In 1979 the Big East Conference of colleges was born. One of its first moves was to broadcast its games. The conference was paid $305,000 for the right to broadcast all of its games. In the 21st century, the conference was paid more than $100 million for those rights. This year the NCAA's Division I sports programs brought in more than $8 billion. None of this revenue is taxable.
College conferences now earn money from television and corporate sponsors. Take the Atlantic Coast Conference as an example. Its corporate sponsors include Toyota, Gatorade and Geico. When the conference filed its annual tax return for 2015, it reported about a quarter-billion dollars from broadcasting games for its member universities, as well as $147 million in other sports-related revenue. Its commissioner earned $2.9 million.
I wonder how many of their athletes graduated.