Thing is, the sheer amount of wealth generated by the College Football Playoff alone — roughly $600 million per year — proves otherwise. How so? Let’s go back in time. All the way back to the 2013-14 season, the last one in which the national championship wasn’t decided by a four-team playoff, but rather by a single title game played under the aegis of the much-loathed Bowl Championship Series.
Back then, the sport’s financial picture looked, well, awfully rosy. From ticket and merchandise sales to athletic department “donations” to multimillion-dollar television contracts, major college football brought in about $3.4 billion in revenues, according to Andy Schwarz, an economist who consulted for the plaintiffs in former UCLA basketball star Ed O’Bannon’s antitrust lawsuit against the NCAA.
Alabama coach Nick Saban was making $5.5 million a year, 69 other coaches were making more than $1 million annually, and coaching salaries as a whole had increased by 90 percent since 2006.