Penn State football revenue remains steady

Andrew Krammer

The Penn State football program is off to its worst start since 2006.

And the slew of players that have left the program since the NCAA levied some of the heaviest sanctions in college football history has continued. Quarterback Paul Jones announced his departure on Wednesday. 

But hasn't stopped fans from purchasing 68,000 season tickets — about the same as last year — buying up the 60 luxury suites, and donating a record $17.5 million tied to ticket purchases, Bloomberg reported.

"The NCAA put a cage around us, it's just a fact," acting PSU athletics director David Joyner said. "What I like to say is when somebody puts a cage around us, you have to become cage fighters. And that's what we're doing." 

Following an investigation that unveiled a cover-up of former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky's child molestation, the NCAA banned PSU football from postseason play, reduced its annual scholarships by 20 each over the next four years and fined the athletics department $60 million over five years. 

The Nittany Lions (2-2) have only won two games since 1998, as the NCAA wiped out 112 victories from 1998 to 2011 as part of the sanctions. 

Part of Penn State's sustained financial success may come off the back of new coach Bill O'Brien. Before he began his first season with PSU, O'Brien went on a three-week, 18-city tour to share his rebuilding plans and promote the program, Bloomberg reported. 

Penn State's football program netted $43.8 million in profit in 2011. Football profits will be crucial for Penn State, as its athletics department is scheduled to borrow $12 million annually to pay off the five-year NCAA fine.