• You do not need to register if you are not going to pay the yearly fee to post. If you register please click here or log in go to "settings" then "my account" then "User Upgrades" and you can renew.

[Infographic] Recruitment Spending -versus- Winning Percentages

DuckTownHusker

Blackshirt Sith Lord
10 Year Member
The graph below shows recruitment spending versus winning percentages over the last three (full) seasons. In essence, what you're seeing here is akin to an ROI statement for recruiting. In other words, how much are we investing (spending) on the business and what kind of interest (wins) are we earning. It provides a very clear snapshot into which schools are using their recruitment dollars wisely.

As always, a few caveats:
  • Recruitment spending includes things like on-campus visits, plane tickets, meals, swag, etc., but does not necessarily include things like coaches' salaries or athletic facilities. That being said, there are instances where a school might employ a recruitment analyst to help them "moneyball" their recruitment strategy, and some of those costs would also be included as well.
  • This is ostensibly a Top 50 and/or Power 5 list with a few callouts. Some schools don't report financial data (notably the private universities) so we're missing the likes of USC, Notre Dame, Miami, Northwestern, etc.
  • Further, I had no interest in trying to comb for every dollar at schools like Middle Tennessee State or UTEP. There are a bevy of financial reports from sources like the Wall Street Journal and USA Today that get released on college football budgets and spending, but they typically focus on Power 5 or even just a Top 25-50 ranking. End result? Sorry, smaller guys, I'm not going to dig through mountains of PDFs to find out Temple's recruitment budget.
  • That being said, the G5 isn't totally skipped as there were 4 schools from the American (Cincinnati, Houston, UConn and East Carolina) as well as perennial G5 Cinderella Boise State who had easily-obtained data. Call it a Top 55 list, I guess.
  • Finally, I opted not to include last season since Covidball 2020 is just a hot mess of bad data points.

cy2Stfs.png



Onto the analysis:
  • The quick way to read this chart is to look at whether a team's winning percent exceeds their spend. Note that these two variables are not directly correlated, so don't fixate so much on the exact placement of a particular bar or line, but rather consider their relationship to other teams. Remember, think of these teams as a stock that you might invest in. Who gets the biggest bang for their buck? Let's look at a few examples to get some meaningful data:
    • Alabama and Clemson. The Tigers have an ever-so-slight advantage in winning percentage (0.932 versus 0.905) but the real difference here is their recruitment spend. Alabama spent north of $7 million over the last three seasons while Clemson spent around $5 million. Similar results, but Clemson has the clear advantage in keeping costs lower. Could that be due to higher assistant coach salaries at Alabama? Or Saban's army of analysts? Or maybe Dabo just gets less highly touted players and still manages to win big with them?
    • Illinois and Washingon. Both the Illini and the Huskies spent around $2.5 million on recruitment over the last three years. But Washington has a 0.700 record, while Illinois is limping along at 0.294. Similar investment into recruitment, but Washington is getting massively better results. Maybe the Huskies have better development? Illinois coaching turnover?
  • In terms of conference appearances, the Big Ten has the strongest representation with 13 out of 14 teams appearing in this list (92%), and I suspect that Northwestern is probably here as well, but they don't report financials. Going down the list by percentage of the whole conference are the Pac 12 (83% - 10/12), the Big XII (80% - 8/10), the SEC (79% - 11/14), and the ACC (57% - 8/14).

It's obvious that some teams do more with less. Look at Ohio State, for example, who spent less than HALF of what Alabama spent. And they have the same record over three years. An interesting way to interpret this data is to contrast spend versus wins, and generate a stack rank of the delta. This ROI-style glance gives us a pretty good idea which teams are getting the job done on the cheap.
  • It's not a big surprise that Wisconsin leads the pack. The Badgers spend next-to-last on this list yet they're 8th overall in wins.
  • Also somewhat unsurprising is that the G5 schools trend towards the top of this efficiency list. They typically have low budgets but teams like Cincinnati have been tearing it up the last few years and Boise State is an annual threat to rack up the wins. East Carolina and UConn drop a bit further simply due to lack of wins.
  • The Top 10 lacks any real modern powerhouse teams. You have to drop to #13 to reach Ohio State and down further to #28 before Oklahoma shows up. Beyond that, you're hunting down into the mid-thirties, forties or fifties to reach the CFP Frequent Flyers like Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, LSU or even Michigan and Penn State. This would appear to indicate that most of the elite teams are spending a fortune on recruiting (we already knew that) but that those dollars may not be very efficiently used. It sort of fits the bloated empire concept where massive operations just bleed cash due to inefficiencies (think: Uncle Sam).
  • Spending dollars wisely can translate to on-field successes. Take a look at Wazzu, KState or Mississippi State. All three have been perennial CFB doormats with terrible records. But as of late they're getting results out of their programs, and further, they're not spending a ton of recruiting dollars to get there. This points to the idea that a school can reign in some of the superfluous spending and still get a solid on-field product. Reading between the lines, this is probably due to these schools finding innovative ways of reaching recruits (social media, branding, etc) instead of just flying them around on private jets and taking them to $500 lobster dinners.

d4DZ6ml.png
 
Last edited:

Pluperfect

Recruit
2 Year Member
It would be interesting to try and weight this data by differences in geographic location and competition for recruits.

if you are located in a populous area with not many other schools around you theoretically you might be able to spend less to get the same effect

Overall i like any attempt to analyze data... thanks!
 

johnrr6

Lucky!
5 Year Member
Great stuff! Love the data and charts. Really well thought out!

Ohio is one of those “hot beds” for talent and OSU gets virtually all the best from that state....it cuts their dollars spent a lot because they don’t have to travel as much. Alabama does have to travel as it’s in state, close by talent is limited, they compete directly with Auburn, and just with their success...they recruit nationally.

So I think your numbers make sense for them.

My take is if we want to be like Alabama we need to spend like Alabama....pretty simple.

And what I think is absolutely crazy is, in the big scheme of things, it’s not that much more money. Say an additional Mil a year.

In a program that is financially sound...with a $155 Mil facility set in it’s future.

Especially with our need to travel nationwide, the shifting attitudes of young recruits and the emergence of the transfer portal and new requirements appearing because of it to track and vet.

If we don’t spend on something that is incredibly important to success like recruiting like the very best do....we are simply never going to be like the very best.

We may not be getting our ROI for the last three years now...my take is that will change. But I think we need to spend MORE....right NOW!
 
Last edited:

johnrr6

Lucky!
5 Year Member
It would be interesting to try and weight this data by differences in geographic location and competition for recruits.
Something similar to I think what you’re asking for was done by my friend dwc13

 

Pluperfect

Recruit
2 Year Member
Something similar to I think what you’re asking for was done by my friend dwc13

Thanks! I had missed that post. Looks like it was posted when I was recovering from covid.

It does have the data I was interested in, mainly the difference in population within driving distance. So basically teams like Ohio State and Penn State have roughly 4 times the population within driving distance to recruit over Nebraska. Of course so do Maryland and Rutgers and look where it's gotten them.
 

jmatlock

calling all pals....pals
5 Year Member
We’re still number one on the head coach salary per win cost at 1.25 mil. Nice job Scotty!
 
Last edited:
Top