If the NCAA finally starts allowing its players to profit off their images and names and likenesses and the like, there is one conference that is decidedly positioned to, with fistfuls of $100 bills, wipe away any tears of angst that may flow over the erosion of what’s become an archaic amateurism model.
According to Steve Berkowitz of USA Today, and citing federal tax returns provided by the conference, the Big Ten recorded nearly $760 million in revenue for the 2018 fiscal year. That financial haul is a record for any conference, trumping the $512 million for the 2017 fiscal year; the $54 million paid out on average to each of the league’s 14 member institutions — two schools, Maryland and Rutgers, have borrowed against future earnings — sets a standard for the rest of the country as well.
That $54 million per school is just over $2 million more than had been projected in the summer of 2018.
For comparison’s sake, the 14-team SEC, the second-most financially successful Power Five conference, announced in February of this year revenues of just over $627 million for the same fiscal year, with an average per-school payout of $43.1 million.
In May of this year, the Big 12 announced $374 million in revenue that would be distributed amongst its 10 members. For the 2016-17 fiscal year, ACC members received between $25.3 million and $30.7 million and Pac-12 schools received $30.9 million.
With the launch of its own network this August, the ACC is expecting to see its per-school revenue increase for the 2019 fiscal year; how much remains to be seen, although it’s expected to be enough to put the Pac-12 squarely in the Power Five revenue cellar.