Darren Rovell Shows us that Michigan is a Winner

Posted on September 10, 2007 by


Classes start this week at Cal-State Bakersfield.  So I should have spent my day working on preparing either The Economics of Religion or Intermediate Macroeconomics (the two courses I teach this quarter).  But I would rather comment on three items I saw on three of my favorite blogs.

These comments will be presented in three separate entries, with this entry focusing on a post from Darren Rovell at his Sports Biz blog.

Last week Rovell made the following observations regarding Appalachian State’s upset of the Michigan Wolverines.  

If Appalachian State sells out every home game this year, they will make roughly $2.1 million (charging a little more than $20 a head with 16,650 seats per game. Michigan has sold out all eight home games already for this season and, get ready for this: the school pulled in $5 million for Saturday’s home game alone in ticket sales and that’s after cutting a check for $400,000 to Appalachian State.

That’s not even the best numbers though. For that we have to go to the budgets–last reported to the government as part of the equity in athletics reporting from the 2005-06 season. That year, Michigan and Appalachian State had the same amount of football players (116). But Michigan spent nearly three times more on each player ($20,180 vs. $7,715).

In part due to payouts, Appalachian State’s football program earned $4,069,038 that year compared to Michigan, which pulled in an amazing $50,365,537.

After expenses were deducted, Appalachian State’s football program earned $1.3 million to Michigan’s profits of nearly $38 million.

These numbers appear to contradict the sentiment expressed by NCAA president, Myles Brand.  Brand claimed that only six Division I-A  programs have made a profit in the past six years.  If Rovell’s numbers are to be believed, how much are the other Michigan sports programs costing? Or is Michigan one of the lucky six?

Brand also has told us the primary mission of the NCAA was education.  With Michigan losing to Oregon we suspect head coach Lloyd Carr might soon lose his job.  We suspect this because it seems to be the case that college football teams fire their coaches when teams do not win as much as is expected.  Given Brand’s comments I have to ask, will Carr lose his job because losing reduces the education of football players?  And what study has shown a clear link between losing and education? 

– DJ

Here are the other two entries in this three-part series:

JC Bradbury Asks for Better Stats

Stephen Dubner Notes the Power of Disgusting Advertising

Posted in: College Sports