The Richest College Basketball Programs in America

Darron Cummings/AP/Shutterstock / Darron Cummings/AP/Shutterstock
Darron Cummings/AP/Shutterstock / Darron Cummings/AP/Shutterstock

The NCAA hands out trophies to the men’s and women’s basketball teams that win the NCAA Tournaments each season, honoring the schools that survive the grueling three-week tournaments to claim the national championship.

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Although there’s no trophy for the schools that rake in the most cash, GOBankingRates decided to rank the top 25 programs by combined revenue for men’s and women’s programs.

The average yearly revenue for the schools on the list is $25,361,581, and that number is mostly drawn from the men’s programs, which average $22,436,239 in revenue. Most of the schools are (surprise, surprise) major programs in top conferences, but there are a few outliers as well, including the top-ranked team in this year’s NCAA Tournament: Gonzaga.

Read on to see which schools are ranked, and you might be surprised by the No. 1 program.

Last updated: March 18, 2021

Dayton, OH, USA / February 28, 2020: University of Dayton sign, with fresh winter snow on the ground.
Dayton, OH, USA / February 28, 2020: University of Dayton sign, with fresh winter snow on the ground.

25. Dayton

  • Total Basketball Revenue: $17,709,402

  • Men’s Basketball Revenue: $16,281,364

  • Women’s Basketball Revenue: $1,428,038

The Flyers have a long history of tournament success, reaching the national championship game in 1967 and the Elite Eight in 1984 and 2017.

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University-of-Texas-Austin
University-of-Texas-Austin

24. Texas

  • Total Basketball Revenue: $18,798,436

  • Men’s Basketball Revenue: $16,493,236

  • Women’s Basketball Revenue: $2,305,200

Despite three Final Four appearances, the Longhorn men are still seeking their first national championship. The women won it all in 1986 and also made three Final Fours.

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Kansas-Lawrence
Kansas-Lawrence

23. Kansas

  • Total Basketball Revenue: $19,059,926

  • Men’s Basketball Revenue: $18,974,009

  • Women’s Basketball Revenue: $85,917

The Jayhawks basketball program is all about the men’s team. Kansas is one of the blue bloods of college basketball, with three national championships and six runner-up finishes.

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University of Pittsburgh Campus
University of Pittsburgh Campus

22. Pittsburgh

  • Total Basketball Revenue: $19,166,209

  • Men’s Basketball Revenue: $13,220,336

  • Women’s Basketball Revenue: $5,945,873

The Panthers have played against elite competition for most of their basketball program’s lifetime, including stints in the Big East and ACC. The men’s team has seven Sweet 16 appearances, while the women reached the Sweet 16 twice.

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Baylor University
Baylor University

21. Baylor

  • Total Basketball Revenue: $19,345,594

  • Men’s Basketball Revenue: $9,860,432

  • Women’s Basketball Revenue: $9,485,162

The men’s and women’s programs bring in almost equal revenue because the Baylor women’s team has three national championships and is a perennial power.

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Minnesota: University of Minnesota — Twin Cities
Minnesota: University of Minnesota — Twin Cities

20. Minnesota

  • Total Basketball Revenue: $19,925,229

  • Men’s Basketball Revenue: $18,835,871

  • Women’s Basketball Revenue: $1,089,358

The Golden Gophers, who play in the rough-and-tumble Big Ten, made the 1997 Final Four.

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Collegiate building on the Gonzaga University campus in Spokane, WA.
Collegiate building on the Gonzaga University campus in Spokane, WA.

19. Gonzaga

  • Total Basketball Revenue: $20,087,825

  • Men’s Basketball Revenue: $16,147,924

  • Women’s Basketball Revenue: $3,939,901

Gonzaga is the epitome of the “new blood” instead of “blue blood” in college basketball. The tiny Jesuit school from Spokane, Washington, has been to every NCAA Tournament since 1999, reaching the title game in 2017. The women’s team is a growing power as well.

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Knoxville, TN, USA - September 25, 2014:The Hill is the colloquial name for the location of various academic buildings on the University of Tennessee, Knoxville's campus.
Knoxville, TN, USA - September 25, 2014:The Hill is the colloquial name for the location of various academic buildings on the University of Tennessee, Knoxville's campus.

18. Tennessee

  • Total Basketball Revenue: $20,508,010

  • Men’s Basketball Revenue: $17,003,826

  • Women’s Basketball Revenue: $3,504,184

The women’s program at Tennessee has a history of success, with eight national championships under legendary coach Pat Summit. The men’s program has been a regular NCAA Tournament participant in recent years.

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17. TCU

  • Total Basketball Revenue: $21,294,128

  • Men’s Basketball Revenue: $14,852,389

  • Women’s Basketball Revenue: $6,441,739

The Horned Frogs men’s team hasn’t been to the Elite Eight since 1968, while the women’s team hasn’t been past the second round in its history.

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The Campus of the University of Michigan Law School in Ann Arbor is also known as "The Law Quad" or "The Law Quadrangle".
The Campus of the University of Michigan Law School in Ann Arbor is also known as "The Law Quad" or "The Law Quadrangle".

16. Michigan

  • Total Basketball Revenue: $21,580,821

  • Men’s Basketball Revenue: $21,114,322

  • Women’s Basketball Revenue: $466,499

The Wolverines men’s team won the national championship in 1989 but might be even better known for the “Fab Five” teams of Chris Webber, Jalen Rose, Juwan Howard, Jimmy King and Ray Jackson in 1991 and 1992, when the team made consecutive national championship games.

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University-of-Arkansas
University-of-Arkansas

15. Arkansas

  • Total Basketball Revenue: $21,922,477

  • Men’s Basketball Revenue: $21,424,702

  • Women’s Basketball Revenue: $497,775

Under coach Nolan Richardson and his famed “40 Minutes of Hell” pressing defense, the Razorbacks won the 1994 national title and reached the 1995 title game. The Arkansas women reached the Final Four in 1998.

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University of Illinois college campus in Urbana Champaign
University of Illinois college campus in Urbana Champaign

14. Illinois

  • Total Basketball Revenue: $22,074,365

  • Men’s Basketball Revenue: $21,419,589

  • Women’s Basketball Revenue: $654,776

The Illini men were runners-up in 2005 and reached four other Final Fours. The women’s team made the Sweet 16 in back-to-back years, 1997-1998.

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University-of-Arizona
University-of-Arizona

13. Arizona

  • Total Basketball Revenue: $23,489,226

  • Men’s Basketball Revenue: $22,437,254

  • Women’s Basketball Revenue: $1,051,972

The Arizona men’s basketball team has long been a power in the West, winning the 1997 championship and finishing second in 2001. The Wildcats women’s team reached a high point with a Sweet 16 berth in 1998.

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University-of-Wisconsin-Madison
University-of-Wisconsin-Madison

12. Wisconsin

  • Total Basketball Revenue: $23,772,082

  • Men’s Basketball Revenue: $21,701,868

  • Women’s Basketball Revenue: $2,070,214

The Badgers men’s team won the national championship in 1941, then didn’t return to the title game until 2015. Wisconsin does have two other Final Four appearances. The women’s team has never reached the third round of the NCAA Tournament.

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Florida State University
Florida State University

11. Florida State

  • Total Basketball Revenue: $24,453,445

  • Men’s Basketball Revenue: $16,773,013

  • Women’s Basketball Revenue: $7,680,432

The Seminoles’ women’s program has the second-largest revenue behind Baylor in the rankings, and the program has reached three Elite Eights. The men’s team made the Final Four just once, in 1972.

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East Lansing, MI, USA - August 1, 2014: An entrance to Michigan State University.
East Lansing, MI, USA - August 1, 2014: An entrance to Michigan State University.

10. Michigan State

  • Total Basketball Revenue: $24,477,188

  • Men’s Basketball Revenue: $23,808,250

  • Women’s Basketball Revenue: $668,938

The Spartans men’s program has been one of the most successful of the 2000s, winning the national championship in 2000 and reaching seven Final Fours. The women’s program reached the 2005 Final Four.

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West Lafayette, Indiana/USA March 30 2020: Purdue University in the time of COVID-19 Social Distancing & Self Quarantine.
West Lafayette, Indiana/USA March 30 2020: Purdue University in the time of COVID-19 Social Distancing & Self Quarantine.

9. Purdue

  • Total Basketball Revenue: $24,861,045

  • Men’s Basketball Revenue: $18,017,191

  • Women’s Basketball Revenue: $6,843,854

The Boilermakers men have the most Big Ten Conference championships with 24, and the team has made two Final Fours. The women’s team won the 1999 championship.

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Ohio-State-University-Columbus
Ohio-State-University-Columbus

8. Ohio State

  • Total Basketball Revenue: $25,747,924

  • Men’s Basketball Revenue: $24,953,122

  • Women’s Basketball Revenue: $794,802

The Buckeyes men’s program won the 1960 championship and reached 11 Final Fours. The women’s team finished as runners-up in 1993.

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7. Marquette

  • Total Basketball Revenue: $26,428,721

  • Men’s Basketball Revenue: $21,856,683

  • Women’s Basketball Revenue: $4,572,038

Marquette’s men’s team won the 1977 national title under legendary coach Al Maguire, and the program also reached the Final Four in 1974 and 2003. The women’s team made the second round six times.

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Indiana-University-Bloomington-Indiana
Indiana-University-Bloomington-Indiana

6. Indiana

  • Total Basketball Revenue: $27,316,404

  • Men’s Basketball Revenue: $27,008,415

  • Women’s Basketball Revenue: $307,989

The Hoosiers have five national basketball titles, which is fitting since Indiana is known for its basketball. The Indiana women haven’t had the same success, reaching the second round of the NCAA Tournament just three times.

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University-of-North-Carolina-Chapel-Hill
University-of-North-Carolina-Chapel-Hill

5. North Carolina

  • Total Basketball Revenue: $27,894,970

  • Men’s Basketball Revenue: $27,076,307

  • Women’s Basketball Revenue: $818,663

The Tar Heels’ men’s program has six national championships, while the women won in 1994.

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Hall of Languages, Syracuse University, May 9, 2014.
Hall of Languages, Syracuse University, May 9, 2014.

4. Syracuse

  • Total Basketball Revenue: $36,956,351

  • Men’s Basketball Revenue: $34,567,071

  • Women’s Basketball Revenue: $2,389,280

Syracuse’s men have one national championship (in 2003) but is a perennial contender, with six Final Four appearances. The Orange women’s team was runner-up in 2016.

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Lexington, Kentucky, USA - April 22, 2016: University of Kentucky banner on the exterior of Commonwealth Stadium in downtown Lexington.
Lexington, Kentucky, USA - April 22, 2016: University of Kentucky banner on the exterior of Commonwealth Stadium in downtown Lexington.

3. Kentucky

  • Total Basketball Revenue: $39,298,874

  • Men’s Basketball Revenue: $38,829,651

  • Women’s Basketball Revenue: $469,223

The Wildcats have the largest discrepancy between men’s and women’s revenue at $38,360,428. The Kentucky men’s program has won eight national championships. The Wildcats women have reached four Elite Eights.

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Duke University in North Carolina
Duke University in North Carolina

2. Duke

  • Total Basketball Revenue: $39,311,445

  • Men’s Basketball Revenue: $35,489,891

  • Women’s Basketball Revenue: $3,821,554

Under legendary coach Mike Krzyzewski, Duke has become a college powerhouse. The Blue Devils have won five national championships in his tenure. The women’s team has two runner-up finishes, in 1999 and 2006.

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LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY, USA - JUNE 12, 2016: The University of Louisville (UofL) is a public university in Louisville, Kentucky.
LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY, USA - JUNE 12, 2016: The University of Louisville (UofL) is a public university in Louisville, Kentucky.

1. Louisville

  • Total Basketball Revenue: $48,559,421

  • Men’s Basketball Revenue: $42,759,248

  • Women’s Basketball Revenue: $5,800,173

The Cardinals’ basketball program blows everyone else out of the water, with nearly $9 million more in revenue than the next program on the list. The Louisville men have three national titles and 10 Final Four appearances, while the women’s program is a growing power, with two runner-up finishes and three Final Fours since 2009.

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Methodology: For this piece GOBankingRates used the United States Department of Education’s “Equity in Athletics Data Analysis” (EADA) dataset to find (1) total basketball revenues; (2) men’s basketball revenues; and (3) women’s basketball revenues for all NCAA Division I schools all in FY18-19 data (the most recent available). Only the top 50 schools in terms of factor (1) were included in the final list. All data was collected on and up to date as of March 1, 2021.

This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: The Richest College Basketball Programs in America