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Pay for play: A look at Washington

ESPN.com is looking at whether "pay for play" in college sports -- beyond scholarships -- is feasible, so our contribution is a snapshot of Washington's finances.

Washington has a healthy athletic department, mostly because it generates a lot of revenue in football and, to a far lesser extent, men's basketball.

Over the 2009-2010 academic year -- this past year's figures aren't yet available -- football generated a profit of $14.7 million, while men's basketball was $6.12 million in the black. Put those two together and there's $20.82 million.

Yee haw!

And how could we possibly not pay those guys for generating all that cash?

Well, there's more to consider. There's a reason you hear the terms "revenue" and "non-revenue" when folks talk about college sports.

The Huskies other six men's sports were $4.2 million in the red. The program's nine women's sports lost $6.7 million. So we're talking just south of $11 million in losses that have to be paid for.

Then you have to account for "non-program specific" revenues and expenses: $12,142,090 coming in and $19,746,626 going out.

Ergo, the Huskies total operating surplus was $2,393,812 in 2009-10, though $2,182,515 of that is considered "allocated" revenue that wasn't generated by the program.

Still, that ain't too shabby, particularly for a school whose allocated revenue doesn't include student fees. Just 22 athletic programs were profitable in 2009-10, according to USA Today.

So could Washington pay its players?

Well, if it turned that profit into a stipend for all 646 athletes, which includes athletes who are on partial scholarships or are walk-ons, it could give each about $3,700. Guess here is the athletes would take it, particularly when you note that money would offset the difference in what is covered by a "full" scholarship and what it actually cost to attend the school.

But do all 646 athletes deserve it? Do you give it just to athletes on full scholarships? Or is there a way to give it all to scholarship athletes for revenue sports that doesn't fall afoul of Title IX laws?

Those are the questions. And they are complicated.

University of Washington

What a full scholarship entails: in-state $24,059, out-of-state $39,390

Cost of attendance: in-state $27,830, out-of-state $41,543

Sport Revenue Expense

Football (112) $33,919,639 $19,207,560

Men's basketball (14) $11,481,376 $5,372,380

Other sports -- Men's (6 sports /199 athletes) $1,752,751 $5,925,260

Other sports -- Women's (9 sports/321 athletes) $4,738,554 $11,388,772

Total: $51,892,320 $41,893,320

Washington also had non-program specific revenues and expenses of $12,142,090 and $19,746,626 respectively. The total operating surplus was $2,393,812.

Washington's athletic department receives no student fees. All student fees that go to the university are covered in an athletic scholarship.

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