At a time in which some (fans, coaches, athletic directors, media members, school presidents, and politicians) are upset with the way that NIL has changed college sports, it’s rather hypocritical how that same crowd often falls silent when USA Today Sports releases their annual findings — and discovered that Power Five conferences combined to make $3.3 billion in revenue for the fiscal year of 2022.

Teenagers keep making adults wealthy.

According to the report, in 2017, 2018, and 2019, the combined revenues for the Big Ten, Big 12, SEC, ACC, and Pac-12 increased by an annual average of about 8.4 percent. And if that would have been maintained — if not for a global pandemic — in 2020, 2021, and 2022, the projected numbers for fiscal 2022 would have been more than $3.7 billion.

Here’s a look at the numbers by conference:

  • Big Ten: $845.6 million — payout, $58.8 million (except Nebraska, Maryland & Rutgers for being newer members)
  • SEC: $802 million — payout, around $49.9 million
  • ACC: $617 million — payout, $37.9 million to $41.3 million
  • Pac-12: $580.9 million — payout, $37 million
  • Big 12: $480.6 million — payout, $42 million to $44.9 million

For comparison’s sake, here were the revenues for the Power Five in fiscal 2019:

  • Big 12: $439 million — payouts ranged between $38 million and $42 million
  • ACC: $455.4 million — payouts ranged between $27.6 million to $34 million
  • SEC: $721 million — payouts were near $45.3 million
  • Big Ten: $781.5 million — payouts of $55.6 were made to the 12 longest-standing members of the 14-team conference
  • PAC-12: $530.4 million — payouts were $32.2 million

In case you forgot, COVID-19 really messed up the money. For instance, the NCAA and its member schools lost $800 million due to the cancellation of the 2020 tournament. In 2021, when the tournament returned, the NCAA made more than $1.15 billion in revenue, topping the $1.12 billion it made in 2019. And I still haven’t mentioned that last August, the Big Ten completed a seven-year, $7 billion media rights agreement with Fox, CBS, and NBC that will start on July 1.

All this money is flying around, but yet, some people are mad that the athletes are barely getting any of it.

“(Texas) A&M bought every player on their team. Made a deal for name, image, and likeness” Alabama head coach Nick Saban falsely claimed last May. As usual, Saban didn’t mention a word about how he had no issues with players making money for the conference as the SEC brought in $777.8 million during the fiscal year of 2020-2021, which was $120.1 million more than the conference made in 2019-2020.

Remember this, and how much money is being brought in by these athletes, when folks get mad when the next time a player wants to renegotiate their NIL deal like Isaiah Wong allegedly did, or are still upset that Jaden Rashada once had a proposed NIL deal that resembled a coach’s contract before he even went to prom. The money is out here, and the adults want to keep it all to themselves.


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