The athletics departments at Clemson University and the University of South Carolina continued to operate at a surplus during the 2015-16 academic year despite mirroring a national trend that saw NCAA Division I schools invest more in their student-athletes.
Clemson finished “in the black” by $1,763,077 while South Carolina had a positive ledger that revealed revenue that surpassed operating expenses by $5,595,582.
Those figures were among data compiled by USA TODAY Sports from reports of annual athletics department operating revenues and expenses that schools submit to the NCAA each January.
The 230 public institutions included in the report revealed that spending on financial aid for athletes increased by nearly nine percent – the largest single-year increase since 2010.
The increase includes boosts in the traditional elements of an athletic scholarship – tuition, fees, room and board – plus the additional amounts for incidental expenses that athletes were allowed to receive for the first time.
Schools also are able to provide meals and snacks for athletes that NCAA rules had prohibited until April of 2014.
“Substantial progress has been made in the past few years with NCAA legislations opening the door for programs like ours to invest even more into our student-athletes,” Arkansas athletics director Jeff Long said in a statement to USA TODAY Sports. “Fully funding cost of attendance and providing additional meals and fueling for student-athletes in all sports on an annual basis is a significant financial commitment for all intercollegiate programs, but one that was needed for the benefit of our student-athletes.”
Clemson and South Carolina apparently embraced the new allowances. Clemson invested $15,364,538 on “athletic student aid” last year, the ninth-highest total in the nation and an 18.3 percent increase over the previous year.
South Carolina spent $14,848,950, which ranked 11th nationally and reflected an increase of 13.8 percent over 2014-15.
Michigan topped the national list with athletic student aid expenditures of more than $23 million.
Meanwhile, coaches’ compensation rose by five percent – the smallest single-year rate in 11 years – and Clemson and South Carolina both ranked well below the national leaders.
Ohio State paid its coaches a total of more than $30 million in salaries, benefits and bonuses, followed by Kentucky at more than $26 million. Clemson ranked 30th at $17.69 million while South Carolina was 44th at $13.76 million.
The Southeastern Conference continued to be the major money conference, as 10 league schools ranked among the Top 17 in total operational revenue. Florida State was the top Atlantic Coast Conference school in that category, ranking 18th, while Clemson ranked 27th.
Among other expenditures of note for Clemson included $5.56 million spent on travel, $4.97 million on direct overhead and administrative expenses, $4.36 million for fundraising, marketing and promotions, $2.85 million on equipment, uniforms and supplies, and $1.867 million on recruiting.
Among Clemson’s primary revenue generators were contributions ($35.44 million), media rights ($15.96 million), ticket sales ($23.5 million), royalties ($9.53 million), bowl revenue ($4.79 million), and conference distribution monies ($4.1 million).