UT’s gridiron money machine among most profitable

After spending millions of dollars recently to buy out the contracts of former coaches and an
TENNESSEE+HOME+FIELD.jpgathletic director, one might think the University of Tennessee Athletic Department would have financial issues.

One would be wrong.

According to a study by BusinessofCollegeSports.com, a website produced by attorney Kristi Dosh, UT benefits from having one of the most profitable football programs in the known universe.

UT football earned a rock star profit of $39,236,601 in the 2009-2010 school year,  fifth best in the Southeastern Conference and No. 8 in the country, according to Dosh, who also writes for SportsMoney on Forbes.com. That was a profit of about $102,983 per point scored by an Vols team that finished 7-6 and lost to Virginia Tech in the Chik-fil-A Bowl.

In the private sector, that kind of profit would make even the most cranky CEO dance with joy.

In case you’re wondering, Texas’ football team was the No. 1 college money maker in 2009-2010 with a profit of $68,830,484. Georgia was tops in the SEC with a profit of $52,529,885.

Dosh’s numbers are based on financial data colleges file with the U.S. Department of Education. She notes that there is some wiggle room in how colleges attribute revenues and account for expenses, but any way you cut it, there’s big money in college sports.

Dosh offers a ton of interesting data on the college sports money machines. In addition to the football and basketball profits, there is a break down of finances by conferences; a chart showing how much companies spend to put their names on stadiums; and a section on bowl game finances.

BTW: Louisville has the most profitable basketball program in the country earning a tidy profit of $16,800,234 in 2009-2010.

Click here for a list of the biggest money makers in college football and basketball.

Photo: Neyland Stadium, UT’s home field.