Did Missouri Overstate Its Football Expenses?

Last Updated on January 12, 2012

When reviewing the Department of Education’s most recent Equity in Athletics Disclosure Report, one item stood out:  Missouri’s football expenses rose sharply between 2009-10 and 2010-11.

In 2009, Missouri’s total football expenses were reported as being $13.76 million.  In its initial 2010-11 Equity in Athletics Disclosure, Missouri reported that its football team’s expenses totaled around $20 million.  A jump of $6.24 million led several media outlets to question Missouri about the sharp rise in its football team’s expenses.

As it turns out, Missouri did not go gangbusters in spending during the 2010-11 season.  Rather, it was merely a typo which caused the school to report that its football expenses increased by $6.24 million over a one-year period.

While it truly was most likely a typo which caused this reporting error, other media outlets noted that Missouri’s initial 2010-11 football expense reporting value of $20 million was closer in par to that of SEC football teams.  Late last year, Missouri announced that it would be leaving the Big 12 to join the SEC.  When the announcement was made, many wondered if Missouri could compete in the SEC in football.

Along with Missouri, Texas A&M will be leaving the Big 12 to begin play in the SEC this upcoming season.  If Missouri and Texas A&M were members of the SEC during the 2010-11 season, how would their football expenses stack up amongst those of the rest of the conference?

The chart below depicts each football team’s total expenses during the 2010-11 season, as reported to the Department of Education.  This data is the best available to gauge such expenses, as it is the only public report available providing this type of data for both public and private institutions.  However, the data is not perfect.  For instance, there are no set guidelines as to how expenses are calculated, other than the Department of Education does not allow schools to add in capital expenses to their expense value.  Nonetheless, it does provide insight into which football teams are spending the most.

TeamTotal Expenses
1.  Auburn$39,069,676.00
2.  Alabama$31,580,059.00
3.  Florida$26,263,539.00
4.  Arkansas$24,059,193.00
5.  South Carolina$22,482,479.00
6.  Georgia$22,036,338.00
7.  LSU$21,492,741.00
8.  Tennessee$19,135,650.00
9.  Ole Miss$17,764,174.00
10.  Vanderbilt$16,507,997.00
11.  Texas A&M$15,560,216.00
12.  Missouri$14,983,805.00
13.  Kentucky$14,352,110.00
14.  Mississippi State$11,766,024.00

The good news for Missouri and Texas A&M, is that if they were members of the SEC during the 2010-11 season, their football teams would not have expended the least amount of money in the SEC.  The bad news for Missouri and Texas A&M, is that Kentucky and Mississippi State have never been known for their SEC football competitiveness.

In 2010-11, SEC football teams had total expenses averaging $22,209,165.00.  Thus, there is room to argue that if Missouri and Texas A&M want to be competitive within the conference in football, they will need to raise their expenditures to this level.  It is unknown what SEC football teams expended on football during the 2011-12 season, as that data is not available yet.

To see how Missouri and Texas A&M’s football teams stacked up financially in 2010-11 in the Big 12, click here.  (NOTE:  The PDF chart was created using the expense amount initially reported by Missouri to the Department of Education.  This chart will be updated shortly).

To see how Missouri and Texas A&M’s football teams stacked up financially in 2010-11 throughout the NCAA, click here.


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1 Comment
  • Jeff Roy
    January 12, 2012

    Are we to assume this error serves to illustrate how far behind the mean both Missouri and A&M stand upon their entry into the SEC? Are both schools operating under the belief the increased revenue they will receive as SEC members will at least allow their expenses to rise to the average level of the league? Each school will get about double the payouts they received from the Big 12 (around $10M more), because of the “socialist” revenue sharing practiced by the SEC. If only the Big 12 indulged in these practices the league might still be intact.

    I guess Mizzou and A&M will have to put this bounty straight into “expenses” to achieve a midrange competitive level. And to compete with the Big Boys, they’ll have to double their expenditures from their Big 12 norms. That’s presuming Auburn, Alabama, and Florida won’t up the ante, which in all likelihood they will. And so the arms race continues, with no end in sight.