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Student athletic fees vital to D1 HBCU athletic budgets

Student athletic fees vital to D1 HBCU athletic budgets

In the landscape of college athletics at the Division I level, Morgan State is one of the have-nots. The Baltimore, Maryland-based school reported revenues of just over $11 million, 208th out of 220 schools in the latest USA Today report.

Even among HBCUs, that is just ninth overall, and fifth in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. The bulk of that money comes from a source that many schools around the country, including HBCUs, rely heavily upon, student athletic fees.

MSU reported $8.16 million collected in athletic fees in 2017 in the report, most amongst HBCUs. In other words, money collected directly for athletics from its 7k-plus enrolled students accounted for greater than three-fourths of its overall budget. Those fees are needed to make up for ticket sales ($128k) that rank lowest amongst HBCUs that field college football teams and over $4 million spent on scholarships for student-athletes.

By contrast, Tennessee-Martin ranked just above Morgan State in terms of revenue, pulling in just under $2.5 million on student fees.

 

HBCU Aggies Chauncey Caldwell

NCCU freshman Chauncey Caldwell on the move.



North Carolina A&T, also a member of the MEAC, comes in just behind MSU at $7.39 million raised via student-fees. That number represents better than half of the school’s $13.07 million reported revenue, but it represents an increase in over $3 million in that category since 2010, while the school’s total enrollment increased from 9,151 to 11,177 according to US News and World Report.

YEAR TICKETS GIFTS RIGHTS / LICENSING STUDENT FEES SCHOOL FUNDS OTHER TOTAL
2017 $1,119,410 $356,539 $1,021,832 $7.394,471 $1,993,134 $1,190,108 $13,075,494
2016 $1,275,157 $253,660 $667,686 $6,850,644 $1,627,652 $1,629,038 $12,303,837
2015 $1,014,481 $436,408 $742,833 $6,753,379 $2,001,776 $965,285 $11,914,162
2014 $818,161 $296,412 $921,457 $6,132,790 $2,265,947 $948,739 $11,383,506
2013 $980,032 $804,999 $999,856 $5,423,388 $3,917,503 $410,148 $12,535,926
2012 $826,858 $1,127,996 $605,641 $5,086,432 $2,750,453 $783,029 $11,180,409
2011 $861,311 $661,705 $590,792 $4,566,868 $1,133,560 $1,426,495 $9,240,731
2010 $888,444 $673,391 $779,196 $4,260,864 $1,173,595 $1,133,818 $8,909,308


A&T’s rival and closest MEAC neighbor, North Carolina Central, is close behind with $4.66 million generated from its students. If NCCU has its way, that number will increase as it has requested approval for an $847 athletic fee to the UNC Board of Governors. NCCU officials say it is needed to cut the university’s cost of $3.6 million that it spent in 2017. NCCU’s athletic fees have already increased more than $2.5 million since 2005 when it was in Division II. A&T has requested a slight increase as well.

YEAR TICKETS GIFTS RIGHTS / LICENSING STUDENT FEES SCHOOL FUNDS OTHER TOTAL
2017 $610,794 $924,314 $1,318,449 $4,661,050 $3,646,074 $2,401,252 $13,561,933
2016 $469,246 $875,225 $878,355 $4,627,901 $3,052,729 $1,650,908 $11,554,364
2015 $656,368 $542,943 $1,000,749 $4,552,673 $3,804,926 $1,263,074 $11,820,733
2014 $360,376 $332,977 $1,052,783 $4,794,357 $2,924,508 $1,164,059 $10,629,060
2013 $401,782 $38,160 $502,869 $4,534,002 $2,346,875 $1,346,180 $9,169,868
2012 $351,645 $32,890 $492,978 $4,113,803 $2,152,023 $1,405,233 $8,548,572
2011 $573,474 $24,375 $617,129 $3,886,258 $2,439,867 $1,229,777 $8,770,880
2010 $283,970 $35,930 $336,261 $3,745,285 $892,590 $1,715,081 $7,009,117
2009 $425,539 $132,259 $167,090 $3,259,781 $886,879 $1,756,066 $6,627,614
2008 $336,528 $210,450 $177,675 $3,126,173 $669,655 $935,876 $5,456,357
2007 $596,587 $588,549 $290,404 $2,545,625 $513,980 $135,514 $4,670,659
2006 $262,238 $386,354 $170,038 $2,234,750 $336,658 $56,430 $3,446,468
2005 $365,614 $283,474 $83,503 $2,054,011 $382,853 $5,894 $3,175,349


Reported student fees

1. Morgan State $8.6 million
2. North Carolina A&T $7.39 million
3. Norfolk State $6.28 million
4. North Carolina Central $4.66 million
5. FAMU $3.8 million
6. Jackson State $3.23 million
7. Prairie View $3 million
8. Tennessee State $2.54 million
9. Southern $2.5 million
10. Maryland-Eastern Shore $2.46 million
11. Coppin State $2.07 million
12. Grambling $1.5 million
13. UAPB $3 million
14. Alcorn State $1.15 million
15. Mississippi Valley State $867k
16. Alabama A&M 3


 

fees

Grambling’s Charles Wright celebrates his team’s win at The Celebration Bowl.

Hard To Tell

Some schools such as Alabama State, Delaware State and South Carolina State don’t report student athletic fees, however, as these numbers are likely represented in the “school funds” reporting. ASU, the second highest revenue-generating school on the list, reported $10.6 million in school funds.

Norfolk State is an interesting example. Its $6.28 million in athletic fees ranks third behind Morgan State and A&T, but that represents a drop of nearly $4 million from its 2011 total. That dropoff can be attributed to a 2015 law that limited FCS schools to an 80 percent max of their budgets derived off student fees. That has resulted in the school increasing its funding of the athletic department to $4.1 million in 2017 after spending nothing in 2015. In fact, since 2015, NSU has spent over $13 million from school funds on its athletic department.

Perhaps the school that has benefited most from an athletic fee is Grambling State. Prior to 2015, Grambling students did not have an athletic fee. In 2014 students voted yes to an athletic fee after voting it down a year prior. The students’ decision came on the heels of Grambling’s highly-publicized football mutiny in which players decided to boycott subpar facilities and coaching changes by not getting on a bus to Jackson State.

GSU now generates over $1 million from its students in athletics fees, which coincides with a scholarship funding increase of nearly $1 million from 2014. It has reaped the fruits of the increase with back-to-back SWAC football titles as well as a men’s basketball regular season title and the women’s basketball tournament titles in 2017-18.

YEAR TICKETS GIFTS RIGHTS / LICENSING STUDENT FEES SCHOOL FUNDS OTHER TOTAL
2017 $1,377,036 $264,242 $304,047 $1,050,050 $2,837,394 $2,020,840 $7,853,609
2016 $1,015,242 $175,916 $424,233 $1,008,785 $2,351,200 $1,223,347 $6,198,723
2015 $751,257 $102,198 $477,861 $995,291 $1,851,200 $1,189,603 $5,367,410
2014 $744,976 $0 $389,121 $0 $2,920,597 $1,334,674 $5,389,368
2013 $925,257 $2,500 $577,583 $0 $3,633,769 $1,136,959 $6,276,068
2012 $1,525,892 $87,500 $858,346 $0 $1,969,671 $626,639 $5,068,048
2011 $1,570,374 $0 $961,762 $0 $2,890,963 $789,815 $6,212,914
2010 $977,891 $0 $508,060 $0 $3,158,047 $820,616 $5,464,614
2009 $1,247,706 $0 $303,316 $0 $3,999,965 $647,156 $6,198,143
2008 $1,440,647 $518,170 $533,923 $0 $3,220,501 $886,655 $6,599,896
2007 $1,050,741 $761,443 $297,309 $0 $2,861,835 $843,125 $5,814,453
2006 $1,197,472 $7,797 $692,054 $0 $2,650,502 $823,774 $5,371,599
2005 $1,592,128 $17,009 $435,193 $0 $3,077,425 $429,205 $5,550,960

 

The lowest reported revenue generated from student fees among HBCUs was Alabama A&M. AAMU collected $342k in fees from its students in 2017. That’s more than $2 million fewer than Maryland-Eastern Shore, who doesn’t have a football program. That number is in line with the $3.29 million in revenue it reported, fewest among the 230 schools on the list. In 2015 that number was over $10 million, along with expenses. Unfortunately for AAMU, the expenses have not dipped along with revenue, as it spent $9.4 million.

HBCU Gameday Founder. Veteran journalist/blogger.

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