NCAA Football Finances

Fanhouse has an interesting point summarizing some recently released data on spending by NCAA Division I-A football programs (sorry – I refuse to adopt the FBS/FCS terminology)  in the 2009-2010 season. The data source is the US Department of Education’s EADA data base.  The top five football spenders are

  1. Ohio State ($31.76 million)
  2. Alabama ($31.11 million)
  3. Notre Dame ($29.49 million)
  4. Auburn ($27.91 million)
  5. Texas ($25.11)

The bottom of the Division I-A list is Louisiana-Monroe with $2.98 million spent on football. When I look at lists like this, I always wonder if that is a lot of spending or a little.  Ohio State clearly spends a lot more on football than Louisiana-Monroe, but Ohio State probably spends a lot more on everything than Louisiana-Monroe.

As a simple comparison, I got data on FY 08-09 spending on student services at each university from the IPEDS data set.  One way to place the football spending at each university in context is to compare football spending to spending on student services.  I don’t know what the best comparator for football spending is, but IPEDS defines student service spending consistently across institutions and student service spending is some indicator of the quality of student life at a school, as is the football program.   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.





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