Publish date:

The highest-earning NAIA football programs are...

Last week we took a look at finances at the FBS and FCS levels. Yesterday it was Division II's turn. Now we'll dip out of the NCAA for a bit and take a look at NAIA.

As a refresher, the U.S. Department of Education requires athletics departments across the nation to report their financials, which it then publishes via the Equity in Athletics Disclosures Act. This is for every sport, across every level, dating back to 2003.

But while the the Department of Education requires schools to report their finances, there is no uniformity in how those numbers are reported. Where one school might classify its football season tickets as football-specific money, others might put that in the general athletics fund -- and we have no way to tell. We simply enter what we want to get out of the database, the database gives us a number, and that's all we get. (The numbers below come from the 2018-19 fiscal year.)

NAIA schools will tell you they are on a competitive level with Division II, and the numbers largely back that up. Grand Valley State led D2 with $3.36 million in reported income, and Saint Francis leads NAIA with $3.3 million. All of D2's top 25 managed to stay above the $2 million mark while only eight NAIA schools did, but everyone in the NAIA Top 25 remained above $1.5 million.

Without further ado, here are the top 25 (self-reported) money-earning football programs in NAIA for the 2018 season:

1. Saint Francis (Ind.) -- $3.3 million
2. Midland (Neb.) -- $3.16 million
3. Benedictine (Kan.) -- $2.86 million
4. Lyon College (Ark.) -- $2.65 million
5. Baker (Kan.) -- $2.55 million
6. Georgetown College (Ky.) -- $2.52 million
7. Bethel (Tenn.) -- $2.41 million
8. Missouri Baptist -- $2.16 million
9. Grand View (Iowa) -- $1.98 million
10. Arizona Christian -- $1.92 million
11. Cumberland (Tenn.) -- $1.87 million
12. Faulkner (Ala.) -- $1.85 million
13. Olivet Nazarene (Ill.) -- $1.82 million
14. Siena Heights (Mich.) -- $1.81 million
15. Bluefield College (Va.) -- $1.805 million
16. Texas Wesleyan -- $1.69 million
17. Southwestern (Kan.) -- $1.64 million
18. Evangel (Mo.) -- $1.6 million
19. Tabor College (Kan.) -- $1.58 million
20. Ave Maria (Fla.) -- $1.57 million
21. Union College (Ky.) -- $1.56 million
22. Cumberlands (Ky.) -- $1.55 million
23. Sterling College (Kan.) -- $1.54 million
25. Pikeville (Ky.) -- $1.539 million