Big 12: Miami (Ohio) RedHawks
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
A sports management study group at Texas A&M has come up with an interesting study, crunching numbers and analyzing the overall performance of athletic departments in terms of efficiency.
It might seem a little dubious that Texas A&M leads Big 12 schools in a study produced by an A&M-affiliated group, but facts are facts.
The way the school's Laboratory for the Study of Intercollegiate Athletics (LSIA) figured this out is by analyzing the number of national and conference championships won compared to the athletic budgets of the competing schools.
In a way, this is an "everyman" version of the Learfield Sports Directors' Cup, which clearly benefits those schools with the biggest budgets and who compete in the most sports.
Not surprisingly, the LSIA list is heavily stacked with non-BCS schools at the top of the list. The first 10 schools include (in order): Utah State, Kent State, Louisiana Tech, Akron, BYU, Utah, Boise State, Tulsa, Miami (Ohio) and SMU. Oregon, at 11th, is the highest-ranked school from a BCS-affiliated conference.
Maryland at 14th is next, followed by Texas A&M at 15th. The Aggies have won three NCAA championships in the last two months -- winning national championships in men's golf, men's track and field and women's track and field.
The timing of this study is curious, particularly considering the recent cutbacks in the A&M athletic administrative staff that were announced last week. The Aggies' athletic department recently slashed 17 positions to help trim $4.5 million from its budget for the 2009-10 fiscal year. That's only part of a $16 million debt the athletic department will have to repay back to the university beginning in November.
No other Big 12 teams are ranked in the top 25 in the final LSIA standings. Oklahoma State is ranked 28th and Baylor is 34th.
Texas A&M athletic director Bill Byrne is facing some difficult financial decisions as he attempts to balance his budget. But at least in one determination, he can take some solace in seeing his programs are getting some recognition for accomplishments done in an efficient manner.