A very interesting article came out today listing each BCS school's football expenses for the 2008-2009 season. Ohio State topped the list spending $32.3 million. Auburn was a close second at $28.8 million. Then, to my surprise, Iowa is listed 3rd with $26.9 million in expenses. The amount is not outrageous considering the program brought in $38.9 million in revenue during that same year. But to be the 3rd highest spending program in the nation...well that's a lot of money.

The Breakdown...sort of

I looked around trying to find a breakdown of the expenses. The Office of Postsecondary Education has some good information and I found a few other links including the Iowa State Employee Salary Database. Here's what I gathered:
  • Total Expenses = $26,902,080
  • Operating Expense = $3,876,169
  • Ferentz's Salary = $3,070,000
  • Assistant Coaches' Salary = $1,740,712
  • Recruiting Expense = $336,000
So, based on what I could find, that accounts for about $9 million...about 1/3 of the total expenses. So, I'm not sure where the rest of that money is going. I would guess there is roughly $1 million or so in travel (based on other years), a bunch of money to continue to pay for the $86.8 million that was financed using bonds for the Kinnick Stadium renovation (which depending on the interest on those bonds--I'll assume 6%--would be about an $8 million payment each year)...so that is about another $9 million. So then there is a bunch I'm not sure about. I think you could probably get some of these numbers through the Freedom of Information Act.

Spending = Success?

Anyway, what it boils down to is that Iowa is spending more on football than just about every other school in the country. The natural question then is how that spending is reflected on the football field. If you look at the Big Ten, here's how the spending breaks down:
  1. Ohio State - $32.30 million
  2. Iowa - $26.90 million
  3. Wisconsin - $22.71 million
  4. Penn State - $19.13 million
  5. Michigan - $18.03 million
  6. Michigan State - $15.86 million
  7. Northwestern - $15.71 million
  8. Purdue - $12.66 million
  9. Indiana - $11.84 million
  10. Illinois - $10.49 million
  11. Minnesota - $9.25 million
If you showed me this list of Big Ten teams in this order without the dollar amounts, I would have guessed that this is the preseason rankings for the 2010 season. I think it is quite easy to see how the spending correlates to success on the football field. The linked article claims Iowa is financially irresponsible because it looks back at Iowa's record for 2005 to 2009. That is unfortunately including some rather down years. If it was back for the entire decade, or just the most recent couple of years, then Iowa doesn't look that irresponsible at all.

I think when the figures come out for the 2009 season we'll see Iowa's expense drop a little bit, but the program will probably still be near the top in spending. I guess I'm fine with it as long as the revenue continues to generate and the team keeps on winning.