Ohio State’s football program generates nearly $90 million per year for the athletic department and has been valued by one news outlet as high as $1 billion, making it a valuable revenue generator for the university.
The program was rocked Wednesday by news that OSU football coach Urban Meyer was put on administrative leave, which could have significant impacts on the program.
Meyer was put on leave following a report that he knew about domestic violence allegations against assistant coach Zach Smith in 2015. Smith was fired in July after the allegations came to light, and Meyer previously denied knowing about the allegations.
Ohio State has placed Meyer on paid leave while they investigate the claims. Ryan Day, one of the team’s offensive coordinators, was named interim head coach.
Meyer is one of the highest paid coaches in the country. This news outlet previously reported that Meyer made $5.28 million in 2017. He also recently signed a contract extension that increased his salary to $7.6 million in 2018.
According to Equity in Athletics, a data analysis website operated by the U.S. Department of Education, the revenues for the program brought in $89,893,135 in revenue and incurred $38,446,470 in expenses in 2016. By comparison, Clemson, another top football program, brought in $51,712,856 in revenue that year.
Scandals have cost schools sponsorships and advertising money in the past. According to Ad Age, Penn State University lost $1 million in sponsorship and advertising dollars after a 2013 scandal that ousted longtime coach Joe Paterno.
Ohio State’s football program has previously been valued by the Wall Street Journal at more than $1 billion in 2017.