46.6 F
Fort Worth
Wednesday, December 2, 2020
Education Texas A&M guaranteed $75 million to its new football coach. How can...

Texas A&M guaranteed $75 million to its new football coach. How can it afford that?

Other News

Exxon’s oil slick

Exxon Mobil is slashing its capital spending budget for 2020 by 30% due to weak demand caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and a market...

Folk music’s Mark Twain: 7 Essential tracks from John Prine,

NEW YORK (AP) — Some people, the songs just come out of them. For nearly half a century, they tumbled out of John Prine...

Tarrant County records another COVID-19 death

Tarrant County Public Health (TCPH) on Wednesday, April 8 reported that a resident of Euless has died as the result of the COVID-19 virus....

Tradition stymied: A year unlike any since WWII for Augusta

The Masters is so intertwined with Augusta, they added an extra day to spring break.You see, the first full week of April isn't just...

December 4, 2017

College football has been a pricey endeavor for years in Texas, but Texas A&M University has broken new ground for sports spending in the state.  

At a Monday morning regents meeting, the school officially hired national championship-winning coach Jimbo Fisher to a 10-year, $75 million contract. University administrators said that money will be guaranteed, making the deal used to lure Fisher away from powerhouse Florida State University staggering for both its duration and its annual pay.  

Let’s put the contract in perspective: A&M’s off-the-field rival, the University of Texas at Austin — known as the richest athletics program in college sports — signed head football coach Tom Herman to a contract for half that length last year. And Herman’s deal guarantees $45 million less. Fisher’s annual pay of $7.5 million is more than the total amount of football revenue generated at the University of North Texas and Texas State University combined, according to NCAA financial reports.  

But A&M officials stressed Monday that they think Fisher is worth the money. Aggie administrators have said they want to win championships. And they say they’ll pay for the coach without using any state-appropriated cash.  

How is that possible? It’s because A&M football has been massively profitable in recent years. 

In the 2015-16 school year, the last year for which NCAA records are publicly available, A&M’s football team generated around $100 million, compared with only $30 million in expenses. Some of that $70 million profit was used to support other sports teams. But thanks to donations, licensing and other revenue,  A&M’s athletics department still turned a $57 million profit.  

That was enough to make A&M the most profitable college sports program in the country. But the numbers are a little misleading. During the 2015-16 school year, A&M was still collecting on pledges from big-money donors to fund the university’s $485 million stadium renovation, which was finished in 2015. Once those one-time funds stop coming in, revenue will dip.  

Still, A&M officials expect the athletics department to continue to pay for itself. Thanks in part to lucrative television deals, A&M received around $40 million from the Southeastern Conference last year. And the renovated stadium will likely continue to bring in more money from ticket sales. Revenue from football tickets in 2015-16 was $41.7 million, records show.  

A&M President Michael Young reiterated that expectation by telling reporters Monday that the athletics program is “self-sufficient” and even contributes some dollars back to the academic side of the school. A&M’s spending on sports, Young said, generates a significant return on investment.  

Florida State officials cited A&M’s wealth as one of the reasons Fisher left their school. 

“At some point in time we may have the resources Texas A&M has, but it got to a point where a school came calling, and they basically allowed Jimbo to make history and we just weren’t able to do that here,” Florida State athletics director Stan Wilcox told reporters over the weekend.  

Still, a contract like that comes with some risks. This year, A&M fired its previous coach, Kevin Sumlin, after his sixth season. Now it must pay him the more than $10 million left on his contract. If A&M were to fire Fisher after his sixth year, it would likely owe far more than that.  

And there’s some uncertainty in the college sports world, not least with the health of the television networks that pay conferences so much. Fisher’s contract extends beyond the Southeastern Conference’s main TV deals. It’s impossible to say whether schools like A&M will be bringing in more or less television revenue near the end of Fisher’s contract. 

But A&M leaders might be confident because gambles like this have worked out in the past. In 1982, A&M generated national outrage for giving University of Pittsburgh coach Jackie Sherrill the biggest contract in college sports history at the time. A&M’s president, Frank Vandiver, even threatened to resign over the deal. 

Sherrill went on to be one of the most successful coaches in A&M history. His average annual pay from that record-breaking contract? $280,000.  

Disclosure: Texas A&M University and the University of Texas at Austin have been financial supporters of The Texas Tribune. A complete list of Tribune donors and sponsors can be viewed here. 

This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at https://www.texastribune.org/2017/12/04/texas-m-guaranteed-75-million-football-coach-jimbo-fisher-how-can-it-a/.

The Texas Tribune is a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.


close






Oh hi there 👋
It’s nice to meet you.

Sign up to receive awesome content in your inbox.

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

Latest News

Grand Prairie Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Swafford dies from COVID

City of Grand Prairie Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Jim Swafford died from COVID-19 Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020, while hospitalized at Methodist Mansfield Medical Center. He...

Texas enrollment and FAFSA applications down, as education leaders worry pandemic is disrupting college plans

The number of Texas high school seniors filling out the federal financial aid application for college, known as FAFSA, is down so far from...

Gov. Greg Abbott endorses Drew Springer over Shelley Luther in Texas Senate special election runoff

Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday endorsed state Rep. Drew Springer, R-Muenster, in his bid to join the Texas Senate, charging into a heated intraparty...

Texas must boost coronavirus control efforts amid “full resurgence” of infections, White House report says

Texas must ramp up efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus as the state experiences a “full resurgence” of COVID-19 infections, according to...

A&M System Regents OK Tarleton Analytical Policing Institute

The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents has approved creation of Tarleton State University’s Institute for Predictive and Analytical Policing Sciences, a part...