Penn State Athletics
Sandy Barbour presides over Penn State's booming business.

Penn State remains a cash cow, women’s lacrosse team reaches NCAA quarters and more

We hope you’ll start your day with us here at the as we work to prepare you for everything that you need to know – Monday through Friday – around the world of Penn State sports. Whether it’s football, basketball, wrestling, hockey, baseball or just a wild story we hope you’ll find interesting, we’re here to share it all with you.

This is your Penn State Wake-Up Call for Monday, May 15. Let’s get started.

Business is booming

The business of college football often gets obscured by the pageantry of game day. By the anticipation of the season, by the twists and turns each fall brings. By the band and the cheerleaders and the adult beverages and all the rest.

But make no mistake, the game is a business, and a big one at that.

Mike Poorman of underscores just how enormous an enterprise Penn State football is. Citing financial data PSU submitted to the U.S. Department of Education to comply with Title IX statutes, he notes that the Nittany Lions’ football program had revenues of $75.4 million in 2015-16, the most recent season for which the numbers were available. That is the most money the program ever has made, Poorman writes, eclipsing the $72.7 million generated in the 2010-11 fiscal year.

Penn State had expenses of $36.1 million in 2015-16, leaving the program with a $39.3 million profit – a 52 percent margin. Poorman compares that with such corporate giants as IBM (7.8 percent), Apple (27.8 percent) and Goldman Sachs (31.6 percent).

Those profits go toward all 31 sports on campus, athletic director Sandy Barbour said during last week’s coaches caravan. They go toward facilities upgrades and contracts such as those of hockey coach Guy Gadowsky and, in all likelihood, the one wrestling coach Cael Sanderson will get; his deal is up next month. As Barbour put it:

“Let’s remember that whether it’s selling a ticket or cultivating a donation or a corporate sponsorship or a T-shirt — whatever it is, to create revenue — it’s about taking that money and putting it back into 800 student-athletes and 31 programs.”

Improvements to the Lasch Building, the team’s football headquarters, are ongoing. There are plans to upgrade other facilities as well. Here’s Barbour on that topic:

“When I talk about facilities, we don’t have to lead or win the arms race. But we do have to run the race. We have to be in it. We can’t be so far behind that it’s a huge disadvantage.”

Women’s lacrosse team advances

Madison Carter had 6 goals and 2 assists and Katie O’Donnell scored 4 goals as the Penn State women’s lacrosse team beat James Madison 19-14 in an NCAA second-round game Sunday.

Maria Auth contributed 3 goals and an assist for the Lions (16-3), who will host Princeton (15-3) in next Sunday’s quarterfinals.

PSU, which beat the Tigers 13-8 on March 21, is making its third straight trip to the quarters. That explains, perhaps, the players’ muted reaction to Sunday’s result, as noted by Josh Moyer of the Centre Daily Times.

“Maybe next time,” said Carter, whose 8 points were a career high.

As O’Donnell told Moyer:

“We’re obviously happy and everybody’s excited about the win, but I think part of our mentality is we’re never content with where we are. I don’t think that was in anybody’s mind to pour Gatorade on [our coach].”

Hi, Mom

Several Nittany Lions football players, including Saquon Barkley, DaeSean Hamilton, Grant Haley and Marcus Allen, took to Twitter to pass along best wishes to their moms on Mother’s Day.

There was also this, from Mark Brennan of Fight on State:

Also in the Land of 10

  • When it comes to the NFL, former Nebraska QB Tommy Armstrong Jr. says he is “trying to keep my mind open for a change.”
  • How film sessions helped transform Iowa G Sean Welsh into an All-American.
  • Rutgers lands a commitment from 2017 PF Myles Johnson.