NCAA on trial: Major college football, hoops revenue doubled in a decade

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OAKLAND — As the trial over the NCAA’s ban on paying student-athletes wound up its first week on Friday, the federal judge hearing the case got a vivid picture of how much money is at stake in college sports.


In court papers filed Thursday night, the NCAA and lawyers for former student-athletes revealed charts showing total revenues for Division I football and basketball more than doubled from 2000 to the 2012-13 seasons, reaching nearly $4.5 billion combined. The figures were disclosed as part of testimony from television industry experts, including former CBS Sports President Neal Pilson, on the effect of television dollars on major college sports.


Chief U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken is reviewing a class-action lawsuit by former college football and basketball players seeking a court order that would invalidate the NCAA’s regulations against student-athletes sharing in profits, primarily from the revenue generated by television contracts and merchandising of items such as jerseys. The lawsuit alleges the NCAA’s rules violate federal antitrust laws.


Lawyers for the athletes argue that the explosion of sports revenues for major football and basketball powers warrants providing more to student-athletes than their scholarships.


The NCAA has generally been reluctant to provide specific breakdowns of college sports revenues, and television networks have tried to keep their deals with the organization under wraps, but the information was turned over as part of the trial.


The University of Texas hauled in $109 million from football in 2012, topping major colleges, the court papers show. Notre Dame received $78 million in revenue from football. Those two schools have their own separate television contracts to broadcast games. Cal brought in $37 million in football revenue, and Stanford University got $24 million, the charts show.


In basketball, Louisville generated the most revenue at $42 million. Cal brought in about $9.4 million in revenue, while Stanford got $5.4 million.


Meanwhile, the first week of trial ended with brief testimony from former Vanderbilt linebacker Chase Garnham, who will return to the stand on Monday. Garnham, like former UCLA basketball star Ed O’Bannon and former University of Alabama wide receiver Tyrone Prothro earlier this week, testified that he spent at least 40 hours per week during the season on football activities, in addition to attending school.


Howard Mintz covers legal affairs. Contact him at 408-286-0236 or follow him at


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