Forbes magazine’s annual ranking of the value of big-time college athletic programs puts Arkansas, at 12th, with a value of $80 million.
Here’s how Forbes values the colleges:
We combine money generated in those four areas — university value, for example, consists of academic support in the form of football scholarships and direct university contributions — in the 2014-15 season to get a snapshot of just how valuable each team is. Revenue and expense data comes from annual financial reports made to the Department of Education; value to the local economy is measured by economic impact studies.
Forbes notes that most colleges spend what they take in and football and basketball, the only big revenue producers, typically help support other athletic teams. The Arkansas Athletic Department is self-supporting for example, thanks particularly to football. In addition to team operation costs, most of the colleges are on a perpetual payback plan for new facilities, either just completed, under construction or planned. Arkansas Athletic Director Jeff Long, for example, has been talking of a $100 million football stadium project.
Fox Sports took the figures a step further to compute a profit margin, and there Arkansas ranked 13th, with a profit figure of $38 million.
Nine SEC teams make the top 20 most profitable in Fox Sports’ computation, a byproduct of the conference’s wildly profitable TV deal with ESPN, worth more than $30 million to Arkansas last year.
Following is what the UA budget currently reports on athletics money, a figure not adjusted as the Forbes figures are by outside influences and including all revenue and expenses, not just major sports: