Business is booming at Wichita State since the Shockers left the Missouri Valley Conference, but the cost of business has risen since they joined the American Athletic Conference.
According to the school’s submission to the NCAA Membership Financial Reporting System, WSU registered record-highs in both revenue (more than $33 million) and expenses (nearly $32 million) during the 2017-18 academic year. The net result was a $1.37 million operating surplus for the athletic department.
But while WSU men’s basketball benefited from the exposure of playing every conference game on national television in a more highly regarded conference, the Shockers’ media rights revenue dropped in 2017-18.
WSU generated a combined $779,512 in media rights and NCAA and conference distributions after bringing in at least $1.15 million the previous four years.
That’s because WSU will not receive shares from the AAC’s current TV deal, which expires after the 2019-20 season, for its first three seasons in the American because it was not a member school when the deal was constructed.
The Eagle learned through a source within the athletic department that WSU bypassed the American’s original offer to join the conference in the 2019-20 season and pay five installments of $500,000 over five years by paying the AAC a one-time, lump sum of $2.5 million last summer to join the conference before the 2017-18 school year.
WSU projects a greater athletic surplus in the coming years. Starting in this fiscal year, which ends June 30, it will owe a annual fee to the conference in the $75,000 range, with the one-time $2.5 million fee paid, and will start earning a share of the conference’s media rights when the American negotiates a new TV contract.
When WSU left the Valley, it also left all of the units it had accumulated with its recent NCAA Tournament success. The move to the American reset that number. But with the AAC looking like a multiple-bid conference for years to come, WSU basketball will receive 25 percent of what it generates and a piece of what the conference generates in the NCAA Tournament.
And the move to the AAC led to another record year for men’s basketball ticket sales. The 2017-18 season saw a 25 percent bump to $4.51 million in sales. The men’s basketball team directly generated $8.59 million in revenue and likely played a role in most of the $22.37 million of revenue that was not designated to a specific sport.
WSU received a record-high in contributions, up more than $2 million from the previous year. WSU received $12.19 million that could be applied for operations of the athletics program or payment of debt service, lease payments or rental fee expenses.
Basketball coach Gregg Marshall earned $3.42 million in salary, benefits and bonuses during the 2017-18 season, while his three assistants made a combined $523,928. Marshall earned $2.89 million the previous year with three assistants making a combined $558,150.
There were challenges in WSU’s first year moving to the AAC, as well.
For example, WSU spent 38 percent more ($3.24 million total) in team travel compared to its last year in the Valley. The recruiting budget increased by 33 percent to more than $578,000. The majority of that goes to the men’s basketball team, which saw a 45 percent bump to its budget of now more than $316,000. The university also spent 33 percent more on marketing, up to $3.33 million.
The baseball team received more than $187,000, an athletics program-high, to upgrade its equipment.