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What is the Relationship Between Money Spent on Recruitment and Recruiting Class Rank?

Have you ever wondered if a relationship exists between the money spent on football recruitment and the subsequent recruiting class rank? In this post, we look at the top 25 public schools in both recruiting expenditures and recruiting class rank, as reported by These numbers are from 2010-2011 NCAA financial disclosures and 2011 recruiting classes.

This first chart shows the top 25 public schools in recruiting expenditures for the year 2011. As you can see, the expenditures range from $1,135,211 to $433, 236, yet the class ranks range from 1st in the county to 118th.

School Recruiting Class Rank
Tennessee $1,135,211 13
Alabama-Tuscaloosa $980,882 1
Auburn $950,378 7
Georgia Tech $883,430 41
Arkansas $666,419 24
Georgia $623,224 5
Texas Tech $611,910 20
Florida $602,929 12
Oregon $590,683 9
Boise State $589,773 53
UNC $580,200 16
Texas $577,976 3
Michigan $577,663 21
New Mexico $545,867 81
Illinois $545,363 42
Army $511,840 118
Mississippi $495,233 19
Memphis $493,204 65
Clemson $490,305 8
Nebraska $478,554 15
Colorado $470,355 74
Iowa State $448,777 51
Kansas $442,911 34
Washington $440,931 23
Florida State $433,236 2

This second chart shows the top 25 class ranks, with their respective recruiting expenses.

School Class Rank* Recruiting Expense
Alabama-Tuscaloosa 1 $980,882
Florida State 2 $433,236
Texas 3 $577,976
Georgia 5 $623,224
Louisiana State 6 $302,882
Auburn 7 $950,378
Clemson 8 $490,305
Oregon 9 $590,683
Ohio State 11 $320,938
Florida 12 $602,929
Tennessee 13 $1,135,211
Oklahoma 14 $356,414
Nebraska 15 $478,554
Berkeley 17 $394,298
South Carolina 18 $132,758
Mississippi 19 $495,233
Texas Tech 20 $611,910
Michigan 21 $577,663
Washington 23 $440,931
Arkansas 24 $666,419
Virginia 25 $276,806

Both charts show that, at present, there is no real relationship between how much a school spends on recruitment, and how high their recruiting class ranks. For instance, even though Florida State had the 2nd best recruiting class in the nation, they were only ranked 25th in recruiting expenditures.  Yet, Army, which only had the 118th best recruiting class amongst public schools,  actually spent about 1.18 times more on recruiting than Florida State did.

*Omitted Class Ranks belong to Private Schools (USC-4, Notre Dame-10, Stanford-22)

Editor’s Note: There has been some confusion over why these numbers differ from previous posts, which used Department of Education data filed by each school. Those reports show recruiting in two categories: male and female. The numbers in this post are football-specific and obtained from NCAA disclosures filed by each school and obtained through public records requests.



  1. Jeff Roy

    July 25, 2012 at 1:18 pm

    Alicia Jessop has stated, on several occasions, this is Dept. of Education data and the accounting “standards” used by the athletic departments may be anything but. So while this makes for interesting reading, Lauren, they do not tell the whole story.

  2. bcsguestwriter

    July 25, 2012 at 3:28 pm

    Editors note: These are not numbers from Department of Education (EADA) reports. These are from NCAA disclosures filed by each school. EADA reports only show recruiting expenses as male and female totals. NCAA disclosures have it broken down by sport, so these numbers are football only and considered the most accurate available.

  3. Dr. Darin White

    July 30, 2012 at 6:15 pm

    Actually the data does show some correlation. I ran a bivariate correlation analysis on the data and found a -.296 pearson correlation which is significant at the .15 level. @Sports_Biz_Prof

  4. D.A.

    August 2, 2012 at 7:48 pm

    Comparing money spent on recruiting compared to a Rivals ranking seems to be an incorrect metric. The success of the recruiting class is not immediately seen, but is well known within four or five seasons after said recruiting class enrolls and plays so one can measure W/L.

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