EWU athletic department generates over $4 million in revenue


John Corley

By John Corley, For the Easterner

The EWU athletic department (AD) in 2015 received a majority of its financial support from the university, and according to the AD, nearly 70 percent of its revenue derived from various institutional support and school fees. This type of athletic department financing falls in line with other Big Sky Conference member schools where the majority of financial support for athletics comes from the university itself.

Institutional support for the EWU athletic department includes direct support from the university, meaning money that the university gives to the AD to support athletics. Indirect support comprises of things such as the university paying for facility costs and administrative services. Student fees make up the third part of institutional support and in 2015 all three inputs were valued together at $9,362,540.

By comparison, revenue that came from non-university support, known as generated revenue, earned $4,127,926. This includes things like ticket sales, corporate sponsorships, donations, royalties, licensing and concession sales.

Chad Karthauser is the Associate Athletic Director for Business and Finance and he said schools in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) level of NCAA Division I athletics depend on financial support from the institution.

“In the FCS level we don’t exist unless we have some type of institutional support,” said Karthauser. “Across the board I would say the split is around 75 percent institutional support [for FCS schools].”

John Corley
John Corley

To put it in perspective, according to USA Today, in 2015 Texas A&M’s athletic department generated the most revenue of any public university at a little over $192 million and did not receive anything from the institution in terms of support. Other schools such as Alabama, Michigan, Ohio State and Florida that were each between $145-$168 million in generated revenue did receive some institutional support, however at all of those schools it was less than two percent of total revenue.

Of the 30 percent of EWU’s athletic department revenue that was generated outside of university support in 2015, a select few sports contributed substantially more to it than others.

“Obviously the one that brings in the most revenue around us is football,” said Karthauser. “When we went to go play Washington [State] this year, they can make so much money off a home game that they want to pay to bring us down there and so we made $400,000 for going down there [Pullman] and beating them.”

Football received nearly $3 million in revenue while men’s and women’s basketball was the next highest at around $1.6 million.

Very few public schools in all NCAA Division 1 levels, from FBS (Football Bowl Subdivision), FCS to non-football schools, generated revenue that was any more than $1 million of their total expenses. Many schools in larger conferences, like the SEC’s Kentucky or Big Ten’s Michigan, also barely broke even in terms of their revenue versus expenses.

For EWU in 2015, the athletic department’s expenses exceeded its total revenue by $817,077.

Felix Von Hofe is a senior for EWU’s men’s basketball team and he said even though the school may not have as large of a budget as bigger schools, he still feels like he is supported.

“I think it’s fantastic we definitely get enough money,” said Von Hofe. “If you’re on full scholarship you get enough money that covers rent, food, all that sort of stuff so you don’t go wanting.”

Von Hofe said he even sees how having a smaller budget can be a blessing for the school.

“You’re not getting too much to the point where you’re just blowing it on random stuff; it does teach you to budget,” Von Hofe said.