So how do Big East teams stack up when it comes to recruiting spending?
Our friends over at ESPN Recruiting Nation did some number crunching and got data for 99 of the 120 FBS schools for the 2010 and 2011 fiscal years. Here are how the six universities that competed in the Big East this past season spent for fiscal year 2011:
West Virginia: $207,933
Only UConn and West Virginia spent less on recruiting in 2011 than they did in 2010. As Mitch Sherman explains in his story, "When it comes to assigning dollars for football recruiting, no foolproof formula exists."
A school like USF might be able to spend a little less because it does nearly all of its recruiting in state, eliminating travel costs like airfare and extended hotel stays. Houston coach Tony Levine, whose team joins the Big East in 2013, told me he has five assistants that recruit the Houston area alone. Think about how much is saved in airfare and hotel stays, because assistants can just drive their own cars and sleep in their own homes.
Levine also points out that in the state of Texas, if an assistant does not stay overnight in a hotel while out recruiting, he does not get per diem money. That also keeps costs down. Houston spent $158,605 on football recruiting in 2011. Houston also has eliminated sending form letters to potential recruits in the mail, saving on postage and printing. Levine says you can reach recruits directly by using social media, which is free.
Cincinnati also can save money on recruiting when it comes to recruiting in talent-rich Ohio. When the Bearcats do venture into states like Florida and Georgia to recruit, assistants might take cheaper flights that connect in order to save on costs. As coach Butch Jones told me, he is never going to short-change recruiting, because it is the lifeline in any program.
"We are going to do things in a first-class manner," Jones said. "If we don't have the proper resources, I'm going to find them. I will never let lack of finances hinder our recruitment process."
As you can see, Rutgers outdistanced the league in recruiting spending. It was clearly worth it this past year, as Rutgers signed a Top 25 recruiting class -- the most highly regarded group in school history.