The System: The Glory and Scandal of Big-Time College Football by Jeff Benedict and Armen Keteyian:
What kept Brandon—and so many other athletic directors up at night—was the razor-thin margin for error. Michigan’s overall surplus for fiscal year 2012-13 was estimated to be just $5.8 million. The athletic department needed rivers of cash to stay out of the red. More than 70 percent of that money—or nearly $90 million—flowed from a single source.
“Michigan athletics cannot be successful if Michigan football does not lead our success, because the revenue it creates is what we live off of,” said Brandon. “I think it was Mark Twain who said, ‘If you put all your eggs in one basket, you better watch your basket.’ That’s our basket. It can’t get sick. It can’t falter.”
That’s where the number 22 came in. According to the latest NCAA figures, just 22 of the top 120 FBS schools had turned a profit in 2010-11. The average institutional debt of the other 100 or so schools was approaching $11 million each.