USA Today's website offers up a fascinating database regarding NCAA athletic programs' revenues and expenditures since the 2004-05 academic year.
The catalog features 99 FBS athletic departments' income and expenses for six academic years, and though 21 members of college football's highest level are not included (most are private universities), the results are truly intriguing.
Beyond the totals for money-in and money-out, the database (which was contrived by USA Today submitting public-records requests to the institutions listed) further breaks each category into an interesting array of line-item sub-categories.
The revenue side includes money generated by ticket sales, student fees, direct institutional support, conference monies and merchandising royalties (and more), while the expenditure side features line-items such as support staff, athletic student aid, travel, recruiting, spirit groups, coaching salaries, etc.
The following slideshow utilizes the data presented within the database to rank the 99 included FBS schools, in terms of athletic department net revenue (operating revenue less operating expenses) for the 2009-10 academic year.
Though it would also be appealing to present a list of who brings in the most money (which is Texas with over $143 million versus Arkansas State who comes in at No. 99 with total revenue of under $10 million), gross income only tells half the story.
In truth, it takes a lot more cash to run the athletic department at Ohio State than it does at Idaho, but you take the discussion to an entirely different plane when you start talking about how much money they clear above expenses (Ohio State came out $434,422 ahead in 2009-10, while Idaho cleared $24,651).
These stats obviously don't tell the whole story, but they sure are food for thought, especially given the current discussions of money-driven realignment.