Big 12 Expansion, The G5's Most Well Endowed Members

By CamSimmons
Sep. 27, 2016

When deciding on expansion candidates the Big 12 will be looking at more than just a programs football record. They will be looking at the financial health of a university. A colleges endowment is not only a reflection of its finances, it directly relates to alumni, private donor, and corporate support of a university. The larger the endowment, the larger the community support. It also reflects how well university administrators have done as fund raisers, and stewards of private donations. Endowments indicate just how deep a university's pockets really are on a private level. 

If the Big 12 is smart they will find programs that are similarly endowed as their current membership. If a program wants to move up to the Power 5 they should already have a Power 5 spreadsheet to display their excellence in fund raising as well as athletics. If a university has a great football program, but a terrible bottom line, it's the administrations fault if they don't make the grade. There are huge sums of money in the hands of private and corporate sports enthusiasts waiting on the sidelines for the right charitable opportunity. Winning coaches are doing their part to move up, now it's time for administrators and presidents to start winning on the field of finance.

A quick look at Group of 5 university endowments brings forth many surprises in comparison to the teams being considered for the Big 12. In the AAC top contender Houston has a respectable endowment of $716,000,000, but is nowhere near the 1.5 billion endowment of SMU, or the 1.2 billion endowments of Cincinnati and Tulane. If the Big 12 where to pick a Texas school based on endowment the biggest surprise is Rice coming in with a whooping 5.5 billion dollar endowment. The other most frequently mention teams for expansion don't even come close, UConn $436,900,000, South Florida 417,000,000, and UCF $155,500,000. 

If the Big 12 where to base their choices on endowments alone here are the top ten picks. 

1. Rice, 2. SMU, 3. BYU, 4. Tulane, 5. Cincinnati, 6. Tulsa, 7. Houston, 8. Boise State, 9. Buffalo, 10. Ohio

Here's a list of the top Group of 5 university endowments by conference.

American Athletic Conference - 1. SMU $1,505,000,000 2. Tulane $1,220,000,000 3. Cincinnati $1,200,000,000 4. Tulsa $1,037,000,000  5. Houston $716,000,000 6. UConn $436,900,000 7. South Florida $417,000,000 8. Memphis $199,000,000 9. ECU $187,900,000 10. UCF $155,500,000.

Conference USA - 1. Rice $5,557,000,000 2. Old Dominion $213,700,000 3. Florida Atlantic $209,000,000.

Independents - 1. BYU $1,470,000,000 2. UMass $307,100,000.

Mid-American Conference - 1. Buffalo $619,300,000 2. Ohio $550,000,000 3. Miami Ohio $460,000,000

Mountain West Conference - 1. Boise State $672,200,000 2. Wyoming $455,100,000 3. New Mexico $403,700,000.

Sun Belt Conference - 1. South Alabama, $497,000,000 2. Idaho $241,000,000 3. New Mexico State, $221,000,000.

Clearly the colleges in the best financial shape having billion dollar plus endowments are Rice, SMU, BYU, Tulane, Cincinnati, and Tulsa. These teams already fit the financial profile of a top Power 5 program. If the Big 12 was forward thinking they would take all six programs before the are gobbled up like candy in some future expansion by other P5's. This way the Big 12 won't get stuck with financial basket cases in the future. Big 12 food for thought.