“If you want excellence, you have to invest in it.”

This shit is insane.

Though college athletes aren’t paid, recruiting them is an enterprise that has many of the wine-and-dine hallmarks of the corporate world. Powerhouse programs, like those at Texas A&M University and the University of Texas at Austin, can afford those prices. Both schools put more than $2 million toward recruiting last year while raking in millions more in revenue.

But recruiting costs are also rising at other Texas schools that compete in the Football Bowl Subdivision: Texas Tech, the University of Houston, the University of North Texas, the University of Texas at El Paso, UTSA and Texas State University.

Unlike A&M’s and UT-Austin’s athletics programs, the programs at those six schools can’t sustain themselves financially. Last year, those six athletics programs were subsidized by a combined $116 million in student fees and other institutional funds.

Spreadsheets and receipts provided to The Texas Tribune under open records laws show that many schools’ recruiting costs go toward travel expenses – like airfare for recruits and coaches, rental cars, chartered buses and limousine companies — and meals that ranged from a $7,200 catered breakfast to $21.11 spent on Torchy’s Tacos.

The expenses also document the presence of cottage industries that have sprung up around college sports recruiting, like coaches’ packets that contain information about up-and-coming high school players.

“Sold at recruiting events,” these packets “include booklets with information on potential recruit schools, stats on scoring, heights, weight, etc.,” reads a note at the bottom of a ledger of expenses from UTEP.

Last year, coaches at UTEP and two other schools paid more than $12,000, collectively, for these packets about prospective football players and women’s and men’s basketball players. At least another $100,000 was spent among those colleges on scouting services, specialized software, access to databases and certain fees.

There aren’t enough student fees in the world for UTEP to keep up with Texas’ obscenely deep pockets.  That’s why I don’t get all the hand wringing over the power schools buying players if amateurism dies.  They’re already doing it, albeit indirectly, now.

7 Comments

Filed under It's Not Easy Being A Mid-Major

7 responses to ““If you want excellence, you have to invest in it.”

  1. Greatly appreciate the daily blogs. And appreciate the fact that you respect different opinions. We’ll never agree on this. You want a ‘free market’ system for players. I personally believe that it will absolutely ruin college sports. I do agree that the players should be compensated, but not to the level that you are willing to let this go to. $1,000.00 a month, compensation for a family of four to travel to all games and everything that already comes with a degree. And I have a huge concern that legalize betting may end up becoming a big problem with the potential for point shaving, etc. – especially in basketball.

    There could be a rolling factor that doubles up when you are a Soph and triples up when you are a Junior and quadruples when you become a Senior – meaning that you are by definition a Sophomore based on classes taken and passed, etc. – so that you are rewarded for your class work, length of time with the school, etc. And if you have higher compensation, depending on class, maybe you start at $500.00 a month.

    I grew up poor. So I know what it is like to ‘not have’, while everyone else does. And completely get these kids temptation to take money on the side. This would take that temptation away for most (not all) of these kids and allow them to live a solid ‘quality of life’ away from the field.

    Have a great weekend..

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    • Randy, in response, I would say that what I really want is the product of a fair negotiation between the two sides, rather than the NCAA’s current take it or leave it approach. If we wind up with something more along the lines of a Wild West due to NCAA intransigence, well, that’s on the NCAA.

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  2. Russ

    I’d like to see Randy’s plan to give all students a little more so parents can travel, plus let the students that are able profit from their name.

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  3. Debby Balcer

    Students who don’t play sports can work in their fields and make the money their talents earn why do so many feel that allowing athletes to be paid commiserate either talent would ruin the sport? Earning a paycheck right now might be better motivation for some players. If college sports were not the cash cow they are I could understand things staying as they are but everyone is getting rich off football and basketball except the players who will pay for their commitment with their body injuries at the least. What if someone like Chubb had never been able to recover from his knee injury and get his payday in the pros does he deserve nothing for his efforts while UGA while Kirby is obscenely compensated?

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  4. ASEF

    Look at the other side of that transaction as well. The amount of money parents are spending to develop and promote their kids for the prospect of a college scholarship is equally insane.

    The NCAA gets away with it in part because the vast majority of the players and families are just happy to be there.

    Would the system make a lot more sense if more parents put that money into college funds, while the universities put that money into their students and players – instead of all these 3rd parties making massive bank as developers and middlemen? Yes. But if the NCAA ever lets market value into the mix, the player development market is going to explode yet again.

    Which isn’t justification for what the NCAA is doing. If parents and kids want to chase that lottery, more power to them.

    I still would like to see reform more focused on making universities who accept students as athletes commit to 140 credit hours of education for those students, no matter what – coaching changes, injuries, anything short of dismissal for normal student reasons. New coach comes in and wants different players? Fine – the student has the option to transfer without penalty OR just withdraw from the team but keep his scholarship so he or she can continue their education where they started.

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  5. Otto

    The end of the current amateurism would likely result in the big getting bigger which is a bit of a plus in my opinion, the mid majors should have their own division, and for of playoff. Bowl subdivision have grown past the size it should be in my opinion.

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    • Yep – I honestly think eliminating the facade of amateurism would speed up culling schools that shouldn’t be trying to play big boy football in the first place.

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