Forbes released a top 25 not related to on the field performance but performance off the field specifically in piling up cash from respective college football programs.
And all those Nike Golf dri-fits in your closet have finally paid off as the Ole Miss Rebels came in one spot higher than the defending national champion Clemson Tigers in terms of average revenue and profits in the last three years.
Yes, Ole Miss, in the poorest state in the union and with a population under three million people, is among the richest in college football at No. 24 in the nation with average annual revenues of $84 million and profits of $43 million.
The downside is the SEC West is heavily represented in the top 25 including the top spot with the Texas A&M Aggies averaging nearly $150 million in revenue and more than $90 in profit averaged annually.
Alabama (#4), Georgia (#7), Florida (#9) and Auburn (#10) helped round out the top ten and gave the SEC half of the top ten most valuable programs in the sport. Additionally, LSU, Tennessee, South Carolina and Arkansas also ranked in the top 25 between 11th and 16th.
This data comes from the 2015, 2016 and 2017 seasons, which includes one of the most successful seasons in Ole Miss’ recent history with a trip to the Sugar Bowl. It also coincides with tens of millions of dollars from what was then the newly founded SEC Network (Fall 2014), which has led to a massive revenue stream for SEC member institutions.
Now, clearly, this information is coming from what is reported to the NCAA, so take it with a grain of salt as to the absolute accuracy of these figures. The article says it includes donations and contributions in its figures, but I’m assuming that would be the ones that are going to the very legal Ole Miss Athletic Foundation or the Forward Rebels campaign and the like.
Undoubtedly, there will be a firestorm of tweets about players not getting paid due to all of these figures, and again, the Cup stands firmly on the side of “sure, just pay them, and let’s play ball.”
There is a clear designation between the haves and have nots as well in this list. The Big Ten and SEC make up 17 of the top 25 with no other conference having more than three. But ultimately, last year’s champion Clemson was not on the Forbes list in previous seasons, so it is not always necessarily about the money.
The positive news is that when Ole Miss is competitive on a national scene, our boosters, fans, and TV deal make us as relevant in the sport financially as anyone else. Focus on winning and the rest will follow.