College Recruiting Budgets Are As Out of Control as Coaching Salaries

Yet no one mentions how rapidly the cost of competing for top talent is rising. Until, that is, the Chronicle of Higher Education issued this report dated August 1. The key finding is that almost half of colleges doubled or tripled the amount of money they spent on recruiting in the last decade. In a world where athletes demand attention, top flight facilities, huge stadiums or arenas, and constant coddling from adults, it sometimes gets overlooked how few schools can compete for top players on a purely economic basis.

On the whole, the 65 biggest spenders shelled out a total of more than $61-million in 2007, an 86-percent increase from 10 years before. That amount does not include salaries for recruiting coordinators or construction and operating costs of the gleaming multimillion-dollar facilities that help lure prospects.

Tennessee, Notre Dame, Florida, Auburn and Kansas State rounded out the top five biggest spenders. The graphs that follow these articles are pretty interesting; breaking down recruiting costs for those schools with football teams, without football teams, and in Divisions II and III. Ultimately it leaves you wondering where the ceiling is on the amount that colleges can spend on recruiting. Legal recruiting, anyway.

Right now, the only thing rising faster than college tuition is the cost of getting kids to come play for your college's sports teams.


Have money, will travel: the quest for top athletes [Chronicle of Higher Education]