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The financial impact of Maryland's Big Ten move was apparently enormous

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The one-year financial returns on Maryland's Big Ten transition show a significant increase in revenues, almost all of which Maryland's athletic department spent.

Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany.
Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany.
Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

On July 1, 2014, the University of Maryland at College Park began its first year as a member of the Big Ten (B1G). Whether one chooses to believe that the principal factor spurring the move was the academic consortium of B1G universities known as the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC) or the promise of greater athletic riches provided the impetus, both sides must agree that the common element in the move was money.

Notwithstanding some of the interesting discussions that arise among the commentariat, the focus of Testudo Times is Maryland athletics, so we will not concern ourselves with the impact of the CIC. But we will look at the impact the Big Ten had on Maryland athletic department after the university's first year in the conference.

Was it worth it? (Spoiler alert: The answer is an emphatic yes!)

Introduction to the EADA and some basic accounting

The information used in this story is gleaned from the U.S. Department of Education's Equity in Athletics Disclosure Act (EADA)/NCAA Gender Equity Survey. This is a report that NCAA member institutions are required to provide to all prospective student-athletes. The EADA survey purports to report an institution's commitment to providing equitable athletic opportunities for its men and women students. It is a mandatory report that must be filed annually by October 15.

As we delve into the numbers, the biggest question that might arise is with regard to a classification of both income and expenses that is "not allocated by gender or sport." It's a reasonable question, and, as you will see, it's a big number.

So, what, you might wonder, would such revenue or expenses be? I'll provide some examples that might or might not be correct but that a FOIA request might solve. An easy example of revenue that might not be allocated by gender or sport is the Athletic Fee charged to every undergraduate enrolled at Maryland. This fee supports the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics and is probably used in some sort of general fund. Similarly, the salary paid to the Athletic Director might be charged to the department as a whole rather than being allocated across the various sports.

The B1G picture

Let's get right to it. If you were in business and I told you that by making a certain change you could increase your revenue by 27.6 percent in one year, you would probably see that as an opportunity that would be difficult to turn down.

Well, that's what happened to Maryland. In the EADA report for the year ended June 30, 2014, Maryland's last in the Atlantic Coast Conference, the Athletic Department (AD) reported total revenue of $68,045,216. In that same report for June 30, 2015, Maryland's AD reported a revenue increase to $86,863,874.

On the one hand, that's quite a number. On the other hand, Maryland did what any self-respecting state institution would do. It spent most of the increase.

The AD reported expenses of $67,561,354 for 2014 or a net income of $483,862.

In 2015, the AD spent $84,164,513. Despite that leap in outgoing funds, Maryland still managed to pocket a tidy $2,729,278, or nearly a sixfold increase from the prior year.

Break out the green eye shades

Now, let's roll up our sleeves and take a closer look at some of the details. We'll start with athletics-related student aid, because it is all about the student athletes, right?

ATHLETICALLY RELATED STUDENT AID

2014

2015

Total Men's Teams Student Aid

$5,877,945

$7,813,919

Total Women's Teams Student Aid

$4,078,113

$5,913,842




Total Athletically Related Student Aid

$9,956,058

$13,727,761

Student Athlete Participation Count

550

511

A quick look at this chart provides clear evidence why so many Terrapin Club members received those panicked calls last spring about the contributions needed to retain their priority football seating. In theory, the Terrapin Club should fund 100 percent of this part of the AD bill. If it has not raised enough in contributions or income in any year, the AD needs to shift funds from other areas (such as the recruiting budgets) to assure that the sports are fully funded.

I'll digress for a moment here to provide some information about "fully funding" scholarships. The NCAA proscribes the number of scholarships permitted for each sport it sponsors. It also defines two subsets of sports called "head count" and "equivalency". Most sports fall into the latter category. Head count sports limit the number of athletes that can receive scholarships, but those individuals receive a full scholarship. Here are the head count sports: Football (DI FBS only), Basketball (DI men's and women's), Tennis (DI women only), Gymnastics (DI women only) and Volleyball (DI women only). Thus, while a football roster might have 110 players, only 85 players - the maximum allowed by head count - can receive scholarships.

All the other sports are equivalency sports. In these sports, there is no restriction on how many athletes can be on scholarship, but there is a limit on the number of scholarships a team can have. The NCAA sets the number and the coaches decide how to divide the money. Thus, not all of the 500-plus participating student athletes at Maryland receive athletically related student aid. (The NCAA also proscribes severe limitations to athletes receiving other forms of scholarships to make it difficult to game the system.)

The table below shows the number of scholarships allowed for each sport at Maryland:

SPORT

Scholarship Limit

Baseball

11.7

Basketball (Men's) (Head Count)

13

Basketball (Women's) (Head Count)

15

Cross Country (Women's) Includes Track & Field

12.6

Field Hockey

12

Football (Head Count)

85

Golf (Men's)

4.5

Golf (Women's)

6

Gymnastics (Head Count)

12

Lacrosse (Men's)

12.6

Lacrosse (Women's)

12

Soccer (Men's)

9.9

Soccer (Women's)

14

Softball

12

Tennis (Women's) (Head Count)

8

Track & Field (Men's)

12.6

Track & Field (Women's) Includes Cross Country

12.6

Volleyball (Head Count)

12

Wrestling

9.9

So there you have the total number of athletic scholarships the Terrapin Club is trying to fund. That bill went from just under $10 million to nearly $13.75 million year over year. Further, this number should increase by something on the order of another million dollars for the current year when the recently enacted cost of attendance stipend is added.

Coaches make big the bucks

If I were to guess, I'd guess this comes as no surprise to any of you. The EADA report doesn't break down the salaries of individual coaches but rather provides an aggregate number and average. The average shown in the table is based on full time equivalents. Thus, since Andrew Valmon coaches both the men's and women's track and field teams as well as women's cross country, you see a FTE of 7.5 for men's head coaches and 9.5 for women's teams. Overlap may occur with other coaches (such as strength and conditioning) as well.

COACHING DATA

2014

2015

Men's Teams Head Coaches (FTE)

7

7.5

Women's Teams Head Coaches (FTE)

9

9.5

Men's Teams Average Salary per FTE

$786,095

$792,113

Women's Teams Average Salary per FTE

$231,361

$228,938

Men's Teams Assistant Coaches (FTE)

23

23.25

Women's Teams Assistant Coaches (FTE)

18

19.25

Men's Teams Average Salary per FTE

$164,207

$169,124

Women's Teams Average Salary per FTE

$74,733

$75,800




Total Men's Teams Coaching Salary

$9,279,426

$9,872,984

Total Women's Teams Coaching Salary

$3,427,443

$3,634,060

Total Coaches Salaries

$12,706,869

$13,507,044

Where did the money come from?

One look at the table below confirms what most of us knew and suspected. It's all about football. While men's basketball revenue saw nearly a 24 percent jump, revenue for the football team's first year in the B1G was 42.2 percent higher than it was in the last year in the ACC. Women's sports saw a nice total bump as well, but they remain a relatively small slice of the AD pie.

REVENUE

2014

2015

Football

$21,716,970

$30,891,641

Men's Basketball

$13,525,145

$16,720,500

All Other Men's Teams

$2,428,759

$2,653,668

Total Men's Revenue

$37,670,874

$50,265,809




Women's Basketball

$850,950

$1,033,076

All Other Women's Teams

$3,030,840

$4,399,531

Total Women's Revenue

$3,881,790

$5,432,607




Revenue not allocated by gender or sport

$26,492,552

$31,165,378




TOTAL REVENUE

$68,045,216

$86,863,794

And where did it go?

We saw above that a significant block of the additional money went to paying the scholarships of the student athletes. (Again, a FOIA request might reveal the portion covered by the Terrapin Club and the portion subsidized by the AD.) Coaches salaries also increased but by a relatively modest amount.

Maryland spent considerably more on women's sports in 2015 than it did in 2014 an increase that outstripped additional spending on men's sports in both percentage and raw dollars. But the biggest jump came from that rather mysterious "not allocated" number that ballooned from just shy of $28 million to slightly north of $39 million.

EXPENSES

2014

2015

Football

$15,398,021

$16,151,389

Men's Basketball

$6,775,304

$7,308,359

All Other Men's Teams

$5,877,209

$6,869,483

Total Men's Expenses

$28,050,534

$30,329,231




Women's Basketball

$3,899,238

$4,242,541

All Other Women's Teams

$7,691,171

$10,444,157

Total Women's Expenses

$11,590,409

$14,686,698




Expenses not allocated by gender or sport

$27,920,411

$39,118,587




TOTAL EXPENSES

$67,561,354

$84,134,516

As you would expect, the biggest immediate beneficiary of the move was Maryland's football program. For Maryland, the move to the B1G allowed the Terps to more than double the net contribution from their football program to the AD budget. In 2014, Maryland football reported $21,716,970 in revenue and $15,398,021 in expenses or net revenue of 6,318,949. Football revenue in 2015 was $30,891,641 with expenses of $16,151,389 increasing the net revenue to 14,740,252. However, men's basketball also saw a nice boost in revenue.

While the Terrapins' first NCAA appearance since 2010 likely added a bit of gelt to the coffers, that alone wouldn't account for a nearly $3.2 million increase in gross revenue that led to a $2.6 million jump in net revenue for that sport.

So there you have it. Was Maryland's move worth it? I'll leave that answer to Fifth Harmony:

In part two of this series, we'll take a look at how Maryland compares with the other 13 B1G member institutions.