presentation to the Board of Regents. “We are forecasting another healthy growth year for Michigan athletics.”

Two large reasons for the increase are the addition of an eighth home game for the 2011 football season and the fact that premium and box seats are, according to Brandon, “100 percent sold out, and a line is quickly forming.”

The additional home game expects to bring an additional $4.63 million in revenue, while the premium seating revenue will bring in an additional $5.1 million.

The only reported loss in revenue according to the budget was due to not holding a Big Chill, which brought in $1.4 million in revenue.

According to the NCAA’s annual report, released on Wednesday, there are 22 self-sufficient Division I athletic departments across the country with a median net surplus of $7.4 million.

Regent Andrea Fisher Newman pointed out that the athletic department contributes to the general fund in both tuition for scholarship athletes and through a donation, which this year will be $1.8 million, according to Brandon, down from $2 million last year.

Brandon added that 74 percent of scholarships are for out-of-state student-athletes. Cost of tuition and fees for the 2011-12 school year will be $12,634 for in-state students, $37,782 for out of state.

Pete Cunningham covers sports for He can be reached at or by phone at 734-623-2561. Follow him on Twitter @petcunningham.



Sat, Jun 18, 2011 : 1:24 p.m.

High school athletes can jump to the NBA, NHL or the MLBB, however those that can are few and far between. Football players especially need more time to develope and grow and learn their sport. There is a reason why you don't see high school seniors going to the pros. There are two kinds of athletes that come to the university. There are the ones that are training for the pros or a shot at it, and they don't much care about education. (And yes I know there are exceptions.) There are the others who are honest with themselves and know they need the degree for their careers. No fat pro contract for them. So lets put a price on a years education, for instance, $40,000. Pay your players $40,000. Those who don't care about education don't have to go to class, they aren't already anyways. They then can afford their tatoos and pizzas. Those who want their education can use their $40,000 to pay for their scholarships and books. And if they shop wisely will have some extra for a pizza. Merely saying that they need a stipend will not ensure that they still won't be plied with cars and money, etc. If they don't have the morales to not take stuff, they don't have the integrity to protect or care about their university.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Sat, Jun 18, 2011 : 12:08 a.m.

Lorraine wrote: "I am offended that there is so littel value being place on a Michigan education. I say do NOT pay athletes. If on scolarship, they are actually getting an EXCELLENT education, in return, for playing a sport. My sense of it is, that if they want to be paid, they should go to the NFL/NBA/NHL, or skip sports entirely, and go get a real job." For someone who claims to have knowledge of and sympathy toward the "blue collar", this post reveals much ignorance about both NCAA rules and about the circumstances of athletes who come from poor families. NCAA rules prevent athletes from holding jobs except in very limited circumstances (e.g., working for a business owned by their family). For athletes who come from upper-middle class and upper-class families, this is no problem. With a child on an athletic scholarship, they can push toward their child some "spending money" that would have been spent on tuition but for the scholarship. For athletes from working class and poor families--no such luck. They don't have money for a date, for a movie, for a pizza. The university education is a great thing, but you can't "spend" it when you're in school. The NCAA is making BILLIONS off of these athletes. Giving them some sort of small stipend would alleviate many of these issues, and it is the fair thing to do. That is, unless you think Bo rose from the dead to recommend that Bill Martin hire the soon-to-be WCiMFH. Good Night and Good Luck

David Vande Bunte

Mon, Jun 20, 2011 : 7:43 p.m.

You do know that smart players get the money, right? As part of their full scholarship, there is a specific amount they receive every month for housing expenses. It generally ranges from 500-1000 bucks per student. Two upper class football players share a 700 dollar apartment. Even using the lower 500 dollar monthly housing allowance, that still means they have 150 extra dollars each between the two of them. if their housing expenses are less than their housing allowance, they keep the difference in cash. Get another roommate, and then they each have 266 bucks left over in cold, hard cash. If those three roommates are lucky enough to be at a school that pays them 1000 a month housing allowance, they each have 766 bucks a month left over after paying rent. When you figure it out over 9 months of being in school, thats just about 7 grand, per athlete, per year at the 1000 rate. In addition to the complete meal plans at their university, most colleges give full scholarship athletes a daily meal allowance. At Boston College, it's 41 bucks a day. Don't try to tell me you can't take your girl out for pizza on 41 bucks a day. Get 41 bucks, use 20 of it on meals, you pocket 21 bucks a day. You get the money for all new textbooks. Buy used, pocket the difference. If they otherwise qualify, even full ride athletic scholarship athletes can get Pell grants, which they do NOT have to pay back, ever. More cash in pocket. Sorry, but the system can be and already is exploited by college athletes to put cash in their pockets. If those athletes aren't smart enough to figure that out, well, you can't help stupid. Sorry, but they have the opportunity to put thousands of dollars in their pockets 100% legally, while their classmates eat Raman noodles and grilled cheese. No sympathy.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Mon, Jun 20, 2011 : 6:25 p.m.

My last got chopped off by the word count limit. To conclude briefly: If fairness is the issue, it is not the universities and the NCAA about which we ought be concerned. Good Night and Good Luck

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Mon, Jun 20, 2011 : 5:52 p.m.

Forgive me, but I don't think the hurdles are that huge. We're not talking about paying them tens of thousands of dollars. We are talking a few hundred dollars per month per athlete. And perhaps there ought to be a "means test" (I hate that term) with graduated stipends. Bottom line to me is, again, that the NCCA and its member institutions earn BILLIONS in hard cash on the backs of their student athletes. It can afford to push some of that money toward its athletes. BTW--the scholarships are, at the institutional level, a bookkeeping exercise. Yes, the athletic department "pays" for the price of the tuition and that money goes to the "academic" side of the house. Yet the classes in which those student athletes are enrolled, in the vast majority of cases, were going to "go" whether or not there were any SAs in those classes. The actual cost to the academic side of the house of those athletes is "0" in most cases--the classrooms already exist, the professors are getting paid, and the classes are being taught whether or not there is a single SA in the class. So I am very unimpressed with the alleged "cost" to the university (any university) of the "cost" of an SA's scholarship. Whether or not the NCAA would mandate such a practice or would simply permit it is an interesting question. My sense is that permitting it would cause little change to the current distribution of football power in the FBS. And it might lead to schools like EMU coming to a more realistic appraisal of their programs. Fair to these huge institutions that have budgets ranging from hundreds of millions per year (for the EMUs of the world) to billions of dollars per year (for the UMs of the world) while their scholarship athletes from poor families are prohibited from holding a job and thereby are kept in peonage, unable to even buy a pizza without potentially violating NCAA rules? That, it seems to me, is the ultimate unfairness of thi

David Vande Bunte

Mon, Jun 20, 2011 : 5:34 p.m.

And yet, you ignored the most obvious criticism I made about paying players. How does the university pay for it? I bring up only paying football and basketball players, because a frequent argument that the pro-paying advocates make is that you should pay them because those are generally the two sports that are revenue building, rather than revenue draining. They make money, rather than lose it. But, please explain to me how you would overcome the huge financial hurdles that would be involved in paying players...How much (in addition to the free education, room and board, textbooks etc) do you pay them? As I have shown previously, currently Michigan already gives out $3,875,000 of education to just the football team. If you are going to pay players, you have to decide how much to pay them. Is it an NCAA mandated rate, or does each university set its own rates? If you let the NCAA mandate it, most Division I universities would simply cut all of the non-profitable sports because they don't have the money to cover them all. If you let each university set their own rates, wealthy schools like Michigan, Texas, USC etc would pay more than small schools, creating an even bigger imbalance between the haves and have nots. Where does that money come from? Okay, Michigan is now paying its athletes, but because of the sheer cost involved, they had to jack up ticket rates, raise tuition costs, made attending harder for all students, and now you can't even afford to go see them play... According to the article, only 22 of 119 programs actually are fiscally well off. Where are the other 97 schools going to come up with the money to pay athletes? Michigan could probably absorb the cost...but could CMU? What happens to them? The reality is you simply cannot pay college athletes in any way that is both fair and financially feasible for all 119 Division I universities, even if you wanted to. It just cannot be done.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Mon, Jun 20, 2011 : 5:05 p.m.

David, Just because we disagree does not me that I am wrong or that you are. Unlike those who still appear to believe that Bo rose from the dead, this is a matter of opinion, not of fact, though facts ought inform our opinions. But you have read into my post something that is not there. Nowhere have I proposed paying only football or basketball players. The NCAA prohibition on holding a job applies to ALL scholarship athletes, whether football or field hockey, and the hardship remains the same. Football players are more prone to problems than are field hockey players (though I guarantee the latter are not immune) due to the huge potential payout at the end of the road. Also, you appear to presume that a large percentage of scholarship players will make it to the NFL, yet even at top rung programs, that is not the case, and at programs such as EMU or CMU, almost none will. Yes, I have no doubt the ultimate value of a university education (not its cost, which you cite, but its value). But, again, one cannot spend that "value" on a pizza when in school. And for athletes, no matter the sport, who come from poor families, the enticement to take inappropriate inducements will be huge. So long as the NCAA rules requires student-athletes from poor families to live in virtual peonage for 4-5 years, the enticement to break the rules will be huge. But, in the end, it seems to me wildly unfair that the NCAA and its member institutions make billions off their athletes and yet they keep those athletes in peonage. Again, fair-minded and reasonable people can disagree on this. Good Night and Good Luck

David Vande Bunte

Mon, Jun 20, 2011 : 1:45 p.m.

And yet, if you go back and look at my reply to Lorrain, you will see the actual dollar value of a full athletic scholarship, and feel free to verify all of the figures I used with the University of Michigan itself. The dollar value of an in-state full athletic scholarship over 4 years is 100,000 dollars. The dollar value of an out-of-state full athletic scholarship over 4 years is 200,000 dollars. Sorry, Murrow. But receiving 25- 50k a year in value for an education you will never have to worry about repaying student loans for is getting paid quite handsomely. You can't "spend" it when you're in school. Why the time qualifier? Because deep down, you know that while it is intangible during school, once they leave the school, it could mean the difference between a great career or working at Denny's. You place value on the here and now, with no regards to these athletes futures. They only get to be collegiate athletes for 4 years. Then for the 99% of them that never get to play in the pros for their sport, they have the rest of their lives to worry about. While football and men's basketball teams might be moneymakers for the school, how much revenue is lost by the golf, gymnastic, softball, volleyball or baseball teams, because they are far more expensive to run than the amount of money they bring in? You cannot simply play just the football and basketball players, it would provide an unfair benefit that would clearly be a violation of Title IX. I keep raising this point whenever there are discussions about paying players, and NOBODY ever counters it. Further, where does the additional money come from? Well, there is only one place it could. Every Division I University would be forced to raise prices on tickets and tuition. That will make everyone happy, right? Sorry, Murrow. Usually you are spot on, but you are absolutely wrong about this.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Sat, Jun 18, 2011 : 2:48 a.m.

This from the so-called "fan" of Michigan football who, in another discussion, is predicting the WCiMFH will win a NC before his "beloved" Michigan does. So much for the slappies. Good Night and Good Luck


Sat, Jun 18, 2011 : 1:58 a.m.

Murrow -- First, it's "Lorain" not "Lorraine". Second, let it go. For as much as you bring up Rich Rodriguez, I am beginning to wonder who has the "man crush".


Fri, Jun 17, 2011 : 11:34 p.m.

Nancy Pelosi just announced from her jet that she's introducing a new "millionaires tax" on high income athletic programs, such as Michigan's. This money will be used for gym facilities for House and Senate members. The press release, completely covered in caviar and champagne, stated "it's unfair that the most successful football programs make this much money while I have to watch Sarah Palin's Freedom Tour highlights on my 70" TV. My feet are swollen."

Lorain Steelmen

Fri, Jun 17, 2011 : 7:01 p.m.

Many excellent posts. I am offended that there is so littel value being place on a Michigan education. I say do NOT pay athletes. If on scolarship, they are actually getting an EXCELLENT education, in return, for playing a sport. My sense of it is, that if they want to be paid, they should go to the NFL/NBA/NHL, or skip sports entirely, and go get a real job. Posters have noted correctly, that this only creates a disparity beteween men's and women's athletics. Let the law suits begin. And what about the business risk taken on by the AD. Dave should then be albe to trade players like the pro teams do.

David Vande Bunte

Fri, Jun 17, 2011 : 9:09 p.m.

Indeed. According to the financial aid web page at, the average cost of an in-state undergraduate student at Michigan, including tuition, books, room and board and miscellaneous personal costs is right about $25,000 a year, while an out of state student can expect costs of around $50,000 dollars. PER YEAR. That means that a four year full-ride athletic scholarship athlete from Michigan receives a $100,000 education for free, while an out of state full-ride athlete receives a $200,000 education for free. Using the official roster, as listed on, there are 37 in-state players and 59 out of state players. The total combined value of their four year free educations is: $3,875,000. Almost 4 million dollars worth of education, JUST for the football team. And the whiners claim they aren't compensated...

Blu n Tpa

Fri, Jun 17, 2011 : 1:47 p.m.

Kpnitrel Your are right. Just like the NFLPA, you want the student athletic to share in the profits, but what about the risks, or losses? So would the University be able to trade you to another team, if it wanted to? How about dropping you in the middle of the semester if someone beats you out at your position? Would the money be the same to everyone? DRob get's the same as the second team placekicker? Or a cross country runner? So tsio should be able to go after TP for breech of contract and JT can sue TP and the tattoo 5 for cause, since they cost him his job? Your model already exists at tsio and how is that working out for them? People have the same weaknesses and some will want more because they feel entitled to it. That leads to turmoil and infighting and soon coaches no longer have control. You have killed the cash cow of your business and now the whole department is at risk. Did you read in the article where only 22 Athletic Departments are operating in the black? Are you going to insist that Michigan share it's profits with those programs losing money? Here's the thing: A high school graduate from Michigan get over $12,000 in assistance to go to one of the best universities in the world and an out of state player get almost $38,000 in aid for the same previledge. What are their other choices being 18-19 years old and no marketable skills or a market for their skills since only 10% of universities can afform to bid for players? So how about keeping it real, as in the real world.

David Vande Bunte

Fri, Jun 17, 2011 : 4:22 p.m.

If you limit it only to basketball and football, you would see all kinds of lawsuits from other athletes, and rightly so. There is this tiny little thing known as Title IX. "No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance..." Obviously, since women cannot play collegiate football, they are clearly being denied the same benefits as those who do. You insist that universities pay college football players. That is a CLEAR benefit, something that not all of the other athletes can participate in, therefore it is highly discriminatory. I would LOVE to be the attorney of one of those athletes who don't play mens basketball or football, because I would stand to make millions of dollars litigating a slam dunk winner of a case. If you pay the athletes in one sport, you MUST pay the athletes in all sports in order to avoid discrimination. That most sports can't turn a profit is irrelevant, considering the full ride women's golf scholarship is worth the same education as a full ride football scholarship is. Same educational value for scholarships all around. How many student athletes does an average Division I university have? Well over 100. And now you want to pay them in addition to the free education, free room and board, etc. that they receive that non-athletes do not get. At the very worst, provided they are able to maintain their grades and graduate, they receive an education that would cost a non-athlete well over 50 thousand dollars to pay for. But, that is a "pittance" according to you. They also get to showcase their ability every game, in the attempt to make a name for themselves to pursue their sport at a professional level. Essentially, the university acts as a professional recruiting service. How much money is it worth to be able to show the entire country what you


Fri, Jun 17, 2011 : 3:54 p.m.

Blu. You raise some interesting points but ones that cannot be overcome. The NCAA is already thinking of offering these athletes a monthly stipends. Every eligible athlete especially those in football and basketball should be eligible for these payments. IF they decide not to accept the payments, then put into a trust fund so that after they graduate or leave school they will have money to start out in life. Not only do these schools reaped the cash benefits of the players efforts,i.e. gate, apparel,television proceeds, they benefit from the mass marketing generated by having a high profile program, so there are all of these secondary benefits that accrue to the schools as well. I think the NCAA is shortsighted in its stubberness because its a multi-billion dollar industry and they do not want to share the money. Eventually and I predict in the near future, a charismatic young athlete is going to come along who the players respect and will rally around and demand a piece of the pie. I gurantee the issues you raise will become moot once the NCAA is threathened with a boycott. In this day of social media this is very much possible. Stick around


Fri, Jun 17, 2011 : 11:25 a.m.

Pete, apparently the student athlete primarily the football and basketball players are the ones whose efforts are responsible for the 17, 293,000 in financial aid for the entire athletic department. Those football and basketball players on whose backs this money is earned only get a pittance in return. Eventually, these young men are going to become aware of their power and college sports will change. It will happen.

Pete Cunningham

Fri, Jun 17, 2011 : 7:23 p.m.

The Terrelle Pryor situation opened my eyes to another factor in this debate: the value of the training players receive as members of their college team. Right now, most NFL gurus are guessing Pryor will be a 4th round supplemental draft pick. I heard Mel Kiper say that with another year at OSU and with the pre-combine/senior bowl activities Pryor would have done following his senior season, he could see him as a potential second or first round pick. The difference between the signing bonus/contract of a fourth round supplemental draft pick and first or second rounder is millions of dollars. Plus, a team is much more willing to stick with a player they see as a project -- which most agree Pryor will be at the next level, regardless of position -- it has invested more money in.

David Vande Bunte

Fri, Jun 17, 2011 : 4:08 p.m.

A pittance? Okay. Pay the players, but revoke all scholarships. Make them pay for their education just like every other student, make them pay for their own textbooks, food, residence too.


Fri, Jun 17, 2011 : 5:13 a.m.

From the look of that suit he's wearing, AD Brandon cannot be getting anything for a clothing allowance. ;-) PS: I agree, some kind of stipend and reformed awards program needs to be started for our U of M athletes.


Fri, Jun 17, 2011 : 2:27 a.m.

they operate just like Wall Street!


Fri, Jun 17, 2011 : 2:16 a.m.

Bill Martin may have been clueless about hiring coaches, but he did a good job with finances. When he came in, the athletic department was in debt.


Sat, Jun 18, 2011 : 1:41 p.m.

David, mun said "Bill Martin" not David Brandon. And i agree, during Bill Martin's tenure here that he put us back in the black. I have every confidence in Brandon also.

David Vande Bunte

Fri, Jun 17, 2011 : 4:07 p.m.

how do you figure? It clearly states that Michigan's athletic department has been in the black for ten straight years. Dave Brandon has only been the AD for a couple of years. IE, it was already profitable.


Fri, Jun 17, 2011 : 2:08 a.m.

Maybe it's just coincidence, but kinda funny that in the "NEWS" page, put the "Michigan athletic department expects to double surplus in 2012 after 10th straight year in black" with its "surplus of $4.7 million dollars for fiscal year 2011" just above the story on "University of Michigan raises tuition 6.7 percent after $47.5 million drop in state funding". Drop in the bucket, I know, but still...


Sat, Jun 18, 2011 : 8:44 p.m.

@David Vande Bunte: True, they currently have nothing to do with each other. but they could if the university wanted to spend some Athletic revenue on Education, couldn't they? Mostly I found it amusing the two articles were side by side.

David Vande Bunte

Fri, Jun 17, 2011 : 4:05 p.m.

Not to point out the obvious, but the athletic department gets their revenue from ticket sales, merchandising and TV revenue, completely independent of tuition. IE, tuition rates and athletic department finances have nothing to do with each other.


Thu, Jun 16, 2011 : 10:42 p.m.

As with many companies in the U.S. and around the world are experiencing, here today gone tomorrow or, in the black today, in the red tomorrow, there are no guantees at this time. In always being ready for anything, that 11.38 million surplus is really not all that much money to brag about. The football coaches are being paid to much and that was made painfully clear the last 3 years. Now we're paying assist. coaches more than LLoyd made on the assumption that we will return to an elite program. I only ask that we run a good, clean program and if Brady does, then the type of players Mich. wants will want to come to Michigan.


Thu, Jun 16, 2011 : 11:22 p.m.

Obviously there are no guarantees, but nothing suggests from the last 40 years the UM will suddenly become non-self sufficient. It is a well run operation and is paying what the going rate for coaches is. I think the players should receive some money, but the U really does not have that as an option due to the monopoly enforced by the NCAA.


Thu, Jun 16, 2011 : 10:05 p.m.

Give some of that money to the athletes who really are the ones who earned it.

Pete Cunningham

Thu, Jun 16, 2011 : 11:30 p.m.

The budget includes an expense of $17,293,000 in financial aid to student-athletes.