In case anyone was unsure, the Michigan State Spartans football program is making the university a lot of money.
Forbes released their list of the top 25 most valuable football programs in the country. The rankings used both the three-year revenue average and three-year profit average. The Spartans came in as the 22nd most valuable in the country.
According to Forbes, the Spartans averaged $87 million in revenue over the last three seasons and $44 million in profit over the same period.
The Forbes list has the Spartans significantly more valuable than defending national champion Clemson Tigers, who were valued at $77 million and $27 million respectively.
Despite their high ranking compared to schools across the country, the Spartans are a middle-of-the-pack program in the Big Ten. MSU was the sixth ranked program according to Forbes. The Spartans came in behind Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State, Nebraska and Iowa. They also were less profitable over the last three years than Wisconsin.
These rankings come at an interesting time for college football. On one hand, attendance is down across the country, leaving many programs to investigate ways to bring fans back into the stadium. At the same time, there is a greater push than ever to allow student-athletes an opportunity to earn money based on their success.
After California state legislature passed a bill allowing NCAA athletes to earn money based on their name, images and likeliness, the state’s governor is expected to sign the bill into law. The NCAA is likely to push back against the law, already calling it “unconstitutional” and “harmful” according to the LA Times.
NCAA President Mark Emmert warned of “dire consequences” if the bill becomes law. Former Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow agrees, although his argument is a bit hypocritical on its face.
With a football and basketball program that has had as much combined success as any other university in the country, the Spartans athletic department is in no short-supply of money.
A good amount of that money has gone to the biggest names at the university. Both Tom Izzo and Mark Dantonio make over $4 million a year.