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Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald reflects on the wisdom of paying Dan Persa $80,000 a game regardless of his injury status.
Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald reflects on the wisdom of paying Dan Persa $80,000 a game regardless of his injury status.

Honor. Integrity. Sportsmanship. These are the bedrock principles of the Big Ten, and like, all good principles, they do not come cheaply. People with better math and research skills than we have tracked down the 2010-11 athletic department financials for every school in the conference, and the good news is that all but two schools turned a profit! The bad news is that one of those two schools was not Iowa, so you can't just tell Kirk Ferentz there's no money and he's better off waiting tables.

Unfortunately, these numbers lack a certain specificity. It's one thing to just talk about total money coming in and money coming out, but it's more important to answer the tough questions, like where does sixty-seven million dollars in expenditures at Michigan State go?

  • The Spartans spent $460,000 to get Eric Clapton to play "Promises" for three hours straight while Coach Dantonio sat motionless next to the plate in a slow-pitch batting cage.
  • Of Minnesota's $78,924,683 spent, $3,210,120 went towards advertising after the first win of the season, as the state was blanketed with "WE BEAT MIAMI NEVER MIND WHICH ONE OR WHAT YEAR THIS IS" billboards. Another $1,075,200 was spent on those same advertising companies to remove those billboards after the loss to North Dakota State the next week. $450 was earmarked for "Recruiting Budget/White Elephant Gift Exchange."
  • Indiana turned a profit of $5,293,816 and announced a plan to put most of that money into a long term investment vehicle run by an independent trustee who will acquire every Beanie Baby ever produced and then keep them all in a storage unit because monopoly.
  • Northwestern did not finish the year in the black because lingering economic fears and a lack of booster enthusiasm, combined with unexpected capital expenditures on athletic department facilities created a situation in which Northwestern paid all of its players. Every one. This is an exclusive and what now, Charles Robinson.
  • Ohio State reported athletic department revenue of over $130,000,000, highest in the conference. Please note, however, that the majority of that figure comes from non-cash donations of flexible value, such as stocks, real property, and "you can have a go at my old lady so long as I get to watch, dude."
  • Michigan spent $67,450,913 last year on athletics. Nearly $4,000,000 of that was for legal settlements related to suits brought against the department for failing to warn staffers of the danger of getting fingers too close to Coach Hoke's mouth on Breakfast Sausage Tuesdays. Another $2,300,000 was spent on an elaborate PR campaign to convince Denard Robinson that he couldn't transfer because every other state was lava.
  • The Ilinois Sports Information Department refused to confirm or deny that a hidden clause in Ron Zook's contract required them to provide daily deliveries of stacked and bound ten dollar bills for him to karate chop in half.
  • Purdue started out the year barely beating Middle Tennessee and then losing to Rice but still made over six million dollars. This is why you should throw things at your econ professor when he talks about "rational actors."