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Auburn annual financial report shows athletic department surplus of $9.2 million

Michael Niziolek


Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs introduced his "16 for '16" initiative on Tuesday, January 19, 2016. (Wade Rackley | Auburn Athletics)
Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs introduced his "16 for '16" initiative on Tuesday, January 19, 2016. (Wade Rackley | Auburn Athletics)

Auburn’s annual financial report filed to the NCAA this month shows the athletic department operating with a surplus of $9.2 million.

The NCAA requires Division 1 member schools to submit financial data detailing operating revenues and expenses for their athletic department on an annual basis.

It’s the highest surplus for the athletic department since 2008 and first time in three years it’s operating in the black.

This year’s report detailing the 2014-15 fiscal year showing Auburn’s 21 athletic programs (nine men’s and 12 women’s) generated revenue of $124,657,247 was submitted to the NCAA by January 13.

The largest contributions to the figure came from reported ticket sales of $30 million, donations equaling $36-million and a media rights payout of $27 million.

Auburn also receives sizable payouts from royalties — including all sponsorships, licensing agreements and advertisements — as well as revenue from the SEC.

The Tigers’ athletic department took in $8 million from the conference and $6 million in sponsorships.

On the expense side of the ledger, Auburn’s most significant costs included athletic student aid ($14 million), coaching salaries ($21 million) and compensation to the athletic department’s administrative staff ($21 million). 

Auburn spent more than $4.5 million in severance payments for past coaching and administrative personnel, $2.4 million on recruiting and $3.7 million in game guarantees.

The fine print

Auburn’s NCAA report includes itemized lists of the athletic department’s various revenue streams. Unsurprisingly, football is the driving force in generating profit for the university. 

The football program accounted for $28 million in ticket sales, $30 million in donations and $15 million of the media rights revenue.

Auburn’s football team also accounted for higher expenses than its counterparts.

The football team handed out financial aid to 418 students in 2015. The number includes a number of partial scholarships, but is the equivalent of 267.17 full scholarships. The total cost of athletic student aid was $14.9 million

The football team is responsible for a third of that number handing out the equivalent of 82.5 scholarships (to 101 players) totaling $5,048,417.

It was 2.5 scholarships short of the NCAA’s 85-player scholarship limit for football.

Auburn’s football team also accounts for the largest portion of the athletic department’s $21 million coaching staff budget. The football team’s staff is made up of 10 coaches making $11,215,470.

Coach Gus Malzahn’s 2015 salary was $4,486,760 with his nine assistant coaches earning $6,728,710.

The Tigers also paid out more than $3.6 million in severance payments to former coaches.

Michael Niziolek covers Auburn football for the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer. Email him at mniziolek@ledger-enquirer.com or follow him on Twitter, Facebook or Google+