Penn State is B1G's most valuable team

December, 23, 2011
12/23/11
3:45
PM ET
Forbes magazine recently conducted its rankings of most valuable college football programs, and seven Big Ten programs made the list of 20.

The Forbes study examines four areas, the first two of which are weighted more in determining the final rankings:

  • Revenue directed toward university programs and spending (including football scholarships)
  • Football revenue used to support other athletic programs
  • Distribution of bowl game revenue among conference teams
  • Economic impact of visiting fans for each team's home games

Which Big Ten team is deemed the most valuable? The Penn State Nittany Lions.

Penn State retained the No. 3 spot in the Forbes rankings, which most recently took place in 2009. The school trails only Texas and Notre Dame in the rankings.

The sex-abuse scandal didn't affect Penn State's value in this year's rankings, but it likely will in the future. While big sponsors like Pepsi and Nike remain committed to the school, others could jump ship. Forbes contributor Patrick Rishe estimates Penn State could end up losing $20-30 million as a result of the scandal.

One Big Ten school that has seen a loss in value since 2009 is Ohio State, which dropped to No. 13 in the Forbes rankings. The Buckeyes' team value decreased by 8 percent to $78 million.

Michigan, meanwhile, moved up to No. 5 in the Forbes rankings and saw a 15 percent increase in team value since 2009, which the magazine attributes to academic funding. Forbes said Michigan, which has a value of $94 million, contributes more to football scholarships than any other public university in its study.

Nebraska comes in at No. 14 with a value of $77 million. Interestingly, Forbes reports that Nebraska's value decreased by 18 percent since 2009 in part because the team's travel budget is higher now. This likely won't last as Nebraska starts reaping the benefits of being in the financially flush Big Ten.

Right behind the Huskers is Wisconsin at No. 15. Wisconsin had a 40 percent increase in value since 2009 as the athletic program contributed $3 million toward football scholarships and $4 million toward university programs.

Michigan State ranks No. 19 in value at $59 million, a 3 percent increase from 2009. After Penn State and Michigan, MSU had the Big Ten's third-highest football profit.

Iowa enters the Forbes rankings at No. 20 after being unranked in 2009. The Hawkeyes have a value of $48 million, boosted by a strong football profit.

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