Men's basketball became big business under Rick Pitino at the University of Louisville

Rick Pitino has been “effectively fired” after the latest scandal to hit the University of Louisville men’s basketball team. While some have openly wondered why it took so long, one look at how much money the basketball team was making should make that clear.

When Pitino took over the Louisville program in 2001, it was already one of the top money-makers in college basketball. However, since then, the program’s revenues have skyrocketed. Over the last ten reporting years, Louisville men’s basketball took in $US356 million, $US116 million more than any other team.

The chart below looks at how much money Louisville men’s basketball made and spent during Pitino’s tenure compared to the other top revenue programs when he started. As is abundantly clear, Louisville was doing well, and then it became a juggernaut, money-making machine.

Schools included in the average are the other schools in the top 11 in men’s basketball revenue in 2002, including Arizona, UNC, Kentucky, Syracuse, Texas, Ohio State, Indiana, Maryland, Duke, and Kansas.

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