No athletic department could match what Kansas State did in 2010-11, according to an ESPN report.
The department was the most profitable of 99 public schools that field Division I-A football teams, pulling in a net income of nearly $23 million, according to open records requests for audited financial reports that schools submit each year to the NCAA. The 2010-11 fiscal year is most recent data available.
As for the methodology for defining net income, that is up for debate.
Using this method, ESPN determined that 79 of the 99 departments either broke even or showed a surplus for 2010-11.
The NCAA has a different set of criteria. The governing body "subtracts athletic department revenue that comes from student fees, state funds and money from the university."
By NCAA accounting, only 19 public schools were in the black.
Kansas State assistant athletic director of communications Kenny Lannou told the Kansas City Star that either way, the financial results could be skewed.
"Every school does it differently," he said. "If a guy comes in says he is going to donate $5 million over five years, some schools will count that $1 million at a time over five years. The way our accounting shop does it, they report that $5 million all in the first year.
"We didn't get to $23 million just from ticket sales and donors over that year period. That was everything, which included multi-year pledges, so you can see where the numbers can get skewed. But over a period of time, it should even out."
Regardless, it's a remarkable turnaround for Kansas State, whose department was running a $2.8 million deficit in 2009. Then John Currie was hired as athletic director and Bill Snyder was brought back as football coach. Snyder's first team finished 6-6 but the Wildcats surged to 10-3 last season.
As long as the legendary Snyder is around, the good times should continue to roll in Manhattan.