This morning's New York Times features a lengthy article on the cost of competing in men's Big East basketball and Marquette comes out on top -- in spending.
The article points out that the Big East is "sensitive to the notion that the football-playing universities..........are pulling away from the non-football universities" and points to programs "outside college football’s top division that are seemingly annual N.C.A.A. tournament contenders — Georgetown, Villanova, Marquette....."
How does Marquette maintain a competitive program in the Big East? The answer is simple according to Big East commissioner Dave Gavitt, "Part is investment. The other part is an institutionwide commitment to being good in men’s basketball.”
Truer words have never been spoken about the secret of Marquette's recent basketball success.
According to the United States Department of Education, Marquette spends more money on men's basketball than any team in the league, a hefty $10.3 million. While that number is huge so apparently are Marquette's profits from the program. According to an article by Don Walker at the Journal-Sentinel "Marquette says it generated revenue of $13,446,395, which means a profit of $3,139,847." Marquette earns a healthy 23% profit margin on its men's basketball program.
Walker's article is loaded with detail about the specifics of Marquette's situation including the mind-blowing notion that 98% of all revenue for the university's athletic department comes from the men's basketball team.
The net of all of this math? Marquette is extraordinarily reliant on the men's hoops program to fund the university's participation in the Big East. Is this money well spent? There's no doubt.
Courtesy of Mike Broeker, Deputy Athletic Director for Marquette, here's an table which captures the regular season performance for the last five years in the Big East. The first column represents the average regular season finish, the second column is Big East wins in aggregate, and the final column counts up top 5 league finishes.
Impressive stuff, I'd say. Marquette is clearly one of the Big East's most consistently competitive programs and is investing to maintain the program's trajectory. The return on that investment also enables the university to build successful programs such as women's basketball, cross country, golf, women's soccer and now an improving men's soccer program (among others), and also plays a hand in alumni outreach and engagement.