Attention fellow numbers geeks and/or fans of college sports in our fair commonwealth. Courtesy of a revealing USA Today database, we can glimpse inside the finances of public university athletic departments not only in Virginia but also nationwide.
The newspaper collected information from 227 schools, and while accounting practices vary, there are some curious trends. To wit:
Virginia Tech is among 22 of the 53 public schools in the Bowl Championship Series automatic-qualifying conferences (ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pacific 12 and Southeastern) to report a surplus each of the last six years. North Carolina State is the only other ACC school that can boast the same.
This the Hokies did — $66.91 million in 2010-11 revenue, $62.59 million in expenses — without unduly taxing regular students. In 2010-11, only $7.24 million in student fees, about $313 per undergraduate, went to athletics.
That speaks to effective fiscal management by athletic director Jim Weaver and his administrative team. It also speaks to Tech fans, who contributed $18.98 million in ticket revenue.
Virginia was far less-reliant on ticket revenue in 2010-11, generating $12.97 million with the same number of home football games (seven) as the Hokies. That represented a 15.7-percent decline in ticket sales from 2009-10.
But with $78.44 million in revenue and a $6.0-million surplus last year, the Cavaliers are not paupers by any stretch. Their revenue trailed only Florida State's $78.58 million among the ACC's eight public schools and ranked 25th nationally.
Nearly half of Virginia's revenue, $34.5 million, came from private donors, more than double 2006's $14.57 million and attributable, in part, to pledges for John Paul Jones Arena and contributions connected to the reseating of football season-ticket holders.
Virginia Tech, by comparison, reported $15.85 million in donations for 2010-11. Meanwhile, Virginia relied far more on student fees than did the Hokies.
More than $12.97 million in fees went to Cavaliers sports. That's about $940 per undergraduate, triple Virginia Tech's $313. The only ACC school more dependent on student fees was Maryland at $15.9 million in 2010-11.
Salaries for head coaches and their assistants are escalating nationally — Alabama's rose 84.6 percent from 2006 to '11 — but Virginia and Virginia Tech were not extravagant by market standards. The Cavaliers increased pay 36.6 percent, the Hokies 27.4 percent.
Absent significant football television revenue, the state's other Division I schools have vastly different budget dynamics.
William and Mary reported a 61.7-percent revenue increase from 2006-11, to $22.7 million, more than $4 million less than Virginia spent on coaches' salaries alone. The Tribe has operated in the black the last six years, remarkable for a department that offers such a broad-based program (21 sports) for so few students (6,071 undergraduates).
More than $10 million in student fees covered nearly half of William and Mary's 2010-11 budget. By percentage of expenses, only six other Championship Subdivision football schools were less subsidized, including Virginia Military Institute.
Old Dominion's 72.7-percent subsidy was more in line with most FCS programs. The Monarchs' expenses more than doubled from 2006-11, from $13.99 million to $30.91 million, clearly a function of adding football.
But football also has ratcheted up contributions. ODU reported $1.17 million in donations in 2006, $3.57 million in 2011.
At last week's news conference to announce the Monarchs' move to Conference USA and the Bowl Subdivision, athletic director Wood Selig and university president John Broderick said they have received additional pledges of more than $3 million to help finance the upgrade.
These days, whether working at Longwood ($7.9 million budget) or Texas ($150.3 million), presidents, athletic directors and coaches need to double as fund raisers.