Skip to main content

Take a peek inside the finances of an SEC athletic department

The folks in the Ole Miss athletics department have done a huge favor for us inquiring minds. Through their Rebel Sports Biz Twitter account, Ole Miss has published its 2014 fiscal year budget for all to see.

The Rebels will make $70,539,646, and the football program is responsible for well over half of that. Football ticket sales account for over $15 million, nearly eight times the total amount of basketball and baseball tickets combined. SEC revenue, money distributed to the schools through the conference's bowl payouts, television contracts, NCAA Tournament shares and the like, is the largest line item at $21 million and change. Of course, the lion's share of that figure comes from football television contracts with CBS and ESPN, and this figure should skyrocket soon when the SEC Network hits the airwaves.

Overall, 52.1 percent of Ole Miss' total revenue comes from the public's desire to watch Ole Miss and SEC football in person or on television.

The other major cash cow is the annual donation fund, which will bring in $12 million, just over 17 percent of the total haul. The only other line items to top four percent-besides "other contributions/revenue"-were student fees ($2.9 million), multi-media rights and sponsorships ($2.5 million), merchandising and licensing ($2.275 million) and apparel/soft drink contracts ($2.224 million).

On the expenses side, Ole Miss spent $24.6 million on salaries and scholarships, and more than $5 million apiece on student-athlete support and facilities and event management. At the bottom of the totem poll sits compliance, occupying 0.8 percent of the budget at $578,299. Only the band/cheer/dance squads got a smaller piece of the pie at $482,837 and 0.7 percent of the overall budget.

We hope Ole Miss continues to peel back the curtain like this, and wish more programs would do the same. Should Ole Miss provide its 2015 budget at this one time next year, here's one guarantee: it certainly won't be any smaller.