Local teams among richest college basketball programs

WASHINGTON — College basketball might be an amateur sport, but the top programs bring in professional cash.

On Thursday, The Wall Street Journal released a list of the 50 most profitable college basketball programs, and it includes some local teams.

The University of Maryland, College Park finished the season ranked No. 18 in the AP Top 25 rankings, but it comes in as the 13th most profitable college basketball program with a net worth of nearly $124 million.

Virginia comes in at the 25th slot, with a net worth of just under $80 million.  The university had one of the biggest gains in Division I basketball, up 84 percent from 2014.

Virginia Commonwealth’s value is up almost 37 percent, coming in at 40th with $50 million, and Virginia Tech rounds out the local schools at No. 45, with $46 million.

Off-court drama and a self-imposed post-season ban didn’t seem to wain Louisville, which has the highest net worth of any school at $301 million.

Kansas, Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio State round out the top five richest programs.

If the Final Four results were based on value, 39th ranked Oklahoma ($51 million) would beat 54th ranked Villanova ($40 million), and No. 7 ranked North Carolina ($221 million) would top No. 9 ranked Syracuse ($204 million).

North Carolina is the most valuable team (and only No. 1 seed) still left in the tournament.

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