John, how do you account for the fuzzy math that some schools use in showing capital expenditures? If a given school has a capital campaign to add on to their stadium, do those dollars get shown as a part of their athletic expenses at the the time they pay for the improvements, or is that accounted for separately? If it is included, it can skew budgets drastically.
Let’s play bank examiner and use USA Today’s latest financial data report to see how SEC athletic budgets (meaning: expenditures) have changed over the years.
Below you’ll find the total expenses for each public SEC school — as a private school Vanderbilt doesn’t share its budget — from 2006 through 2011. In the end, we tally the numbers to see who’s spent what on athletics over a six-year span.
Remember, Missouri and Texas A&M were Big 12 schools during this stretch. So here are your total athletic expenses year-by-year for 13 of the SEC’s 14 schools:
|Rank||School||2011||2010||2009||2008||2007||2006||Total Expenses 06-11|
* Combined, the SEC’s schools have spent $5,595,974,982 on athletics since 2006. That’s billion with a B. Somewhere an economics professor just fainted.
* It’s no surprise that the traditional “Big Six” football programs in the SEC — Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, LSU and Tennessee — would have been the top six spenders if not for the addition of Texas A&M. (Before sending angry emails about my reference to a “Big Six,” note that the SEC in 1992 put Auburn in the West Division and Vanderbilt in the East Division despite geography in an effort to put three powers in one division (Bama, Auburn, LSU) and three in the other (Florida, Georgia, Tennessee).
* It is surprising that Arkansas’ athletic outlay has been so low compared to its SEC rivals, but remember, numbers can be tweaked. As any Hog fan can tell you — and will likely shout at you — the UA athletic department never goes into debt thanks to donors who are down with paying up front, in cash (in most cases).
* How long before someone in the Magnolia State reads this chart, sees that Ole Miss and Mississippi State have spent about $350,000,000 less on athletics over the last six years, and starts a push for those schools to leave the SEC for the Big 12? (Kidding, of course. The SEC’s even-Steven revenue share actually aids those schools.)
Now let’s take a look at the increase in athletic spending for each school from 2006 to 2011, just those two years. And since we’re looking at those two years only, the percentage increase we’ll show you should be used as only a ballpark indicator of budget growth. Mississippi State, for example, had been remarkably steady in its growth until making a big jump in 2011. That doesn’t mean they will spend the same amount of cash in 2012. You can see in the chart above that several SEC schools have seen spikes and declines over the past six years.
Still, here’s a look at the total dollar increase from 2006 to 2011 along with the percentage growth for each school:
|Rank||School||2006-2001 Expense Increase||% Growth|
As you can see, the percentages can be a little bit deceiving. Mississippi State basically doubled it’s budget from 2006 to 2011. But the Bulldogs grew from just — just? — $25 million in ’06 to $36 million in ’10. In 2011 came the bounce to $51 million.
Similarly, big-spending schools like Florida and Tennessee didn’t show a big percentage growth, but overall they’ve been the league’s spendthrifts over the last six years.
After looking at all these numbers, it becomes more and more evident why the board of trustees at Missouri pushed their school toward the Southeastern Conference.