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Originally published Tuesday, October 20, 2009 at 9:58 PM

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College sports | Study shows most athletic departments lose money

Most of the nation's college athletic departments are still trying to get out of the red zone. The NCAA's latest report on revenues and...

The Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS — Most of the nation's college athletic departments are still trying to get out of the red zone.

The NCAA's latest report on revenues and expenses, released Tuesday, showed fewer than 25 percent of all Football Bowl Subdivision schools made money in 2007-08, while the remaining 302 schools competing in Division I struggled to break even.

Twenty-five of 119 FBS schools reported overall profits, an increase from 19 in 2006.

The report's author, Dan Fulks, the faculty representative at Transylvania University in Lexington, Ky., described the results as a basic lesson in college sports' class system.

"If you're not selling a bunch of tickets and you don't have a large alumni-booster base making contributions, and you're not in the right conference, you have very little chance of showing net positive revenue," Fulks said in a statement on the NCAA Web site.

The NCAA collected data from 2004 through 2008 but did not identify individual schools or teams in the report.

Instead, the governing body identified highs and lows with median and mean numbers. The results are broken into those of Football Bowl Subdivision schools, Football Championship Subdivision schools and those schools that do not play football.

The recession, which began in December 2007, has had an impact on budgets, too.

With declining ticket sales and decreasing donations from alumni and boosters, allocations from states and schools account for 30 percent of athletic-department budgets, up from 20 percent in 2006. Expenditures for athletics from the overall school budgets have remained relatively constant at about 5 percent over five years, according to the study.

The greatest expenses, as usual, are scholarships, salaries and benefits.

Football coaches in the FBS have a median annual salary of $1.095 million, according to the report. Men's basketball coaches are making $822,000 while women's basketball coaches are paid $277,000.

Of the 119 FBS football teams, 68 (57.1 percent) finished the year in the black.

Of the 119 FBS schools playing men's basketball, 67 teams made a profit. One of those same 119 schools made money in women's basketball in 2008.

FBS football teams recorded a median net profit of $1.95 million. Men's basketball at the same schools produced a median profit of $518,000. No other sport at the FBS schools, measured by median values, showed a program in the black.

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