Brandon's Blog: A View of U-M's Athletics Expenses, Revenues

Aug 29, 2013

University of Michigan director of athletics Dave Brandon will regularly offer his view on a variety of topics related to U-M and intercollegiate sports. All his posts, along with links to related content, will be available on his page,, and he is also on Twitter at @DaveBrandonAD.

The University of Michigan Athletic Department's mission statement is very simple:

"Relentlessly striving to make Michigan Athletics the Leaders and Best in every way."

We are dedicated to ensuring all of our student-athletes, coaches, staff, donors and fans operate within the educational mission of our university.

To be the Leaders and Best does not mean we are going to sit back and rest on our laurels. We are going to respect our traditions but realize that change is good. And to continue as one of the great academic and athletic universities, we must continue to grow -- with one caveat.

We will grow and remain financially self-supporting.

We are one of only 23 NCAA Division I public school intercollegiate athletics programs that are self-sustaining, with our revenues covering our expenses. Unlike many of the other 22 schools in that group, we do not receive any financial support from the university's general fund nor do we get any money from the state.

Everything we do is supported by athletic-based activities and by donations.

And while we strive to win championships, our first goal is to ensure that we create positive academic and athletic experiences for our 900-plus student-athletes and prepare them to be successful in life. This is a primary goal of our department.

The scholarship costs for our student-athletes are approximately $19,000,000. This isn't a "pass through" provided by U-M to the Athletic Department; this is an actual expense.

To explain our financial structure, our athletic development team produced a video demonstrating the need for the support of our generous donors and our fantastic fans.

There has always been confusion as to where the money comes from and how it is spent. This video is a straightforward and a transparent look at our expenses and revenues in an accessible way that can be easily understood.

Throughout the video, athletic scholarships, facility, maintenance, travel and administrative expenses are discussed and dollar figures attached. Revenue generation through ticketing, licensing, television rights, NCAA funds, bowl games and other Big Ten Conference distribution is also spelled out.

The numbers tell the story. After you watch the short video, it becomes easy to see why a partnership between the athletic department, its fans and its donors is necessary to the future of U-M Athletics.

Annual support is critical for our operating costs. Our generous donors provide 22 percent of our revenue.

Even in the rapidly changing world of intercollegiate athletics, U-M remains in a position of great strength.

Please, watch the video. It will help explain why it is more vital than ever to maintain the partnership with our donors and fans as we invest in our highest priority: the U-M student-athletes.

Go Blue!

Supporting Michigan Athletics | U-M Athletics Financial Overview Video icon
Dave Brandon Home Page