Skip to main content

College football and college sports overall remain a business and, when you look at the receipts from each passing year, it's a more lucrative business than ever before. According to the numbers from financial reporting given to the NCAA and released by USA Today recently, it's a good time to be a member of the Big Ten or the SEC.

In the past year, the NCAA announced that its Division I athletics programs in total made $15.8 billion of revenue during the 2019 season just before the surprise catastrophe of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, when sports, along with every other business, absorbed major, unforeseen losses.

How are things going right now in the wake of that crisis? Here's your look at the top revenue producers across college sports for the previous 2022 season, according to USA Today.

10. Oklahoma

A pre-game scene at Oklahoma prior to a college football game.

Oklahoma's athletic revenue in 2022: $177 million

Need to know: One of the traditional powers not only in football but in many sports, the Sooners should see a noticeable jump in revenue coming in when the university finally joins the SEC in the summer of 2024, not that membership in the Big 12 has prevented the school from being one of the nation's most profitable sports programs.


9. Penn State

Penn State Nittany Lions running back Nicholas Singleton on a carry during a college football game in the Big Ten.

Penn State's athletic revenue in 2022: $181 million

Need to know: Football and basketball remain major programs with solid foundations right now, especially the Nittany Lions' football team, which remains on a shortlist of potential College Football Playoff gate-crashers this season, returning one of the more experienced and talented rosters in the Big Ten.


8. Florida

florida gators football

Florida's athletic revenue in 2022: $190 million

Need to know: Despite the fact that the Gators haven't won the national championship in more than a decade since Tim Tebow and Urban Meyer were on campus, this is still one of the most intensely followed sports programs in the country with a chance to break back into the national picture as head coach Billy Napier enters his second year on the sideline and looking at one of the toughest schedules in the country this year and next.


7. Texas A&M

Texas A&M Aggies wide receiver Evan Stewart catches a pass during a college football game in the SEC.

Texas A&M's athletic revenue in 2022: $193 million

Need to know: The decision to join the SEC more than a decade ago is yet to result in a conference championship or a College Football Playoff appearance, but the Aggies have certainly improved their financial position as a result of the move. Much of that windfall was invested in head coach Jimbo Fisher, who is now facing considerable pressure to prove he can take this program where its fans believe it belongs.


6. LSU

lsu football

LSU's athletic revenue in 2022: $199 million

Need to know: Kim Mulkey went the distance in Year 2 at the helm of the Tigers' women's basketball program by winning the school's first-ever national championship this past season, resulting in even more interest in that program. Brian Kelly has helped put the football team back on the map after winning the SEC West title in his debut season while coming in 2023 as a contender for the league championship. LSU's baseball team is making an appearance in the College World Series, too.


5. Georgia

Georgia football coach Kirby Smart after winning the College Football Playoff national championship.

Georgia's athletic revenue in 2022: $203 million

Need to know: This is clearly Georgia's time, moving definitively into the No. 1 position in college football after winning back-to-back national championships under head coach Kirby Smart, who has his team in position as the odds-on favorite to pull off the first three-peat in the sport since the 1930s, and bringing in a huge amount of money to the Bulldogs program in that time.


4. Michigan

Michigan Wolverines wide receiver Roman Wilson on a play during a college football game in the Big Ten.

Michigan's athletic revenue in 2022: $210 million

Need to know: Jim Harbaugh has revitalized the Wolverines brand on the football field by winning two Big Ten championships and making the College Football Playoff in two straight seasons, bringing this historic program within striking distance of the national championship and once the conference's new media deal kicks in, expect Michigan to rake in even more money to its athletic department.


3. Alabama

Scenes at an Alabama Crimson Tide game during the college football season.

Alabama's athletic revenue in 2022: $214 million

Need to know: Arguably the nation's most well-rounded and profitable athletic program thanks to tremendous success on the football field, but also in men's basketball and baseball, the Crimson Tide remains one of the kings of college sports, pulling down around $160 million in revenue from the SEC a year ago.


2. Texas

Scenes from a Texas Longhorns game during the college football season in the SEC.

Texas' athletic revenue in 2022: $239 million

Need to know: Texas is always at or near the top of these rankings thanks to its passionate fan base and success on the fields and courts of college sports, especially its fanatical football support, and it's expected to move up even more in revenue produced when the school joins the SEC in 2024. And in particular if Steve Sarkisian can finally put the Longhorns back in the national championship race, too.


1. Ohio State

Ohio State football coach Ryan Day earned two College Football Playoff bids early in his tenure.

Ohio State's athletic revenue in 2022: $251 million

Need to know: The undisputed champion of college sports revenue, the Buckeyes are routinely among the richest athletic departments in the country, but last year they were No. 1 nationally after making the College Football Playoff semifinal, where they played a dramatic, close game against top-ranked Georgia, falling by just one point. And, like rival Michigan, expect to see Ohio State clean up even more in future years as the Big Ten embarks on its historic media contract.

The full list: College sports' programs ranked by revenue

More college football from SI: Top 25 Rankings | Schedule | All Teams

Follow College Football HQ: Bookmark | Rankings | Picks