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Kentucky Wildcats: UK Now Third Among Colleges In Royalty Revenue, SEC #1

We're talking the big, sweet dollars here.  We're talking the... Kwan!
We're talking the big, sweet dollars here. We're talking the... Kwan!

Due to winning the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament in 2012, the University of Kentucky saw royalties from licensed merchandise sales rise 40% in the past year, according to Bloomberg BusinessWeek:

Merchandise royalties at the Lexington-based school, which won the National Collegiate Athletic Association tournament title in April, grew to $6.73 million in the 12 months ended June 30 from $4.80 million the previous year, according to Jason Schlafer, the senior associate athletic director for corporate and university relations.

The Wildcats moved to No. 3 from No. 7 in an annual list of top collegiate merchandise royalty earners released by the College Licensing Co., a division of IMG Worldwide. Kentucky’s successful season and basketball history helped it move into the top three, said Cory Moss, a vice president and managing director for Atlanta-based CLC. The University of Texas remained No. 1 among schools the company tracks.

So who are #1 and #2? A moment of thought would give you some very good candidates, but just to cut to the chase, #2 is the Alabama Crimson Tide and #1 is the Texas Longhorns. Texas is perhaps college sports' overall most successful program (yes, I said that, Burnt Orange Nation), and has been leading the pack since 2005-06. Their successful football, basketball, baseball, and... well, teams in just about every other sport you can name have justifiably placed them at the king of the revenue hill.

#2 and #3 are Alabama and Kentucky, respectively, and these are two "specialist" schools that are in their respective spots primarily due to one sport -- football for Alabama and basketball for Kentucky. While both schools have many other successful sports programs to brag about, their primary sports are the disproportionate contributors to their success. To be fair, that's probably also true about Texas football, although arguably to a lesser degree than Alabama football and UK basketball.

The top 20 look like this:

Rank School Conference
1 Texas Longhorns
Big 12
2 Alabama Crimson Tide
3 Kentucky Wildcats
4 Florida Gators
5 Michigan Wolverines
B1G Ten
6 LSU Tigers
7 North Carolina Tar Heels
8 Georgia Bulldogs
9 Notre Dame Fighting Irish
10 Oklahoma Sooners
Big 12
11 Auburn Tigers
12 Penn St. Nittany Lions
B1G Ten
13 Nebraska Cornhuskers
Big 12
14 Arkansas Razorbacks
15 Wisconsin Badgers
B1G Ten
16 Tennessee Volunteers
17 West Virginia Mountaineers Big East
18 South Carolina Gamecocks
19 Texas A&M Aggies SEC
20 Missouri Tigers

Rank Conference Breakdown Count
1 SEC 11
T2 B1G Ten 3
T2 Big 12 3
T3 ACC 1
T3 Big East 1
T3 Independent 1

Total Result 20

Two noteworthy things: 1) The Louisville Cardinals are pleasantly absent from this group, and 2) is this the right time to chant "SEC...SEC...SEC...? Oh, yeah, a third thing -- ACC 1? Really? I suppose they'll tell us the ACC is an academic conference. Oh, wait ...

Also, I suppose it's worth noting that even without the two former Big 12 members counted, the SEC would still have been the winner by a wide margin. It's also pretty interesting that both new SEC members were in the top 20. Serendipity, or tinfoil-hat conspiracy? You decide.