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Posted on Tue, Dec 27, 2011 : 12:32 p.m.

Michigan football the 5th-most valuable program in America

By Nick Baumgardner


The Michigan football program is the fifth-most valuable in the country, according to a ranking by

Angela J. Cesere |

The Michigan football team worked its way back onto a national stage this season with a 10-2 record and a berth in the Sugar Bowl.

However, the Wolverine program never left the big stage when dollars and cents are involved. recently unveiled its current list of the most valuable college football programs in America, with the Michigan football program entering at No. 5, worth a Forbes value of $94 million.

"The Wolverines saw a 15% increase in team value since 2009, which was mostly influenced by Michigan Athletics' academic funding," the report reads. "Michigan contributed more to football scholarships than any other public university on our list."

Forbes measures a program's value rating on a weighted scoring system, consisting of four components.

The components are: value to its university (football profit used for academic purposes), value to its athletic department (football profit used for other athletic purposes), value to its conference and value to its surrounding community.

Forbes' top five valued programs in America are Texas ($129 million), Notre Dame ($112 million), Penn State ($100 million), LSU ($96 million) and Michigan ($94 million).

The Penn State calculation was made prior to the Jerry Sandusky child-abuse scandal.

Penn State and Michigan are two of seven Big Ten teams ranked in the top 20.

The others: No. 13 Ohio State ($77 million), No. 14 Nebraska ($77 million), No. 15 Wisconsin ($67 million), No. 19 Michigan State ($59 million) and No. 20 Iowa ($48 million).

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



Wed, Dec 28, 2011 : 5:17 a.m.

I suppose sparty will still need an explaination of why they are little brother. They may never get it.


Wed, Dec 28, 2011 : 12:30 p.m.

maybe but they beat you LITTLE SISTERS 4 Years in a row.Whatever you say won't make that go away.You ARROGANT ones. Everybody is anointing Hoke as a savior.let's suppose the next two years do go as this one did.i'll bet opinion changes quick about how great the man is.he needs at least 3 years to establish himself.good,bad,or somewhere in between


Wed, Dec 28, 2011 : 4:25 a.m.

Texas and ND have private TV deals, which boosts them up. UM does not have that advantage due to its loyalty to the B1G. Outside of that, plus the PSU situation, and you have UM right behind LSU. Respectable. Surprised Alabama is not in there.


Wed, Dec 28, 2011 : 12:41 p.m.

there always is an excuse isn't there.bottom line still is wins and losses for most teams.Notre Dame ,as much as i hate to say it,is special and always has been.They're just different than everybody else.It's not fair but neither is life. As for Texas they took a chance and set up their own TV network and pulled it off.So why don't your Wolverines try that?They have the money,power,and influence to do it but they don't.It's not like they'll get thrown out of the conference.That won't happen until Satans home freezes why don't they just do it?


Tue, Dec 27, 2011 : 11:59 p.m.

"His firing of RR, in favor of Hoke, seems to have been a good move, as the team has improved. I suspect he needed to do this, to placate prospective lux box renters, who otherwise, would have stayed on the sideline, no pun intended. ......Surprise, it all comes down to money....." So firing of Rich Rod and hiring of Brady Hoke came down to money, not to get to 10+ wins? Shallow post.


Wed, Dec 28, 2011 : 3:03 a.m.

@RW: It's tied together. Former coach was such a polarizing figure, such an outsider to many, and such a bad coach that even with success, many would stay away just to avoid associating with him. Simply put, it was a no-brainer to get rid of him. Forgetting the on-field results (a disaster no matter how you look at it), his off-field stuff was even more pathetic, from asinine behavior at a few football banquets, to comments continually made bad-mouthing his players, to poor preparation, etc. So, yes, it was not a firing just about wins.


Tue, Dec 27, 2011 : 11:30 p.m.

Just because they didn't rank you #1 doesn't mean Forbes missed are where you are because the donations put you there. As far as the value of a U of M Education for athletes i would say MOST of the athletes attend to be athletes NOT scholars and that's the same at most colleges and universities. look at the class schedules for MOST of them and you'll find a lot of them take ,let us say athlete friendly courses that have questionable real world value. Try not to be arrogant.see it for what it is--a money maker for the university.Football has been in the depths for the RR years and donations declined.If the team continues to improve donations will increase and the Universitys donation ranking will go up. But it depends ALMOST entirely on Winning and Losing not on academic excellence.


Tue, Dec 27, 2011 : 11:05 p.m.

Suprised to see Texas as the most valuable. Though I am a Sparty through and through there is no doubt the Wolverinee's are the more valuable team. Maybe it is time for me to sell my Robert Dorman Wolverine Lithoprint from 1975, number 208 of 1000 personally signed by Don Canham, Bo Schembechler and the artist R. Dorman ? Its value no doubt has risen this past year ! Go Green Go White


Tue, Dec 27, 2011 : 10:13 p.m.

Julies' yawn may be because this information has been reported on line for a few days now. As usual, AA.Com is way behind everyone else.


Tue, Dec 27, 2011 : 10:06 p.m.

Not sure what metric Forbs used to calculate these numbers. I would have to see the AD's annual report, per DonAZ. Top 5 sounds good but if this is based on the annual report, then they are using 2010 figures. At Michigan, 8 home game and the suites were sold out in 2011. My guess is we will be near the top per 2011.


Tue, Dec 27, 2011 : 9:18 p.m.

$96 million seems quite low. All of the top schools seem low. I understand Forbes metrics, but not how they assign a value to such intangibles as "value to the conference" and "value io it's surrounding community". Unless I'm off base, that last one alone is $96 million!


Tue, Dec 27, 2011 : 9:09 p.m.

Not surprising. I look for Michigan to rise to # 1 in the next five years. Penn State will drop out for obvious reasons.


Wed, Dec 28, 2011 : 1:29 a.m.

Your assumption on both are a bit far fetched. Since joining the Big Ten, PSU has won more than twice as many National Championships as any other Big Ten School and if anything, JoePa was holding the reigns back on lots of money going into anything but academics, one of the biggest measurements in this analysis. And you assumption that Michigan will generate an additional 30% to overtake Texas provided a gale of laughter in the room.

Terry Star21

Tue, Dec 27, 2011 : 9:07 p.m.

The Forbes reports are all good and that but, the only thing that really matter is Michigan football is doing everything correct now. Michigan has prided itself over the years of providing the best, in education and athletics and that mean$ providing the best educational materials, facilities, professors and coaches. Money and value aside - I am proud my university is able to provide all this. Michigan is the #1 educational facility and the #1 football program in the nation. It's great to be the best ! MgoBlueForTiM...........nothing but the best for the best


Tue, Dec 27, 2011 : 8:48 p.m.

Value of the Forbes report: Meaningless. What should be our nation's healthy and rational interest in intercollegiate sports has become over-hyped, ultra-competetive obsessiveness that is skewing our value system. Enough.


Tue, Dec 27, 2011 : 8:32 p.m.



Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 6:01 p.m.

I don't know. Yawn.....


Tue, Dec 27, 2011 : 9:53 p.m.

If the subject matter elicits only a yawn....why bother commenting?


Tue, Dec 27, 2011 : 8:19 p.m.

Texas 129 Mill.?? that's weird. but I guess that's Texas. HOOK'EM HORNS!!!

tom swift jr.

Tue, Dec 27, 2011 : 7:54 p.m.

This really sums it up. It is all about the money, where is the pride in that?


Tue, Dec 27, 2011 : 7:38 p.m.

Hey DonAZ, you must've been excited when you saw this article, it gave you a chance to work some numbers, congrats, Lol! As for the ratings, I'm sure the previous 3 years hurt our rating, I have a feeling we will rise higher in the very near future. As for the educational ratings, U-M has always been rated top notch and I'm sure it will stay that way, richest accumulative alumni of any university in the world, take that everybody else. Money talks and you know what, walks!


Tue, Dec 27, 2011 : 7:35 p.m.

How about value of the largest fan base, largest stadium (and thus largest ticket income), etc.?

Lorain Steelmen

Tue, Dec 27, 2011 : 7:34 p.m.

The league has 7 of the top 20 programs. Not sure at this point, how well the SEC is doing. Obviously, this is a listing that drives Dave Brandon. As an alum, on the whole, I suppose that Brandon has done an ok job. Recall he inherited the remodeled Big House from Martin. His firing of RR, in favor of Hoke, seems to have been a good move, as the team has improved. I suspect he needed to do this, to placate prospective lux box renters, who otherwise, would have stayed on the sideline, no pun intended. ......Surprise, it all comes down to money..... He likes to spruce up the 'game day experience', by piping in music, and running special game day gimmicks. At least we can hear the band in the south half, of the bowl now, since he has micked the band. All that is a postive. But his messing around with the uniforms is a huge negative. And actually, he may destroy the brand, rather than strengthen it. Like any gimmick , it will soon fade, and then we are left with nothing. Since we already have the tradition of the uniforms, Brandon has given away his foundation. We will see yet anothe rabortion in th esugar bowl, as he tries to spruce up our traditional away uniforms.....He probably thinks he sell these uniforms and make a buck on them. I'll reserve my overall judgement on Brandon, for the time being, but I don't like cheap tricks......


Wed, Dec 28, 2011 : 1:26 p.m.

Gee, Lorain, I'm sure Dave Brandon will sleep a little easier knowing that you will be "reserving your overall judgment - for the time being." Does the fact that the players (you know, the kids who are at the heart of it all) enjoyed the uniform change and clamored to keep the uniforms from the ND game as a memento at all figure into your assessment rubric? Cheap trick? Really? Brandon may be a bit imperious (but that can be said of almost anyone in that sort of leadership position), but he's certainly not cheap


Wed, Dec 28, 2011 : 4:46 a.m.

I don't see why you and others take this kind of thing so seriously. FYI: Brandon may have 'inherited' the 1/4 billion dollar stadium renovation but the reason he was called in was due to Martin's leaving an embarrassing mess for him to "inherit" and clean up. Martin - puppet to L. Carr, is the one who had to scramble to find a replacement for Miles. It was Carr who personally called RR first - right after Martin told him he was successful in scuttling the Les Miles hire. Hoke had been on the original list of prospects: Brandon KNEW he would eventually bring Hoke in because he was the one candidate Carr's faction & everyone else would agree on, Post-RR. Brandon handled that masterfully. Brandon - focuses on an entirely different level than we fans do. Don't think for a minute that Brandon hasn't studied - in depth - less important things like uniform design changes. Game day experience? Have you noticed the huge new "press box" which provides state of the art facilities for ESPN, BTN and the rest? Game day experience: is about what TV audiences see now, not about having a hot dog at the old ball park. It's also about 10s of 1000s of fans who drive here on football Saturdays,a leaving piles of cash - not about what locals think. Anyone who doesn't like mega-football at Michigan can easily satisfy their longing for retro by switching to game days at Rynearson Stadium, just 7 miles from the Big House. EMU certainly isn't a "Big Money" program so there must be at least 30,000 fans who you'll find to be more your type. Finally, wherever did you get the idea that Brandon's "tricks" are cheap? LOL! a


Wed, Dec 28, 2011 : 2:59 a.m.

I agree with your criticisms of Brandon. He seems more interested in gimmicks than what is strong about college football in general and Michigan football specifically. LS said most of what I think very well.

Macabre Sunset

Tue, Dec 27, 2011 : 9:25 p.m.

IIRC, the SEC has 8 or 9 of the top 20 on this list, and a majority of the top ten.

hut hut

Tue, Dec 27, 2011 : 7:26 p.m.

Where does the value of UM's educational prowess come in on Forbes list?

J. A. Pieper

Wed, Dec 28, 2011 : 4:53 p.m.

I think the graduation rate would be great to include, but how about other academic issues, like grade point, progress towards graduation, what kind of academic program these students are involve in, etc.


Tue, Dec 27, 2011 : 8:27 p.m.

Let's add the graduation rate, I'm sure Michigan has the highest rate in the country?


Tue, Dec 27, 2011 : 6:49 p.m.

"The components are: 1. value to its university (football profit used for academic purposes) 2. value to its athletic department (football profit used for other athletic purposes) 3. value to its conference 4. value to its surrounding community." Component #1 -- Presumably deterministic; that is, a number culled from the AD's annual report Component #2 -- Ditto Component #3 -- A little harder to measure. No doubt bowl revenue sharing is included. Not sure how they'd get to the relative TV revenue value of one school vs. another. Texas as #1 might be due to their "Longhorn Network" arrangement. Notre Dame because of its exclusive NBC contract as well as the fact it's not part of a conference so it presumably keeps all its revenue from TV and bowls. I wonder how merchandizing sales are tracked and reported? Component #4 -- An even fuzzier number. This would also favor small town schools over larger since the impact of a football Saturday is relatively more. For those who wonder why Brandon is pushing brand and seeking greater revenue from more home games ... one need not look further than #1 and #2. Every single sports program save men's basketball and (maybe) men's hockey needs subsidy support from the revenue generators. And football is THE athletic revenue engine at the University of Michigan.


Tue, Dec 27, 2011 : 6:25 p.m.

Well, Michigan is 8 spots above Ohio - we knew that already, but ONLY FIFTH MOST VALUABLE?! Come on, someone's not paying attention at Forbes. ;-) It's time for Dave "The Brand" Brandon to make a call at Forbes.