College Sports Funding Sets Record in Post-COVID-19 NIL Era: Data Viz –

Despite recent concerns that the COVID-19 pandemic and increased marketing rights for athletes could usher in a new era of austerity, the athletics departments of major universities are spending more than ever before. I’m here.

Schools across the country recently completed annual income and expense reports for the 2021-22 school year. This is the first full college season under his new NIL rules and the first season with minimal game postponements or cancellations since the outbreak of the pandemic. in the coming weeks, Sportico continue to collect these reports from public schools and enter them into the Intercollegiate Finance Database.

An analysis of 63 public FBS schools found that budgets increased with inflation, and in some cases exceeded inflation. Topline athletics spending for this cohort increased by 7.3% in 2021-22 compared to 2018-19, and average program spending increased from $86.4 million in 2018-19. increased to $92.7 million in 2021-22.Revenue generated—this is Sportico Excluding items such as tuition and transfer fees from institutions, it increased at a similar rate from $74.2 million in the last pre-corona season to $80.6 million in 2021-22 (an 8.5% jump). .

This overall trend is also reflected in the NCAA’s latest financial disclosures. Last week, the governing body released its 2022 report, and its business is largely back to pre-pandemic normal. Revenue from television contracts is at record levels, as is revenue from hosting championship tournaments and his NITs. The NCAA would have posted record gross revenue in 2022 were it not for his $72 million net loss on that investment.

Overall, the findings defied the apocalyptic noise that came out of the sports sector two years ago. raised An existential threat to their program, they predicted that the economic model of intercollegiate athletics was “forever changed.” NCAA officials used similar language in their organization’s fight to prevent athletes from profiting from their name, image, and likeness (NIL).

Early data indicate that these fears, real or imaginary, may have been unfounded. Below are the latest sports sector data details.

total expenses

After a massive drop in 2020-21, sports budgets have rebounded last year. The 7.3% increase in average spending from 2018-19 to 2021-22 roughly equates to CPI inflation of 8.3% for the period spanning the beginning of these fiscal years, as measured by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

However, some specific categories of spending did not fully recover after the pandemic cuts. The 16% reduction remains in 2021-22 compared to the previous year.

coach salary

Coaches did not bear the brunt of cost cuts in the sports sector during the pandemic, and they also received salary increases in the first full year when earnings were unaffected by COVID-19.

Total compensation for football coaches has increased by 18.2% since pre-pandemic, far outpacing the growth rate for non-soccer coaches, whose salaries increased by 12.6%. Additionally, the football coach’s compensation and bonuses from his games, especially bowls, increased him 37% on average over any other reported expense category.

coaches severance

Coaches were getting paid more than ever in the 2021-22 season, but non-coaches were getting paid more, too.Retirement benefits increased by 31.6% at he 63 colleges Sportico It is the second most common of all cost categories analyzed. Most of this increase was concentrated in a few schools. For example, the University of Connecticut paid former men’s basketball head his coach Kevin Ory his more than $11 million in 2022. The university lost the case in arbitration after trying to fire Olly for “good cause.”


At the height of the pandemic, video calls replaced many in-depth campus visits that might have occurred in a normal year. As a result, hiring costs plummeted in his 2020-21, but recovered the following year. Overall, recruitment costs increased by 5.7% from 2018-19 to 2021-22.

But the numbers don’t tell the whole story. Football recruiting costs jumped 17.5% in 2021-22, compared with three years ago, but non-football recruiting costs actually declined. The trend was more pronounced at Power Five schools, where football recruitment costs are more than 20% above pre-pandemic levels.


Due to revenue shortfalls due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some schools and their athletic departments have sought quick capital through loans. However, debt over the last 36 months has increased much faster on the academic side. In these 63 schools, institutional debt increased by 13.5%, while athletics-specific debt increased by only 3.1%.

Emily Caron contributed to this story.

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