A look inside Penn State's athletic finances

Scott Dochterman
Published: July 22 2012 | 8:01 pm - Updated: 31 March 2014 | 10:04 pm in
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Penn State's athletics department generated more than $116 million in fiscal year 2011.

The school submitted its annual financial report to the NCAA on Jan. 12, 2012, and The Gazette obtained it via the Freedom of Information Act. Penn State's athletics spent more than $101 million and took in a $14.78 million surplus that year.

At the end of the 2011 fiscal year, the value of Penn State's athletics endowments were nearly $101.5 million. The pledges were reported at $74.6 million.

The university has an endowment of $1.8 billion. In fiscal year 2011, the university took in more than $4.55 billion and spent more than $4.14 billion. The university surplus was more than $415 million for that year alone.

Why are these numbers relevant? Penn State is about to get slapped with perhaps the largest fine in NCAA history. The NCAA announced Sunday morning that sanctions against Penn State will be "corrective and punitive," and a press conference is scheduled for 8 a.m. Monday for NCAA President Mark Emmert to announce those penalties. According to CBSSports.com, the penalty is "unprecedented" and the fine could reach between $30 million and $60 million. It's likely the football program will lose a significant number of scholarships and a multi-year bowl ban, although multiple outlets report the famed "Death Penalty" will not be enacted.

Any hit to Penn State football in the wake of former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky's sex abuse scandal and concurrent cover-up undoubtedly will affect the other sports the university offers. Of the $116 million generated by athletics department, the football program is directly responsible for more than $58.89 million. Nearly $38 million was non-specific revenue, which came from contributions, royalties/sponsorships and investment/endowments. Indirectly, most of that revenue is football-related.

Only one of 24 other sports (track teams/cross country are considered together) generated more than $800,000, and that was men's basketball. That sport earned $9.48 million at Penn State with more than $8 million coming from the Big Ten/NCAA. Those sports, like nearly all on college campuses, were the only ones to generate a surplus.

As for the athletics' department surplus, Penn State officials wrote on its report that "100 percent of the current year surplus was allocated towards the cost of major maintenance project expenses and the cost of several self-funded capital projects." It's unlikely that will be the case for several years.

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