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Sunday, April 20, 2014

Kansas State tops list of profitable athletic departments

By Kellis Robinett
The Wichita Eagle

By bringing in close to $23 million in net income, Kansas State was the most profitable athletic department in the country during the 2010-11 fiscal year, according to an ESPN report.

The report, which examined numbers from 99 public schools in the Football Bowl Subdivision, indicated K-State brought in nearly $70 million in revenue with $46.5 million in total expenses.

Rounding out the top five were Texas, LSU, Alabama and Florida.

The Longhorns brought in close to $16.6 million. Other profitable Big 12 schools were Oklahoma (8), Oklahoma State (10) and Texas A&M (11). Only 19 athletic departments showed a profit.

K-State athletic director John Currie was unavailable for comment Friday. Assistant athletic director of communications Kenny Lannou said the numbers were reflective of a strong fiscal year, but cautioned they could be skewed when compared to other universities.

“We had a great year, but we didn’t put $23 million in the bank,” Lannou said. “We’re probably in the neighborhood of a $3-$4 million cash surplus.”

The Wildcats are in the middle of two major fundraising campaigns. With construction on a new basketball practice facility nearing completion and construction on an expanded football press box gearing up, K-State received $26.5 million in donations. Some of those pledges will be made over multiple years, but were listed as fully paid one-time donations on the fiscal report.

“Every school does it differently,” Lannou said. “If a guy comes in says he is going to donate $5 million over five years, some schools will count that $1 million at a time over five years. The way our accounting shop does it, they report that $5 million all in the first year.

“We didn’t get to $23 million just from ticket sales and donors over that year period. That was everything, which included multi-year pledges, so you can see where the numbers can get skewed. But over a period of time, it should even out.”

According to the report, K-State’s other biggest sources of income came from tickets sales, media rights and the Big 12 Conference. The Wildcats sold $14.4 million in tickets, brought in $13.7 million from the conference, $3.59 million in media rights and $3.3 million in student fees.

Its biggest expenses were $9.2 million on coaches, $3.2 million in travel, $2.17 million in marketing and $914,411 in recruiting.

Currie has led a financial turnaround since coming to K-State in 2009. The year before he arrived, K-State was running at a $2.8 million deficit.

Check Kellis Robinett’s K-Stated blog at blogs.kansas.com/kstated. Reach him at krobinett@wichitaeagle.com.

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