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Alabama Athletics Report $143.4 Million in Revenue for 2012-13 Year

Brian LeighFeatured ColumnistOctober 22, 2013

Roll (-ing in the dough) Tide!

The University of Alabama's athletic program reported its largest revenue increase in three years on Tuesday, bringing in $143.4 million during the 2012-13 year.

Per Jon Solomon of

The University of Alabama reported $143.4 million in athletic revenue during 2012-13, up 16 percent from a year earlier. It's Alabama largest revenue increase in three years.

In its annual Equity in Athletics Data Analysis report filed this month to the U.S. Department of Education, Alabama listed a surplus of $21.1 million when not factoring in $13.1 million from debt-service payments. EADA does not require debt service to be reported.

The $143.4 million figure is an increase of almost $20 million over last year, when Alabama placed fourth in the country with $124.1 million.

Though it's not clear where Alabama placed in 2012-13, its revenue would have been the second-highest in America during 2011-12, behind only Ohio State but ahead of Michigan and Auburn.

Per Solomon's piece, Alabama's athletic revenue is up 43 percent since Nick Saban's first BCS national championship in 2009 and 112 percent since Mike Shula left the sidelines in 2006.

Though the basketball program in Tuscaloosa is still mostly irrelevant, this rise in cash flow is no coincidence. Saban has invigorated not just a football program, but an entire athletic department, turning it back into one of the nation's most profitable.

Still think he's not worth that contract?

In 2013, though, it's hard to look at these numbers and not think immediately about the hot-button issue of player compensation. In light of the Ed O'Bannon lawsuit and the general zeitgeist of college sports, figures this prolific—and the fact that they continue to grow—make it hard to justify the players receiving no compensation beyond a scholarship.

$143.4 million is a pretty big number, and none of it would exist without the men and women who risk their bodies out on the field.

Why does someone else deserve to pocket it? 

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