You're not going to believe this, but Alabama's football program generates a lot of money. You may not actually believe the actual dollar figures the Tide brought in. (Well, you've already read the headline by now so.... let's just move on.)
The Tide has filed documents with the NCAA, obtained by AL.com, that show its football program produced $103.9 million in revenue in 2016. That figure represents a new record and more than 63 percent of Alabama's overall athletics revenue.
Here's where that $103.9 million came from:
Ticket sales -- $37.3 million
Media rights -- $20.8 million
Donations -- $20.4 million
SEC distributions -- $7.3 million
Bowl revenue -- $5.3 million
Royalties -- $1.4 million
And here's how the Tide spent it:
Coaching salaries -- $14 million
Bowl expenses -- $8.8 million
Scholarships -- $4.6 million
Fundraising/marketing -- $4.5 million
Game expenses -- $3.8 million
Guarantees -- $3.6 million
Overhead/administration -- $3.1 million
Support staff -- $2.9 million
Miscellaneous -- $2.2 million
Travel -- $1.9 million
Recruiting -- $1.7 million
Medical expenses/insurance -- $1.6 million
Equipment -- $1.5 million
Meals -- $500,000
Severance -- $300,000
Those expenses accounted for $56.2 million, which translates into a $47 million profit. That sounds like an insane figure.... until you remember LSU recorded a $55 million profit in 2015.
Each school employs creative accounting within its athletics department, and we can't know if LSU asks its bean counters to jump through the same hoops as Alabama's, and vice versa.
What is interesting, though, is the $2.9 million Alabama paid its support staff. That's a figure that compares with what mid-level FBS programs pay their nine on-field assistants. According to the USA Today coaching salary database, the Tide's support staff falls in line just behind NC State and ahead of Minnesota, Maryland, Utah and Wisconsin.
That's just yet another example of how Alabama is playing one game, and most of the Power 5 is playing another one.