For the fifth consecutive year, Texas is the most valuable college football program, based on a study conducted by Forbes. Notre Dame is number two, with Alabama, LSU and Michigan rounding out the top five. The Longhorns are worth approximately $139 million, up $30 million from a year ago. The Fighting Irish are worth $117 million.
To determine college football’s most valuable teams, we consider each team’s value to its athletic department, its university’s academic endeavors, its conference and its school’s local economy. Athletic value consists of football profit that is directed toward supporting non-revenue sports, like softball or gymnastics, while a team’s value to academics consists of money that supports football scholarships or other non-athletic programming, like faculty support, non-athletic scholarships or a library fund. Conference value consists of revenue generated for other conference teams by participating in a bowl game, and a team’s value to its local community consists of the direct spending injected by fans visiting the area on days of the team’s home games.
Texas' value points to why there is so much speculation surrounding the Longhorns' coaching search. The Texas job is already a coveted position, but given how much of a cash cow (like Bevo do you get it) the program is, the next hire is important to sustaining its worth. So when names such as Nick Saban or salaries upwards of $10 million a year are tossed around, it begins to make sense.
This all gets even murkier when factoring in the pay-for-play argument. Take Texas A&M, for instance. The Aggies came in as the 14th-most valuable program this year. They weren't in the top 20 in the previous report. What changed? For starters, Johnny Manziel won a Heisman Trophy and led Texas A&M to an 11-2 record, a Cotton Bowl victory and a No. 5 ranking in the final AP Poll in 2012. While Manziel and the rest of his team won't see an extra dime, the school added an extra $9 million in revenue, and coach Kevin Sumlin earned a healthy raise.
The full top 20 is below, but for the "too long, didn't read" crowd: Good football teams are worth a lot of money. The full Forbes article is worth your time, so make sure to click on over.
2. Notre Dame
9. Ohio State
14. Texas A&M
15. Penn State
18. South Carolina