In today’s day and age of college football fans regularly gasp at the salaries of the head football coaches. The academic world cringes, mainly because of ego, because they are the important part of a university. The small sports supporters often question why football gets so much leverage with the athletic departments. It’s really very simple. Big time college football drives the school. It’s the catalyst for the almighty bottom line $$ and there is no denying it. Below is an excerpt of Tom Van Riper’s piece on Nick Saban’s impact on Alabama for Forbes Magazine (The Magic Of Nick Saban: Everyone Wants To Go To Alabama)
“You basically know Saban’s record on the field: 68-13 since arriving in Tuscaloosa in 2007, with three national titles. The athletic department money has followed suit: 2012 produced revenue of $124.5 million and profit of $19.4 million, according to data from USA Today, up from $67.7 million in revenue and $7.1 million in profit in 2007. Football accounts for about two-thirds of all revenue and $45 million in profit, while the school’s other sports teams collectively lose money.
But the money flowing directly from Bryant-Denny Stadium is just the start. If you think that a top college football coach earning seven figures is overpaid, think again. To appreciate just how modest Saban’s $5.3 million salary is, take a wider look around campus. Since 2007, Tuscaloosa has swelled its undergraduate ranks by 33% to over 28,000 students. Faculty count has kept pace: up 400 since 2007 to over 1,700. But it’s more than growth – it’s where the growth is coming from. According to the school, less than a third of the 2007 freshman class of 4,538 students hailed from out of state. By the fall of 2012, more than half (52%) of a freshman class of 6,397 students did. Various data from US News and the New York Times shows that the school’s out-of-state tuition cost – nearly three times higher than the rate for in-state students – rose from $18,000 to $22,950 a year during that period.
Add it all up – more students from outside Alabama paying ever-increasing premium tuition bills – and the school realized $50 million more in out-of-state tuition revenue for last fall’s incoming class than it did for the same class in 2007 ($76 million vs. $26 million). Kick in the additional $8.5 million in in-state tuition, which rose to $9,200 a year from $6,400 over the same period, and overall tuition revenue rose to $104 million from $46 million for the respective 2012 and 2007 freshman classes. And to boot, the school’s most recent capital campaign (i.e. donations from alumni and others) raised $600 million for scholarships and facilities, the most ever.”