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USA Today Breaks Down Arkansas' Athletic Department Finances In Annual Report

How does Arkansas stack up to the rest of the country financially?

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We're here to talk straight cash, yo.

It's that time of year when USA Today updates their database of financial reporting for college athletic departments.

The basics:

  • Arkansas reported revenue of $99,770,840. That's good for 14th best in the nation and 6th in the SEC.
  • UA reported expenses of $92,131,933. That's 20th most in the country, 8th in the SEC.

That's good for a profit of $7,638,907.  It also means Arkansas could certainly be competitive within an NCAA structure that allowed for additional benefits to athletes.There always seems to be some concern that Arkansas is too small and/or too poor to be competitive in such a way, but it can clearly be done.

This is especially true considering the upcoming sources of revenue that haven't been available yet. The SEC Network, the reduction of  football games at War Memorial, and the return to the JerryDome should all provide financial boosts.

What's staggering is that as the highly publicized revenues have increased dramatically (more than doubled since $47.3 million was the number as recently as 2005) - particularly with newer TV contracts - expenses have increased right along with them.

Coaches salaries have also more than doubled. Arkansas spent just $15.5 million on all their coaches' salaries in 2005 but now spend just under $34.9 million. The "Master Facilities Plan" has driven up cost of facilities and grounds from just under $9 million to $14.8 million.

Even the "Other Expenses" category, which USA Today defines as "Includes guarantees paid to other schools, severance payments to past coaches and staff, recruiting, team travel, equipment and uniforms, game day and camp expenses, fundraising and marketing costs, spirit group support, medical expense/insurance and conference dues. It also includes expenses charged to athletics by the university, such as building maintenance." has nearly doubled from $17.7 million in 2005 to $34 million last year.

Those expenses have been offset in part with the SEC revenue generated from television deals, but Arkansas has also seen ticket sales and contributions rise significantly as well. Ticket revenue has nearly doubled since 2006, when it was just $21.1 million, compared to $39.4 million last year. Similarly, contributions were a relatively paltry $3.3 million in 2005 but were $19.4 million last year. Contributions actually dipped in 2013 from the all-time high of $22.9 million in 2012. You have to wonder how much of that 2012 bump came from donations during the football donation window between the Cotton Bowl victory and ended the week before the motorcycle ride.

Say what you want about Jeff Long, but it's hard to argue he hasn't positioned the UA athletic department in a place that will allow it to be competitive in the coming years. As much as fans have hated paying them, it's difficult to imagine what the Hogs would look like in today's game with ticket sales and donation rates at 2005 levels. So I do think Long deserves credit for that and for operating the department in the black.  Now he just needs these coaches he's spent so much money on to win some games.