Michigan State outspent the upstart Panthers by $9.4 million to $1.5 million in men’s hoops last year. Spartans coach Tom Izzo, who will be participating in his sixth Final Four this weekend, makes more than $3 million a year — more than 10 times what Northern Iowa’s Ben Jacobson had been making.
Yet their athletic departments have one thing in common: Without millions in help from their universities, neither could pay its bills. Michigan State’s $81 million budget last year included $3.7 million in university subsidies. Half of Northern Iowa’s $17 million budget came from subsidies and student fees.
In a climate of spiraling costs, skyrocketing coaches’ salaries and softening revenue, athletic programs with much deeper pockets than Northern Iowa’s are showing signs of strain, a USA TODAY analysis of college sports finance data finds.