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Texas A&M reports over $279 million in athletics revenue

The Texas A&M athletic department had $279.2 million in operating revenue during its 2023 fiscal year, its new financial report to the NCAA shows.

The document was obtained by USA TODAY Sports through an open-records request in partnership with the Knight-Newhouse Data project at Syracuse University. 

However, Texas A&M is attributing $53.2 million of its $115.4 million in contributions for the year to an unusual level of spending during the year on a series of facilities projects. This is similar to Texas A&M’s reporting over years in which it paid for the $485 million redevelopment of its football stadium and other projects across several years, beginning with its 2015 fiscal year.

Also for 2023, Texas A&M reported $12 million in direct institutional support in 2023, the first time since 2014 that it has shown any help for athletics. However, the athletics department’s chief financial officer, Jeff Toole, said this was a loan by the university from non-taxpayer funds to assist with another facility project — and it will be repaid by the athletics department.

Texas athletics director Chris Del Conte cited no such anomalies in an interview this week about his department’s 2023 total, saying the biggest reasons for the increase in his department’s revenue were the school’s first year in its new arena, the Moody Center, “an incredible job by our development team” in restricted and unrestricted gifts and the first year of a new local multimedia and marketing rights agreement with Learfield.

So, for now — with many other schools yet to release their 2023 financial reports — Texas’ total stands as the largest single-year total, not adjusting for inflation, since the NCAA began its current financial reporting system in 2005. Ohio State reported $251.6 million in 2022. (Oregon reported $391.8 million in 2020, but that included more than $270 million as a contribution for the renovation of its track and field stadium.)

Texas A&M football recruiting spending

Texas A&M’s new report shows that it spent just over $4 million on football recruiting in 2023. The school fired Jimbo Fisher as its head coach in November 2023, owing him a buyout of more than $77 million that is not subject to Fisher having a duty to find another job or offset from any of Fisher’s future income. According to Fisher’s contract, that amount is due to be paid out through the end of 2031.

Again, with many 2023 reports pending, the new total put the Aggies alongside Georgia and Clemson as the only schools to report spending even $3 million on football recruiting in a single year.

Georgia reported just over $4.5 million on this in 2022, Clemson just under $3.2 million.

Texas A&M’s total for 2023 is a little over $1 million more than the Aggies spent on that activity in fiscal 2022, and —not adjusting for inflation — is more than double their previous high for this category in 2018 ($1.7 million).

The NCAA defines recruiting spending as including money for transportation, lodging and meals for recruits and school personnel on official and unofficial visits, telephone call charges and postage. It also is supposed to include the value of the use of school-owned vehicles or airplanes, as well as the in-kind value of loaned or contributed transportation.

Texas A&M facilities spending

Under the NCAA’s reporting system, schools must report contributions provided to, and used by, the athletics department in a given reporting year. So, money contributed during fiscal 2023 for Texas A&M’s facilities projects that also was spent on the projects in 2023 is supposed to be reported as operating revenue.

“We are in the middle of about $270 million in projects that include a new indoor football practice facility, a renovation of the Bright football operations building, construction of an Academic & Wellness Building, a new Indoor Track facility, and new suites in the South End Zone of Kyle Field,” the school’s football stadium, Texas A&M athletics CFO Toole wrote in an email. “So you see contributions flowing in for those and then … $53.2 million in capital expenditures.”

Athletics department capital expenses, such as those on facilities, are supposed to be recorded separately from operating expenses on the NCAA report.

Because of the anomalous contributions total, Texas A&M reported an $85.5 million operating surplus for 2023.

This post appeared first on USA TODAY

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