Thursday, April 12, 2007

Money Well Spent – Or Not

In our last post, we examined the total revenue generated from programs as it relates to success. We found a strong correlation between revenue generating programs and success, in which we defined success as top 10 finishes in football (per the Coaches Poll), Final Four appearances in basketball, and National Championships.

In this post we are going to examine those Universities that are attaining success for their athletic expenditures – and those that are not. We will be using the database for 2005 located at the Indy Star once again, but this time we are going to look at dollars spent on athletic programs in 2005, as opposed to dollars generated.

You will see from the list below the names are very similar, as well as the order, of dollars spent by programs versus total dollars generated. Ohio State, for instance, managed to spend virtually all of the $89 million they generated in 2005. The most curious case is perhaps Georgia, which gathered athletic revenue of nearly $69 million in 2005, but spent only $45 million, perhaps the largest discrepancy between the two lists.

Perhaps they are saving it for reasons known only to them.

Here is the list of the top 50 programs by total expenditures, as well as the number of top 10 football finishes, Final Four appearances, and National Titles (all since 2000) –

Once again, as we addressed in “Size Matters”, certain schools did not report, including –

For Football (with successes) –

Oklahoma – 5 top 10’s, 1 title
Miami – 4 top 10’s
USC – 5 top 10’s, 1 title
Penn State – 1 top 10

For Basketball (with Final Four appearances) –

Duke – 2 times
Oklahoma – 1 time
Syracuse – 1 time
Marquette – 1 time

Defining Success – Or Lack Thereof

Success in our exercise can be in either sport, and by looking at our data, it is clear that some schools are either football or basketball schools.

Clearly also, Oklahoma, Miami, USC and Duke have been successful since 2000, regardless of their expenditures, but their lack of reporting makes it difficult to quantify exactly how they have done.

First, there are the rough “averages” of success based on our data. As of this past year, there were 119 Division I-A football teams, and 326 basketball teams. So, a teams odds of success as we define it is the number of sample points divided by the number of teams.

In the football top 10 sometime from 2000-2006 – 58.8% (70 spots for 119 teams).

In the Final Four sometime from 2000-2007 – 9.8% (32 spots for 326 teams).

Or, put another way -

Average number of top ten appearances per team - 0.6

Average number of Final Four appearances per team – 0.1

(Obviously, per our definition here it is far harder to make the Final Four than be in the top 10 in football. I used both of these standards as success markers based on admittedly my intuition and experience, such as observing what “basketball” schools like Kentucky consider success. Others might define making it to the Sweet 16 as success, and I wouldn’t argue the point).

Thus, a school has a football program, and it appeared in the top ten 1 time or more, it is successful per the average team. The same single Final Four appearance applies for basketball.

If we look at only the top money spending schools, the definition of success becomes a bit tighter. (We will assume that each of the non-reporting schools – like USC – would be in the top 50 here, which virtually all of them assuredly are).

Average number of top ten appearances per top 50 expenditures team – 1.3

Average number of Final Four appearances per top 50 expenditures team – 0.6

Thus, if you appeared in the top ten more than 1 time since 2000, or the Final Four at all, you have been more successful than the average top 50 spending team.

Lastly, even as a Florida fan, I am going to ignore National Titles as success here. I think they are based too much on variables like luck, or in the case of football, subjectivity. I think most sports fans consider it a pretty good year when their football team is top ranked, or their basketball team is in the Final Four, so we will leave it at that.

The Success Stories – Football

Since 2000, the biggest success stories on an absolute basis in football are –

USC – 5 – (tie)
Oklahoma – 5 (tie)
Texas - 4 (tie)
LSU – 4 (tie)
Miami – 4 (tie)
Ohio State – 4 (tie)
Michigan - 4 (tie)
Georgia – 4 (tie)
Iowa – 3 (tie)
Virginia Tech – (tie)

On a 2005 expenditures adjusted basis, the biggest success stories are (amount in millions in 2005 expenditures per top 10 finish, non-reporters omitted) –

1. Georgia - $11.2
2. Virginia Tech - $12.5
3. Washington State - $13.9
4. LSU - $13.9
5. Michigan - $15.3
6. Kansas State - $17.2
7. Iowa - $18.3
8. Louisville - $19.3
9. Oregon - $20.1
10. Texas - $20.6

In other words, at $11.2 million dollars per top 10 finish, the Bulldogs are getting the most bang for their buck.

The Success Stories – Basketball

Since 2000, the biggest success stories on an absolute basis in basketball are

Florida - 3 (tie)
Michigan State – 3 (tie)
UNC – 2 (tie)
Duke – 2 (tie)
Maryland – 2 (tie)
UCLA – 2 (tie)
Kansas – 2 (tie)
Several with 1

On a 2005 expenditures adjusted basis, the biggest success stories are (amount in millions in 2005 expenditures per top Final Four, non-reporters omitted) –

1. Michigan State – $19.4
2. Kansas - $20.4
3. UCLA - $23.0
4. Maryland - $23.3
5. Florida - $24.6
6. UNC - $27.3
7. Louisville - $38.6
8. Indiana - $38.8
9. Arizona - $40.7
10. Georgia Tech - $40.9

The Success Stories – Overall

Lastly under success, let’s look at the schools that are getting it done on the most cash efficient (cheapest) basis overall in both sports. Once again, the list shows the total number of top tens and Final Fours based on dollars spent in 2005 –

1. LSU - $11.17
2. Georgia – $11.23
3. Virginia Tech - $12.49
4. Louisville - $12.88
5. Washington State - $13.94
6. Florida – $14.77
7. Michigan - $15.35
8. Maryland - $15.50
9. Texas - $16.48
10. Kansas State - $17.20

The Failures

The following schools have mastered the art of spending a lot, and getting a little.

Or, more properly, getting nothing.

1. Virginia – Who knew UVA spent almost $60 million in 2005? The results don’t show it – they have not a single top ten football finish, nor a Final Four appearance, this century.

2. Texas A&M – This perpetual bridesmaid in both sports managed to blow $59 million in 2005 yet never got to the altar.

3. Minnesota – Tubby to the rescue? With that 2005 budget of $54 million, they can at least pay him.

4. Kentucky - $52 million spent. Zippo to show for it. I see what the craziness was about now.

5. Purdue – They really spent $51.5 million in 2005? On what?

6. South Carolina – Two years into the Spurrier era, nothing to show for it yet, but a $49 million bill in 2005.

7. Missouri – “Misery” indeed. $46 million spent, not a wiff of success.

8. Texas Tech – The only Raiding in Red here is the school budget - $46 million in 2005.

9. Arkansas – Yes, even a SEC West win in football did not yield a top 10 finish this past year. No wonder there is so much turmoil there. And, they used to be good at basketball. Yet $45.9 million spent last year has brought them zilch this decade.

10. Clemson – long gone are the glory days here. Also long gone were $39.9 million in 2005.

Special Mentions –

Tennessee - $71.8 million spent in 2005, yet only 1 top 10 finish since Y2K. However, their hoops team does seem to be on the rise.

Alabama - $56.9 million in 2005 spending, with also but a single top 10 finish since 2000. And that spending is only going up with Nick Saban on board.

Florida State - $56.4 million in 2005. 1 top 10 finish this century. No wonder Jeff got the can. Can daddy be far behind?

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