Matt Jones is the online sports director for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A double graduate of the University of Arkansas, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, and voter for the Heisman Trophy and Biletnikoff Award.
Hogs turn one of football's biggest profits
NWA Media/ MICHAEL WOODS --11/03/2012-- University of Arkansas payers celebrate after their win over Tulsa Saturday at Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville
FAYETTEVILLE Arkansas football had a surplus of $39.9 million during the 2011-12 academic year, according to a report by ESPN.
The Razorbacks brought in $64.2 million from football and spent $24.3 million on the sport, according to the report. Arkansas had the ninth-highest profit in college football, behind fellow Southeastern Conference members Georgia, Florida, Alabama, LSU and Auburn, which ranked third through seventh, respectively.
Texas ($77.9 million) and Michigan ($61.6 million) had college football's highest profits. Other schools in the top 10 included Notre Dame and Nebraska.
The report comes on the heels of a release earlier this month by the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Postsecondary Education, stating the overall athletics revenue at the university has increased from $64.2 million four years ago to $99.8 million this year, with 64 percent being spent on the football program.
Arkansas has helped grow its football budget in many ways, including an increased profit share from the SEC, a multi-million dollar payout from playing games against Texas A&M at Cowboys Stadium, increased ticket prices and a multimedia rights agreement with IMG Sports. In 2010, the Razorbacks earned their first BCS bowl invitation and in 2011 tied a school record for wins in a season.
The increased profit has allowed the school to vastly increase its salary pool for football coaches. Bret Bielema will earn $3.2 million as part of a six-year agreement signed last week, while combined assistant coaches' salaries could top $3 million for the first time.
Success on the field has also allowed the program to move ahead with building projects. Construction on new outdoor practice fields and a new operations center - with a combined price tag exceeding $40 million - began last year, and the university is looking to potentially renovate Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium in a project that could cost up to $95 million. Both projects are expected to be paid for in bonds reimbursed by private donations.
Football is one of only two sports (men's basketball is the other) to regularly turn a profit at Arkansas. Revenue produced from the sport helps fund most of the other athletic programs on campus.
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