Brad Humphreys discusses the Fanhouse data about spending in big time college football. Fanhouse collected total expense data from the US Department of Education's EADA data set and found that the programs that usually populate the top of the rankings (Ohio State, Texas, Alabama, etc.) tend to spend the most on their programs.
While those schools spend in the neighborhood of $25.1 to $32 million, schools like Louisiana-Monroe spend just over $2.9 million on their programs. None of this is surprising to me. Spending imbalance derives from revenue imbalance which derives from demand imbalance. Ohio State has a bigger fanbase than Louisiana-Monroe and that drives the spending differential between those two schools.
But Brad correctly notes this is an apples to oranges comparison because schools like Ohio State and Texas spend a lot on everything else. So he recalculates spending on football on a per-dollar-spent-on-student-services basis using data available from the IPEDS data base. Here's Brad:
Here’s how the Top 5, and cellar dweller Louisiana-Monroe compare by the ratio of student services spending to football spending
- Louisiana-Monroe 2.7
- Ohio State 2.6
- Texas 2.0
- Notre Dame 1.0
- Alabama 0.9
- Auburn 0.7
Louisiana-Monroe spent $8 million on student services and 43 million on football, or roughly $2.7 dollars of student service spending for every dollar of football spending. Auburn spent seventy cents on student services for every dollar spent on football. Ohio State’s football spending is actually not that big when compared to student service spending. I hope that students at Alabama and Auburn get a lot of benefit out of football, because they are not getting nearly the student services that students at, say, Louisiana-Monroe are getting.
When I saw Brad's post, I wondered how the Big XII schools (circa 2010) measured up against each other. So I gathered student service spending, instructional spending, and enrollment data for each Big XII school for the 08-09 school year from IPEDS and their football spending for the 09-10 school year from EADA. I calculated the spending per dollar spent on football for each expense category. Here's the data for student service spending.
Baylor leads the way with a whopping $5.36 dollars spent on student services for every dollar spent on its football program. This year's Baylor program is bowl-eligible for the first time as a Big XII school, so football success isn't something experienced on a regular basis for the Bears. But Baylor students get a lot spent on them in other areas of the school. A&M, CU, ISU, Mizzou, Tech, and Texas all have values over 2 while OSU, NU, and OU bring up the rear. Texas looks pretty good in comparison, but remember that Texas has a lot of undergraduates. Here is the dollar-for-dollar spending per 1000 students.
Baylor comes out on top with KSU in second. NU, UT, and OU - the historical powers - bring up the rear. Comparatively, Louisiana-Monroe spends 45 cents per 1000 undergraduates, postively Baylorish. So what Brad comments holds even more with the rest of the Big XII: "I hope that students at" every Big XII school save Baylor "get a lot of benefit out of football, because they are not getting nearly the student services that students at, say, Louisiana-Monroe are getting." Or Baylor.
I've gathered data on research and instruction spending as well as data on spending on men's basketball, but crunching that data is left for a future post.