According to USA TODAY’s updated NCAA financial database, no college athletic department spent more than Ohio State during the 2019 fiscal year. In fact, the Buckeyes had $220,572,956 in athletic expenses, which is approximately $15 million more than any other school in the country.
Ohio State’s athletic department also reported $210,548,239 in revenue for the 2019 fiscal year, leaving the program running at a deficit for the first time in a decade. That said, athletic director Gene Smith told the Columbus Dispatch in February the shortfall is actually much smaller than what is listed thanks to money that was held from previous fundraising efforts.
While external audit requirements prevent the school from reporting those contributions to the NCAA, the reallocated money actually puts the Buckeyes just $624,359 in the red.
“There’s no way I would be sitting here with 36 sports if we had a $10 million deficit,” Smith said. “It just wouldn’t happen. I’d be dropping sports and ticket prices would go up.”
The athletic department last reported an operating deficit to the NCAA in 2009, when it faced a $148,037 shortfall.
Ohio State’s total revenue, meanwhile, ranked third among all college athletic departments behind Texas ($223,879,781) and Texas A&M ($212,748,002). The rest of the top five nationally in operating revenue were Michigan ($197,820,410) and Georgia ($174,042,482).
The Buckeyes increased their total revenues by nearly $5 million from 2018 to 2019, but also outspent their peers by a wide margin. The Longhorns were the only other program to surpass $200 million, sitting at $204,234,897.
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