5 Priceless Facts About the NCAA’s Football Revenue

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Fewer things lay claim on the vast swathes of sworn devotees than college football. Whether it’s because of the alma mater association, the relative (alleged) purity of the sport compared to the professional leagues, or simply the fact that the sport is more fun when there’s over a hundred thousand people in attendance. The largest football-only arena in Texas, a state which is to football as Tibet is to Buddhism, is not used by NFL teams but by the NCAA.

So, with the advent of the 2014 NFL Draft, we’ve decided to take a look at some of the numbers behind the veneer of amateurism — the fiscal concerns that make the unpaid play of college athletes one of the biggest controversies in American sports right now. While the light shone brightly on it during March Madness when Shabazz Napier was interviewed after helping his UConn Huskies win the title and copped to not having enough to eat, Northwestern’s football team also made waves when they brought up the idea of unionization to their school and the NCAA at large.

Thanks to ESPN The Magazine, a subset of the greater ESPN network and news outlet, data for the 2012-2013 NCAA’s football financials — how much teams earned, how much they spent on things, and so forth — have seen the light of day. Here’s five things that we thought were worth pointing out. If you want a link to ESPN’s interactive spending tables, that’ll be at the end.

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