Forbes ranks LSU fourth-most valuable football program

Michael Bonnette

Forbes Magazine has ranked the LSU football program as the fourth-most valuable team in college football with worth of $105 million.

LSU trails only Texas ($139 million), Notre Dame ($117 million) and Alabama ($110 million). Michigan is fifth at $100 million. Florida at No. 6 and Georgia at No. 8 are the only other two Southeastern Conference teams in the top 10. Other SEC teams in the Top 25 include: Auburn at No. 11, Arkansas at No. 12, Texas A&M at No. 14, South Carolina at No. 18 and Tennessee at No. 20.

LSU is currently in the midst of the best stretch of football in program history, leading the nation with 14 straight years of at least eight wins and reaching a bowl game for a school-record 14th consecutive season. The 14th-ranked Tigers (9-3) face Iowa (8-4) in the Outback Bowl on Jan. 1 in Tampa.

To determine college football's most valuable teams, Forbes considered each team's value to its athletic department, its university's academic endeavors, its conference and its school's local economy.

Athletic value consists of football profit that is directed toward supporting non-revenue sports, like softball or gymnastics, while a team's value to academics consists of money that supports football scholarships or other non-athletic programming, like faculty support, non-athletic scholarships or a library fund.

Conference value consists of revenue generated for other conference teams by participating in a bowl game, and a team's value to its local community consists of the direct spending injected by fans visiting the area on days of the team's home games.

LSU is a self-sustaining unit of the University, and it is one of the few athletic departments in the nation that receives no state funding and no student fees. The LSU Athletic Department has committed to transferring $7 million annually to the academic side of the university.