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Ohio State athletic revenue was $210 million but department lost money

Ohio State’s athletic department reported an operating deficit of $10 million last year, the first time in a decade that the department ended the fiscal year in the red.

But university administrators contend that the size of the budget deficit is significantly smaller — a total shortfall of less than $1 million — than what is listed on the report it must annually submit to the NCAA.

In its filing with the governing body for college sports, the school showed $210.5 million in total revenues and $220.6 million in operating expenses for the 2019 fiscal year, which runs July 1, 2018, through June 30, 2019. It was a sharp increase in expenses from the previous fiscal year in which it reported a $1.75 million surplus.

Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields runs for yardage against Michigan during the second half at Michigan Stadium.

“There’s no way I would be sitting here with 36 sports if we had a $10 million deficit,” Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith said. “It just wouldn’t happen. I’d be dropping sports and ticket prices would go up.”

Smith was not taking either step, he added.

Citing an internal management report, school administrators said the 2019 deficit sat at only $624,359, with $210.3 million in total revenues and $210.9 million in expenses.

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