Spend like a champion.

I just thought I’d throw out some numbers for you to absorb and react to.

First, Jon Solomon put together this handy chart showing what the four schools in the CFP spend on athletics.

Category Alabama
Ohio State
Ohio State
Florida State
Total Revenue $143,776,550 $139,639,307 $115,271,040 $91,382,441
Athletic Revenue Increase (2005-13)* $81,489,358 $49,938,328 $75,264,435 $34,805,508
Sports/Number of Athletes 21 sports/563 athletes 36 sports/1,003 athletes 19 sports/454 athletes 20 sports/515 athletes
Annual Debt Service for Athletic Facilities
(pct of university’s total annual debt service used for athletics)
$15,980,449 (30%) $15,882,000 (5%) $19,243,594 (34%) $0 (0%)
Potential Cost of Attendance Stipend to Players $4,332 (in-state)
$5,662 (out)
$4,691 (in-state)
$5,411 (out)
$2,430 (in-state
and out-of-state)
$4,124 (in-state)
$5,720 (out)
Football Ticket Sales $36,199,233 $46,317,719 $21,604,651 $17,611,185
Donations to Athletic Department $34,233,035 $22,204,606 $46,627,597 $18,894,097
Direct Institutional Support $5,791,200 $0 $0 $0
Student Fee Revenue $0 $0 $1,524,045 $7,859,734
NCAA/Conference Payouts $23,855,929 $23,635,519 $19,123,125 $19,814,702
Broadcast, TV, Radio, Internet Rights $10,926,979 $1,962,000 $120,000 $355,000
Royalties, Licensing, Advertising and Sponsorships $11,203,182 $12,714,758 $7,139,035 $11,859,646
Football Camp Revenue $584,616 $574,771 $248,312 $0
Nike 2014-15 Contract Value $3,570,000 $4,164,014 $2,985,000 $4,400,000
Football Scholarship Costs $3,632,607 $3,243,001 $3,057,727 $3,120,676
Football Coach Pay* (From 2014) Nick Saban
Urban Meyer
Mark Helfrich
Jimbo Fisher
Football Coach CFP Bonuses $200,000 (semifinal appearance)
or $300,000 (championship appearance)
or $400,000 (championship win)
$200,000 (semifinal appearance)
or $250,000 (championship appearance)
$175,000 (semifinal appearance)
or $200,000 (championship appearance)
$75,000 (semifinal appearance)
$200,000 (championship game appearance)
$200,000 (championship win)
Football Assistant Coaches Pay* (2014) $5,213,400 $3,592,025 $3,277,584 $3,386,000
Football Support Staff Pay $2,896,666 $2,587,481 $1,481,515 $1,141,275
Football Recruiting Expenses $983,721 $564,152 $674,755 $425,796
Athletic Department Medical Expenses/Insurance $2,346,604 $1,787,936 $1,216,954 $1,483,445
Athletic Department Money Transferred to University $5,934,130 $8,279,172 $0 $3,706,921

The figures are from the 2012-3 fiscal year, but you get the gist.

The first point to take from this is that even in the new era of a four-team playoff, it takes money to make money.  It’s all well and good to talk about a Moneyball approach to building a football program, but that’s a lot easier said that done, especially because it’s hard to build a sufficient reputation to crack a top four pool if you aren’t a member of a P5 conference.  Would that change much with playoff expansion?  If the postseason were opened to all conference champs regardless of ranking, sure.  But in the meantime, you’d better be raking in the dough if you want to go to the show.

And how does Georgia compare?  Not too badly, if you go by the numbers submitted to the NCAA.  Total revenues are bigger than FSU’s.  (Note that football turned an almost $50 million dollar profit, which means the rest of Georgia’s athletic programs combined to lose something like $16 million.)  Outside of Alabama’s excess, coaching salaries don’t seem too out of line.  Georgia’s football recruiting budget is about $600,000, which also seems to fit.

You can find details on items like debt service, revenues from ticket sales/contributions and student fees, along with money transferred to the university here.  Again, nothing particularly egregious jumps out in the comparison.

Just for yuks, there’s this, too.

Looking at all this, it seems fair to say that money isn’t Georgia’s problem.  Agree?  Disagree?  Let me know in the comments.


Filed under BCS/Playoffs, College Football, Georgia Football, It's Just Bidness

25 responses to “Spend like a champion.

  1. Maybe McGarity is pissed that he is making less than the guy at Tech and is going to hold tight to the purse strings unless they are loosened a bit for him first…


  2. Granthams replacement

    What about the most important number to the University administration, the amount in the reserve fund?

    Impressive FSU has no debt


    • Red88

      FSU has debt…that early line regarding % of debt service used towards athletics is a fancy way of allowing you to report whatever you want. It either means they spent nothing on infrastructure/improvements OR that they hid the debt somewhere else via fancy accounting….much like UGAA in recent years moving expenses around to make surpluses appear smaller than in reality and in turn allow them greater flexibility in spending and assett allocation. See the report below for 2013 that shows FSU with long term debt for the athletic department being $115 million, compared to $109 million for UGA.

      Click to access 2014-075.pdf


      • Bulldog Joe

        FSU lists its university non-current long term liabilities at $316 million in 2013.

        Closest comparisons I can find are 2011 numbers:

        University of Georgia $294M;
        University Of Alabama $682M;
        University of Tennessee $694M; and
        Auburn University $773M.


        The University of Alabama has taken on its large debt to provide facilities to support a steep increase its enrollment to over 36,000 in 2014. Growth has come from its aggressive recruitment of out-of-state students, using generous scholarship seed money and the athletic experience to sell itself to families living in high income school districts outside Alabama.

        With relatively small public funding from its state, you can see why the Alabama schools’ strategy is to invest more in athletics as a primary vehicle to drive revenues, athletic contributions, and enrollment to make up the difference.

        Happy alumni contribute more and the more rich alumni the better, in this strategy.

        As you can see from their debt loads, it will be interesting to see how long they can sustain their momentum.


  3. Denver94

    Money may not be Georgia’s problem, but spending and mindset are. Come take a tour of CU’s facilities and then head over to Eugene…it’s a tidy cautionary tale. If UGA takes the Filene’s Basement route on the OC hire, take It as a fluorescent canary in the coal mine.


  4. sectionzalum

    my favorite line-item on the UGA spreadsheet:

    Severance Pay $0


  5. SKab

    UGA only gives 4M from athletics to academics that is less tham Bama and OSU.. what an embarrassment. I don’t care if we don’t spend our money on football but at least spent it on academics.


    • Red88

      An embarrassment? Do you realize how few athletic departments actually give back to the school? And did you realize that most of them do so in part to pay down expenses incurred by the University on behalf of the athletic department (i.e. acdemic support)? Look at the relevant figure between the three schools: UA gives 4.1% back, OSU gives 5.9% back and UGA gives back 4.3%…..what an embarrasment.


    • Chi-town Dawg

      Also, the $4M transfer payment to fund academics is very misleading. I believe other posters have pointed out the actual amount is much larger, but don’t recall the exact amount. Meow ever, it’s categorized as some other form of payment.


      • Chi-town Dawg

        Damn spell check…*I believe that…


      • Brian

        It also looks as if UA is receiving about $5.8 million in direct support from the university effectively cancelling that.


      • Bulldog Joe

        An additional $35M of athletic department “profit” was moved into the UGA Foundation, the primary academic fundraising arm of the university in FY2013 and FY2014.

        Details can be found in the link below under the “Investment activities” heading in the latest Athletic Association audit report.


        $32,402,194 has been endowed for “general support of athletic programs and awards” as of FY2014. It does not go into detail on how this athletic investment money is used or what type of controls are in place, but detail on how UGA Foundation money is used can be found here:


        I understand this large transfer of money is unique to UGA athletics.


        • Anon

          It is my understanding that much of the uga aa transfers are on the endowment side where they are pooled with other uga foundation dollars for an increased return on investment, which in turn lowers total administrative fees paid on the investments.


          • Chi-town Dawg

            You can believe that all you want and it maybe true in theory, but don’t think for a minute it’s about lowering administrative fees. Whoever manages/controls the investment endowment controls the purse strings and how it’s spent. Additionally, this was the administration’s (i.e., Michael Adams) way of neutering the Athletic Board in order to avoid any future power struggles like the one outlined in the book Behind the Hedges. This way a transfer of athletic funds/profit over to university control plain and simple.


  6. MAc

    One of Saban’s first demands when taking job at Alabama was to bump recruiting budget up to $900k. I have read they are pushing $1M in recruiting expenses now and they have a national reach.
    When Chizik came in at Auburn, they followed with bumping their budget up there in 900k range and they went from Top 20 in recruiting to producing Top 5 recruiting classes for a few years.


  7. hassan

    Money is not the problem per se. Arguments can be made on both sides as to if we spend too little or too much.

    The issue is how we spend and what the return is. You want to be in a strong cash position and not over extended like Maryland became for example. However, you still have to feed the machine that generates the cash flow to begin with. Some debt is good debt and some surpluses are a bad thing. It all depends.

    It’s not an easy task to manage. The AD is in charge of a big business brand. Fortunately for the fans of big time programs, winning virtually guarantees cash flow. Wins = fan enthusiasm = revenue.

    Where the program is now, we need to incrementally buy about 3 to 4 additional wins per year. Does an indoor practice facility translate into a win? Does increasing staff salaries to attract/retain top talent translate into a win? Does an increased recruiting budget translate into a win? Do we do all these things and net nothing? I guarantee you that is what McGarity thinks about when stroking a check.


    • Bulldog Joe

      The fact that Greg’s agreement has no incentives or other related pay tells you all you need to know about how much priority UGA puts on winning in athletics.


  8. Jack Klompus

    What jumps out at me the most is the difference in combined assistant and support pay. Alabama bests OSU by $2MM, UO by $3.4MM and Free Shoes by $3.6MM. Wow.

    Good to have a staff that is at least $2MM better than the others when you don’t have time for that shit.


  9. W Cobb Dawg

    So we stack right up there with the top programs financially – no news there. I see this as just another way to show we are underachievers on the football field.


  10. Dawgoholic

    All of you are missing one important point, for us to get in the final 4 we have to be better than Bama in most years. I’d say our spending was likely sufficient to get us in the top 4 if we played in the ACC, Pac-12, Big 12, or Big 10. We have to win the SEC or get really lucky to get in – FSU, Oregon, and OSU have a much lower bar. While I don’t support a 16 team playoff, I believe it would showcase the SEC’s ability as there would often be four or more teams in the final 8.

    We are in the AL east of baseball. We’ve got to spend like the Yankees and Red Sox to even make the playoffs. We can’t be the Oakland A’s because we don’t play in their division.

    The spending apologists need to understand that we have to compete with Auburn, LSU, and Bama and spend like them – not FSU, Oregon, and OSU. (Also, if you count buyout money spent, UT and UF are also spending like Bama, Auburn, and LSU.) The fact is we are spending the least by far of the SEC’s 6 traditional football powers. I don’t think we have to be number 1 but do think we should be in the same spending neighborhood as 1, 2, and 3.


  11. nobodypanic

    Re: Georgia. I think this Michigan situation is telling. Turns out he’s making closer to “$5 with incentives”, so call it 6-7 I guess, but with presumably the best assistant offer letters around.

    What’s really interesting about Harbaugh is that it if it works, and I think it will, is that you now are going to have a lot more schools taking this approach to getting success, with Saban and Harbaugh now a pattern (and for more things to like about it, look at the Alabama revenue increase number above).

    [A bit of a tangent, but I also have to laugh at a PSU fan at how blindly supportive everyone at Michigan is being of the “unlimited control” that Harbaugh wanted, given the “football culture” grounds of PSU’s sanctions.]

    I think everyone is grossly under-estimating how high these schools will allow themselves to bid up in the name of ROI. If the Big Ten is really getting an extra $20 million from the BTN alone per school per year pretty soon, there’s no reason you can’t just spend 100% of that on coaches if it proves to be the best way to win games and drive revenue.

    tldr Are you ready for the first $15 million coach?


    • Will (The Other One)

      I don’t think it can start a trend just because of the scarcity involved. How many coaches in the NFL were A. very successful in college and B. not complete failures in the NFL? And how many programs can offer NFL-level salaries? If the Seahawks or Eagles go 5-11 next season, who could pony up for Pete Carroll or Chip Kelly?


  12. Lrgk9

    Its the % of revenues put back into Football column that’s missing.
    That’s where we are down at the bottom.
    Also don’t see a breakdown of % of debt service that goes to non-football / non-sports related items like parking decks.

    Adams and McGarity love the smell of books cooking in the morning.


  13. CardDawg

    I didn’t know there would be maths today :-\