Forgive Texas A&M if the university adopts former Aggies quarterback Johnny Manziel’s notorious money celebration as its official slogan, since the school is officially college football’s king of cash.
Texas A&M ended in-state rival University of Texas’ reign as the sport’s most valuable team in the latest Forbes magazine rankings, which were determined by average annual revenues and expenses from the 2014, 2015 and 2016 seasons, as reported to the NCAA and Department of Education.
The Aggies generated an annual average of $148 million in revenue and $107 million in profit, thanks to a nation-high $260 million in contributions during that time period, Forbes reported. Those contributions — more than $100 million more than the next-highest figure (Florida’s $138 million) and more than twice that of Texas ($123 million) — helped fund Kyle Field’s $485 million 2015 renovation.
The $107 million in profit generated by Texas A&M is more than all but 11 programs created in revenue.
The 20 most profitable college football programs
Here are the nation’s 20 most profitable college football programs, via Forbes:
1. Texas A&M: $107 million
2. Texas: $87 million
3. Michigan: $75 million
4. Oklahoma: $72 million
5. Notre Dame: $72 million
6. Ohio State: $69 million
7. Florida: $67 million
8. Auburn: $61 million
9. Tennessee: $60 million
10. Alabama: $59 million
11. LSU: $56 million
12. Georgia: $55 million
13. Oregon: $54 million
14. Arkansas: $54 million
15. South Carolina: $50 million
16. Penn State: $48 million
17. USC: $47 million
18. Nebraska: $46 million
19. Wisconsin: $43 million
20. Ole Miss: $42 million
Texas A&M’s reign may not last long
Considering the Aggies haven’t finished a season ranked in the top 20 since Manziel left following the 2013 season and hasn’t won a bowl game since the following year, Texas A&M’s status as college football’s most valuable program comes as somewhat of a surprise. There is some question as to whether the school will stay atop these rankings when post-renovation contributions return to normal.
SEC rules the rankings
A&M was one of 10 SEC teams in the top 25 on Forbes’ list of most valuable football programs. The Big Ten placed seven teams on the list, followed by the Big 12 (3), Pac-12 (3) and ACC (1). Naturally, Notre Dame was the lone independent school on the list, raking in $112 million in revenue, good for seventh.
Should players share the profits?
This list raises more questions about the NCAA’s unwillingness to allow college athletes to profit from the millions they generate annually. Jimbo Fisher, who Texas A&M signed to a 10-year, $75 million contract after last season, is the nation’s second-highest paid college football coach. You’ll recall that Manziel was suspended for the first half of the 2013 season opener for inadvertently violating NCAA rules. He allegedly signed autographs for profit, although the NCAA found no evidence to prove it.
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