How much do colleges really spend on their athletic programs? The answers might surprise you.
In general, every college’s athletic endowments are dwarfed by their university-wide contemporaries. Even at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, which has the largest sports endowment in the country, the athletics endowment is only 1/10th the size of the university’s total endowment.
This only tells part of the story, though. The gap between the athletic and overall university endowments shrinks, and in some cases reverses, when you look at endowment values on a per-student basis. That’s because there are far fewer student-athletes on campuses than there are traditional students.
Here is a quick look at some of the more notable athletic endowments at universities across the country:
Schools do spend a significant amount of money recruiting players to their major sports programs.
For instance, the University of Tennessee, in 2006/2007, spent more than $2 million to recruit student-athletes. From 1997 through 2007, the university boosted its recruiting dollars by 119 percent.
The university is far from alone. Notre Dame spent more than $1.7 million on recruiting athletes in 2006/2007. That’s an increase of 161 percent from 1999 through 2007. At the University of Florida, officials spent $1.4 million on recruitment efforts. That’s an increase of 118 percent from 1999. At Auburn, the school spent $1.3 million on recruiting, an increase of 113 percent from 1999.
Even smaller schools are spending more money to recruit talented athletes. Division III school New York State University spent $181,400 to recruit student-athletes in 2006/2007. That’s up 8 percent from 1999. St. Lawrence University spent $156,700 in the same year, up 16 percent from 1999.
The biggest recruitment spending jump took place at the University of Maryland, where officials spent $912,100 in 2006/2007, an increase of 227 percent from 1999. At Kansas State University, officials spent $1.3 million, a jump of 267 percent. The jump was 248 percent at Louisiana State University, where officials spent $994,200 on recruitment.
At Duke, the recruitment budget has soared 229 percent since 1999. In the 2006/2007 year, Duke spent $1.2 million on recruiting student-athletes. West Virginia University spent $1.09 million on recruiting these athletes, a jump of 175 percent from 1999.
Overall, the Southeastern Conference schools have spent the most on recruiting, more than $13 million, a jump of 98 percent from 1999. The Big 12 schools spent more than $11 million, good for a rise of 73 percent; while the ACC spent more than $10 million, a big jump of 144 percent. The Big 10 spent $10.1 million, a jump of 75 percent from 1999; while the PAC 10 spent $8.3 million, a jump of 80 percent.