Article posted on April 26, 2013

Using the Win AD databases, we compared the revenue trends and spending habits of the athletic departments of the smallest Division-I schools and largest Division-II schools. Although the athletic departments of these schools differ substantially in a few areas, we found that they are extremely similar overall. The average athletic revenue of the 21 smallest DI schools is $7.7 million while the average athletic revenue of the 20 largest DII schools is $7.4 million. In addition, the mean amount of expenses for these DI schools is $7.7 million with the amount of expenses being $7.3 million for the DII schools, as indicated below:

(Mean Statistics) Smallest DI Schools Largest DII Schools
Total Average Revenue $7,682,857 $7,372,500
Total Average Expenses $7,726,190 $7,289,000

DI schools have an inherent advantage in the sense that they can gain more money from guarantees and student fees. The one exceedingly sizeable difference between the two sets of schools is the revenue brought in from guarantees. On average, the DI athletic departments of these schools have a revenue total of $541,640 from guarantees. However, the DII schools are only at an average of $11,887. Moreover, three of the DII schools – Southern Connecticut State University, University of Massachusetts Lowell, and Valdosta State University – have no revenue at all from guarantees. Furthermore, the DI schools’ revenue from student fees is almost three times as large as that of the DII schools, as the following numbers suggest:

(Mean Statistics) Smallest DI Schools Largest DII Schools
Revenue from Guarantees $541,640 $11,887
Revenue from Student Fees $2,848,638 $929,531

DII schools compensate for those disparities in revenue by receiving more money from their respective universities as well as branding, donations, and rights. For example, the St. Cloud State University athletic department receives $4.7 million from the university; $734,277 from branding; $684,306 from donations; and $41,000 from rights. This table articulates the discrepancy between the DI and DII schools in those areas:

(Mean Statistics) Smallest DI Schools Largest DII Schools
Revenue from University $2,445,222 $4,123,500
Revenue from Branding $93,981 $195,875
Revenue from Donations $280,572 $489,026
Revenue from Rights $333 $9,201

One cannot not find many differences when comparing the expense column of these DI athletic departments with the corresponding numbers for DII. They only vary in that DI spends a little more on games, tuition and travel, as depicted below:

(Mean Statistics) Smallest DI Schools Largest DII Schools
Expenses from Games $275,269 $175,326
Expenses from Tuition $2,215,596 $1,692,658
Expenses from Travel $775,777 $612,499

While the disparities have been expressed above, the expenses are similar in many ways. The main areas are coaching, recruiting and marketing, as seen below:

(Mean Statistics) Smallest DI Schools Largest DII Schools
Expenses from Coaching $1,511,352 $1,519,790
Expenses from Recruiting $103,504 $89,501
Expenses from Marketing $99,268 $117,500

Win AD is a subscription database service for Division-II ADs to save time and money with the right information. Need better financial data, but do not have the budget? Schedule a demo to learn more about Win AD’s flexible pricing options, including our pro-rated Bridge Contract for mid-year implementations. Contact Kevin Barefoot: 800-218-2280,

Adam Lowenstein is also interested in the NBA and MLB. More of his statistical analysis can be found at: — Follow him on Twitter: @StatsAdam

Key Insights

The mean athletic department revenues and expenses of the 21 smallest DI schools and 20 largest DII schools are relatively similar. Besides having similar ticket sales revenue, they differ in the specific methods in which their money is generated. However, their overall revenue totals are still close to being equivalent. Regarding expenses, the DI and DII athletic departments have comparable expenses in almost every respect.