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HomeSportsAs the College Sports Model Teeters, Michigan Tries to Keep a Balance

As the College Sports Model Teeters, Michigan Tries to Keep a Balance

Growing up in Hawaii, Roman Wilson didn’t realize how much money was in college football until his senior year in high school when he took a weeklong recruiting visit to the mainland. His first stops were Cal-Berkeley and U.C.L.A. “Very nice facilities,” he thought.
Then he visited Michigan.
“Just the building alone that we get to be in every day is millions upon millions of dollars,” said Mr. Wilson, a wide receiver. “One of the biggest weight rooms I’ve ever seen. The training room is outstanding. Even flying planes to games — that costs a lot of money, too.”
At Michigan, the money comes flooding in from a variety of sources: ticket sales from college football’s biggest stadium that can pack in more than 100,000 fans for every home game; payouts from the richest conference television deal; seat licenses; sponsorships; and donations from some of the more than half-million Michigan graduates who live around the world.
It adds up to what the school expects to be $214 million in athletic department revenue for this academic year, making it one of the wealthiest programs in the country. And that doesn’t include millions more that are raised by booster-run collectives that funnel money to athletes in exchange for their endorsement rights.

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