WVU athletic department continues to rake in the dough

MORGANTOWN, WV - DECEMBER 03: Al-Rasheed Benton
MORGANTOWN, WV - DECEMBER 03: Al-Rasheed Benton /

The WVU football team and athletic department are growing by leaps and bounds every year. The Mountaineer basketball program, too, is growing to be among the elites in Division I.

A big reason why the West Virginia programs are able to compete at the highest level all the time is because the proper money is in place. Being a top-flight program is one thing, but doing so in a largely poor and rural state is a great accomplishment.

The Mountaineers have a large and rabid fanbase which stays true through thick and thin. That can only get the sports teams so far, though. The Mountaineers also have the proper backing to improve facilities and revamp many support programs.

The WVU football team led the charge in 2012 as new members of the Big 12 Conference. Gaining that new exposure in new markets, along with a solid television contract, has allowed all student-athletes on campus to reap the benefits.

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According to USA Today, the WVU athletic department has a total revenue of $105,140,368. That is clearly an astronomical number. It is also a figure that is good enough for No. 26 out of 230 public universities. Mind you, these recently released numbers are from the 2015-16 year. It’s safe to say the money has increased mightily in the past year.

In a recent column, veteran sports writer Bob Hertzel wrote that WVU sat back at a distant No. 46 nearly a decade ago in 2008.

"As the school year, and with it the athletic year, begins anew for West Virginia, it is time, perhaps, to understand just how far financially the Mountaineers have come since joining the Big 12 Conference.Think back, for a moment, to 2008 — not a year picked randomly but, instead, a year in which there were detailed published reports on the Mountaineers’ income and how it compared to the other top schools in the nation.WVU stood 46th, with gross revenues from athletics of $54,262,716."

Back then, the WVU football team was going through a highly criticized and emotional coaching change, Bob Huggins was gaining his footing coming back home to Morgantown and women’s soccer coach Nikki Izzo-Brown was in the process of constructing one of the most consistent programs in the country.

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It’s a different time now. But it sure is good for West Virginia and Mountaineer Nation.

Hertzel also pointed out that WVU is said to have the 16th best branding in college sports. That is also a tribute to the great fans in the Mountain State.

Think, too, for a moment that the state of West Virginia is ranked near the bottom in many vital categories in economics and healthcare. A Washington Post story even called West Virginia, “the most miserable state in the country” in 2014.

The Mountaineers and the WVU football team give all of West Virginia hope for a brighter future. With the money the athletic department brings in, that indirectly helps many citizens throughout the state.

Morgantown is the fastest growing city in the state. It is already a top destination for great teachers, doctors, nurses, attorneys and engineers. The WVU athletic program is also a great spot to land if you are an athlete or athletic administration professional.