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Thursday, July 31, 2008
Afternoon musings: Who spends the most in recruiting?

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller

Oregon's athletic recruiting budget of $1,077,300 came up in the links this week (that includes all sports, but football is the overwhelming majority). Some surely went bug-eyed and started barking about booster Phil Knight and the extravagance of the Ducks' athletic department.

Well, this might give you more perspective.

Sure, Oregon ranked first in the Pac-10. But it was 19th overall in the nation. And keep in mind that travel out here is more challenging and expensive than in most other conferences.

The Chronicle of Higher Education story leads: "Nearly half of the nation's largest athletics programs have doubled or tripled their recruitment spending over the past decade, as their pursuit of elite athletes intensifies and becomes more national in scope."

Not surprisingly, five of the top eight were SEC schools, led by Tennessee at a whopping $2 million-and-change.

Funny how USC dominates recruiting like no other team (well, since Florida State in the 1990s), but spends way less than other elite programs.

The median number for Division I-A schools was $632,600.

The Pac-10 as a whole ranked fifth in spending among the six BCS conferences, ahead of only the Big East. (It's worth noting that the expenses were not adjusted for number of teams).

Also, folks who think this sort of spending is insanely excessive should keep in mind that these schools make a lot of money playing football. From the article: "... recruiting accounts for only a small fraction of overall athletics budgets. Among the top 20 spenders in athletics recruiting in 2007, recruiting costs ranged from 1 percent to 3 percent of total athletics spending."

The spending is exorbitant because the revenue is exorbitant.

Links anyone?