You have to spend money to waste money.

Eh, what could go wrong here?

The only thing easier to spot than Pac-12 bowl losses are examples of the conference not plowing as many resources into football infrastructure as its peers in the Power Five.

New commissioner George Kliavkoff hopes to change that state of affairs by making the case to the university presidents and chancellors that investing in football can provide returns that benefit not only cash-strapped athletic departments but entire campuses.

“Historically, I don’t think we’ve made a great case for the ROI of footbalI,’’ Kliavkoff told the Hotline.

“I’m not going to take the opportunity to speak to my 12 bosses without talking about it. It’s going to be a constant topic. They are going to get tired of hearing it from me.’’

Ah, yes.  The sweet siren song of “football, the investment”.  It’s got a catchy beat and you can dance to it!

Kliavkoff, who has been on the job for just six months, didn’t cite specifics. But he clearly grasps the connection between football investment and the potential returns across the university spectrum — financial returns, alumni engagement returns and, yes, educational returns.

“We need to invest in coaches and facilities,” he said. “That leads to better recruiting, which leads to winning, which leads to direct and indirect revenue and alumni engagement.

“And we’ve seen that it leads to more applications, which allows universities to become more selective in admissions.

“I can’t imagine a more obvious ROI than investing in football.”

It’s so obvious that he couldn’t cite specifics.  But… ‘Bama.

During its stellar run under Nick Saban, Alabama has experienced a quadrupling of the number of out-of-state students, according to USA Today, and a comparable rise in the academic profile of the incoming students.

Now all George’s member schools have to do is find twelve Nick Sabans and open their checkbooks.  This dude is turning out to be the best problem solver ever.


Filed under Pac-12 Football

24 responses to “You have to spend money to waste money.

  1. boz864

    Bama’s exponential growth correlates with football success, and the fact that admission criteria are that you are able to fog a mirror.


  2. Hogbody Spradlin

    To borrow from my late Aunt Evelyn who always had good sechel, it’s just as easy to fall in love with a rich football program as it is with a poor one.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. He’s not wrong, but it’s easier said than done. Especially our west where you have less population density to begin with.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. 79dawg

    Larry Scott probably said the same thing 4 or 5 years ago, and all the Presidents looked at him in disbelief and said, “If you want to talk about ROI, have you seen the return on our VC investments in this new Theranos company??? Screw football!”

    Liked by 3 people

  5. fisheriesdawg

    Yes, Alabama has made the decision to jack up enrollment concurrent with their football dynasty. They now have more out-of-state than Alabama students. And it has definitely been a solid financial investment for the university as a whole.

    But they’re not getting any more selective. Entrance standards haven’t gone up. They may have even dropped a little. When you’re easier to get into than Auburn, that’s quite a feat. That sort of thing may appeal to one or two schools in the Pac (Arizona State seems obvious, maybe Washington State?). Colorado already gets all the out-of-state students they want without great football. Stanford, Cal, Washington, UCLA, etc, are all going to laugh at the suggestion. And Utah is going to want to know how they get the Mormon kids there instead of BYU.


    • Down Island Way

      And all those pac 12 hc’s are thinking “WTF, the commish wants to whut…recruit and recruit at a high level”, the commish is gonna’ screw up their good thing and then, do it like alabamia…those guys out west ain’t gonna’ like that kinda’ talk…


    • Harold Miller

      So, you’re saying Bana has out safetied the safety school.


    • poetdawg

      You’re exactly right fisheriesdawg. As a guy who grew up in LA, (my Dad graduated from SC and my Mom went to UCLA), I can tell you that the majority of Pac-12 schools (including the flagships USC, Oregon, Stanford, UCLA and Washington) aren’t hurting for enrollment. Heck, the UC’s are considering admitting fewer out of state students so that there are more spots for California students. In the SEC “It just means more”; in the Pac-12 its more like “What, me worry?”

      As a guy who still pulls for SC (when they aren’t playing the Dawgs) I wish the commissioner luck but he might have more success lobbying the rich alums than the Pac-12 presidents.


  6. Geezus

    Based on the admissions scandal (Operation Varsity Blue), I thought USC already had a very selective admission process for its students.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. rigger92

    I have a niece that is matriculating at Alabama in the Fall, her family/she is from Chicago. She wanted to go to UGA (couldn’t get in), considered FL, but settled at AL. She didn’t really care about football, she just wanted to go to school in the South. For about 10 years we would have a July 4 family reunion here in SC and things down here grew on her.

    I’m sure she will care about football now though and her dad will continue to talk smack at me.


    • Ran A

      Auburn and FSU in particular have GREATLY benefited from kids in Georgia not being able to get into UGA. Alabama has been the most recent beneficiary, where they pretty much throw a diploma in your car if you drive slow enough and roll down your window. (Stole from Lewis Grizzard).

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Ran A

    I used to say that I should have been a college football coach. Changing that to Conference Commissioner or even A.D.


  9. “George, we brought you here to increase revenues, not ask for additional investment. If we wanted to spend more money we could do that on our own. Now go do your job.”

    George is gone in 3 years if he has any self-respect, or he just may lay back in LA cool and enjoy the ride.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. W Cobb Dawg

    Maybe they can become the first conference to have high speed rail connecting the campuses.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. bmacdawg87

    I don’t think it matters. People out west generally just don’t care about college football the way they do in the south and midwest. Typical bureaucratic solution to the problem though. If we just throw more money at it, it has to work, right?


  12. Tommy Perkins

    Alabama’s out of state student population is growing. Probably not unrelated:
    1. Public schools in Alabama are abysmal
    2. The Universities of Georgia and Texas are hard as hell to get into for in-state students.

    I also see they’re getting a lot of students from Illinois, for whatever that’s worth. But if we accept the premise that they’re getting students because their football team is good, I wouldn’t expect them to see a parade of Rhodes scholars from that bunch.


  13. Tony BarnFart

    Is quadrupling out of state enrollment supposed to be a goal of a state taxpayer funded university ? I say this as somebody who came to UGA from out of state and was very fortunate and forever grateful for that opportunity. But still, these places should be serving STATE residents first and foremost, not chasing inflated tuition money. There should probably be a hard % cap on out of state attendance numbers. Nothing pisses me off more than bureaucrats running a public entity like it’s their personal entrepreneurial vehicle. “Oh, of course, maximize out of state tuition and I get a raise.”

    Also, you’re dealing with two VERY different cultures as far as the general populace (and future students and alums) and their buy-in for college football. I’m not saying they don’t like it, but I am saying it’s not a religion. Not even close. He’s asking the “non religious” to start building proverbial mega churches.

    Liked by 2 people