'USA Today': Few Sports Programs Show a Profit

May 27, 2015

Just 24 of 230 big-time athletics programs at public universities meet the National Collegiate Athletic Association's definition of financially self-sufficient, USA Today reported in its annual analysis of the economics of Division I sports programs. The NCAA defines sports departments as self-sufficient if the money they generate (excluding student fees and direct university and government subsidies) exceeds what they spend.

The USA Today analysis of the finances of Division I programs finds the gap between the five richest conferences and all others continuing to grow. When sports programs' payments to their institutions for scholarships and facilities are taken into account, about 50 programs qualify as self-sufficient, and all of those are in the five richest conferences.

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