When USA Today released its annual NCAA school-by-school finances report, you probably dashed right over there and feverishly scrolled around for the Syracuse Orange. Then you saw that it was just for public schools, and you moved on with your day.
Perhaps you shouldn’t have, though.
While we didn’t magically discover any data around Syracuse’s finances, we can probably ballpark some guesses based on conference averages and other teams in our general #BRAND solar system.
SB Nation ran down each conference’s averages, and the ACC came in fourth at $98,188,650 for 2015-16. That was far below the SEC, which was first at $132,926,762. But it did have some caveats — namely that the ACC has more private schools than every other power conference, and the lack of those schools in these rankings won’t do them any favors.
Along with Syracuse, the ACC numbers are without the figures for Boston College, Duke, Miami, Notre Dame (sans football) and Wake Forest. BC and Wake (and SU) may not put up some huge numbers, and Notre Dame doesn’t either without football. But Duke and Miami certainly take home a decent income from athletics.
Guessing at where the Orange fall, with a roundabout adjusted ACC figured of around $108 million per school, Syracuse probably finds itself in the 35-40 range nationally. Those schools made anywhere from $83 million to $94 million from 2015-16. It includes programs like Maryland, Kansas, Arizona and Rutgers. It’s also a tad above Virginia Tech -- so maybe it’s giving SU basketball too much credit?
In any case, the figure will go up for the ACC as revenues increase with the ESPN-owned conference network in 2019. We don’t know that figure either, but we do know that the SEC, Big Ten and Pac-12 numbers are calculated with those included. So at the very least, every ACC school should be taking home another $3-4 million per year from TV, with more seemingly likely.
Jason Kirk does point out one of the key takeaways from the data, however, which should influence how you digest the full range of numbers and our very rough guesses: college sports accounting is fuzzy, and focused on schools reporting less than they actually make.
Now, that’s probably not the case for the SEC, which loves to brag about its earning capabilities. But for everybody else? Maybe there’s some tamping down going on.
In any case, the Orange appear to be pretty flush with cash right now, which should make you pretty pleased with how things are looking in the future.