Blog Entry

Basketball is still king in the Big East

Posted on: June 20, 2011 4:08 pm
Edited on: June 20, 2011 4:16 pm

By Matt Norlander

College football foots the bill. It is the behemoth, the papa, the bus driver, the Grand Poobah of collegiate sports. Its existence and ever-growing power is why unprecedented, billion-dollar contracts are drafted by networks each year in the hope they'll win the rights to put college football games on television. That sport is the breadwinner in every major D-I league.

Except the Big East. Bretty McMurphy shared the news and figures about this earlier today.

The 16-team Big East is still the counterculture, bizarre, Willy Wonka-type land where football is the dark chocolate to college hoops' silky milk cocoa. A place where college basketball is still the preferred product and brings in more money to the conference than football. The 2011 NCAA tournament netted the Big East (which had a record-breaking 11 teams from the conference make the 68-team field) $24.9 million this year. The BCS landed the Big East $21.2 million. And that was before UConn had to pay the BCS for all those unsold tickets.

Given how the NFL and college football have taken over American sports in the past decade, this is a little bewildering, but not completely shocking when you consider the league's consistently had the best basketball product and the worst football one among BCS leagues since the BCS came into existence.

Here's the order of the top 10 money-getters from this year's Big Dance:

1. Big East $24.9 million
2. Big 12 $18.9 million
3. Big Ten $18.4 million
4. ACC $18.2 million
5. Pac-10 $16 million
6. SEC $15.5 million
7. Conference USA $6.9 million
8. Missouri Valley $5 million
8. Mountain West $5 million
10. Atlantic 10 $5.7 million

And if you think the NCAA numbers are just a case of volume, then think again. released today the profit numbers for the top football and basketball universities, the numbers from the end of the 2009-10 season. The first 20 schools are football. But No. 21? Louisville -- basketball. The Cardinals were in the black at the end of the 2009-10 year by more than $16 million. No Big East football or basketball program is ranked above them nor is any football program even close. As the site notes, Louisville basketball made more money last year than any program in the ACC and Pac-10 as well.

Kentucky Wildcats fans, how do you respond to this? (I know, I'm not helping here.)

Syracuse, with a $10-million-and-change profit, was the only other Big East school ranked in the top 50, as its basketball program finished No. 41. Most of Big East basketball operated at a profit, earning more than its football counterparts; UConn hoops brought in more than $800,000, while football balanced its book to $0. That's right: It finished 2009-10 without making or losing money, the same circumstance DePaul, Seton Hall and St. John's basketball reported.

Notre Dame, the 12th-most affluent football program in the country, was the only Big East hoops outfit that lost money ($9,097).

Photo: AP
Category: NCAAB
Tags: Big East

Since: Aug 10, 2006
Posted on: June 21, 2011 9:39 am

Basketball is still king in the Big East

Congrats to UL.  See?  you ARE relevant at something.

We all hope your notoriety lasts longer than 15 seconds.

All kidding aside, Good luck this season, Cards!

Since: Aug 11, 2010
Posted on: June 20, 2011 11:22 pm

Basketball is still king in the Big East

Syracuse, with a $10-million-and-change profit, was the only other Big East school ranked in the top 50, as its basketball program finished No. 41

What about #24 West Virginia?

Since: Oct 12, 2010
Posted on: June 20, 2011 11:12 pm

Basketball is still king in the Big East

There you go...this is why 11 teams from the Big East go to the NCAAs while only 3 teams from the Pac-10 went.  The expanded format only expanded the paychecks to Big East schools.  The fix is in and the payola goes to the Big East.  In response, CBS sportswriters proclaim they will no longer cover west coast basketball, assuming that includes Arizona as well.  Presumably they will get paid by the Big East as well.

Since: Sep 28, 2008
Posted on: June 20, 2011 5:45 pm

Basketball is still king in the Big East

Lets see... Depaul, St. John's, Seton Hall. 

Looks like the Big East should get rid of Depaul who doesn't bring in any sort of profit for basketball and doesn't have a football program, not that the program has been winning lately either. it's just a worthless space taker school to get us up to 16 basketball teams while not providing any sort of positive thing when it comes to money or winning to the Big East. 

You could pretty much say the same thing about Seton Hall, except for the fact that they're one step above Depaul.  

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or