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Power 5 Pursuit: Part 2 - Athletic Department Budgets

It's no secret—Boise State is on a quest to join a Power 5 Conference. Let's see if it's possible.

This is the second part of a series detailing how Boise State University compares to the rest of the schools in the two most likely conference landing spots, the Big 12 and Pac-12, if and when Boise State moves to the upper echelon of collegiate athletics.

Ascending to a top tier conference might not be likely and it might not even be feasible, but this series will explore how Boise State stacks up against the other schools and provide some thought-starting recommendations that might help Bronco Nation get to the Promise Land.

NOTE: In any expansion scenario, Boise State isn't likely to join alone. Conferences desire an even number of teams for schedule balancing and having a geographically proximate rival is always a plus. For these reasons, any Power 5 discussion involving Boise State will also include BYU—it's just a matter of time before they figure out playing as an Independent isn't sustainable in today's landscape.


Part 2 - Athletic Department Budgets

The second post of this series will explore an obvious deficiency for Boise State. The data used for this section comes from data drawn from the OPE Equity in Athletics Disclosure Website database, provided by the Office of Postsecondary Education of the United States Department of Education.

Why does it matter? Again, $$$ talks. The influx of television money has allowed these behemoths to become even larger. From facilities, to staffing, to salaries, these institutions are continuously looking for a competitive advantage. It truly is an arms race. Of all the aspects we plan to look at, this might be the most glaring separation between Boise State and the rest of the institutions.

Questions to answer
  1. What are the revenues and expenditures for the athletic departments in the Big 12 and Pac-12?
  2. Do these programs profitable?
  3. Does that even matter?

The Data

Athletic Department Revenues and Expenses (For fiscal year 2012-2013)

Source: The Equity in Athletics Data Analysis Cutting Tool



Pac-12 Rank: 14th out of 14/14th out of 14/5th out of 14/4th out of 14

Boise State % of Avg (Pac-12): Revenue - 44.8% / Expenses - 42.6%

Big 12 Rank: 12th out of 12/12th out of 12/9th out of 12/8th out of 12

Boise State % of Avg (Big 12): Revenue - 37.7% / Expenses - 38.4%

Combined Rank: 24th out of 24/24th out of 24/12th out of 24/10th out of 24

Yeesh. Dead last, but it's not like that wasn't expected. Consider this, if Boise State landed in the Big 12, the entirety of it's entire athletic budget would only make up around 35% of Texas' FOOTBALL budget.


Yes, Boise State is at a disadvantage across the board. To be competitive, Boise State will have to invest heavily in each of its existing sports while also adding numerous others. The benefit of massive television monies would help finance the improvements, but the university would undoubtedly have to subsidize a decent share through loans (case in point, the University of Colorado) or increased student fees.


  1. Explore additional revenue sources outside of the traditional avenues. For example, and to be clear I'm not saying Boise State should do this, Texas and BYU have their own television networks that generate millions in ad revenue.
  2. Partner with local companies to improve the in-stadium fan experience to increase ticket sales. I don't know who those companies are. Any ideas?

Your Turn

What are your thoughts on this data? How does Boise State increase athletic department budgets while still being financially responsible? Is the gap