December 13th, 2012 at 1:50 PM ^

I find it amazing that a state like Alabama with all of its socio-economic problems. Has the two highest spenders in college football. Nobody spends more money than Alabama and Auburn and look what it has done for them. Auburn has taken a step back. But nothing is going to knock Alabama off its pedestal. Unless Saban leaves or some serious sanctions come down the pipe. They're on top for the foreseeable future. Michigan needs to start spending this money (in legal ways) to assure we are at the top.


December 13th, 2012 at 3:07 PM ^

To play devil's advocate, U of Alabama's football prominence has helped(the warm weather and girls don't hurt either) to propel the school academically, attracting a much better caliber of student than they likely would have had they continued to flounder. Also, while it may seem disagreeable, people in Alabama are football-obsessed, and the dominance of Alabama may add more value to their lives than shaving 12-15 million off of their football budget to be used for other things. 


December 13th, 2012 at 3:13 PM ^

I find it amazing that a state like Alabama with all of its socio-economic problems

Do they really have worse problems than Michigan? We were the only state in the country to lose population last decade, our unemployment rate is consistently higher than the national average, our economic growth has been flat for a decade and our state tax base is shrinking. If we can manage to finance two successful athletic departments (U-M and MSU), why wouldn't Alabama, which is economically and demographically healthier than our state?


December 13th, 2012 at 3:41 PM ^

I agree with everything you said, and enjoy civil discussion. I live in Illinois, which is easily one of the worst states in the union. We have the worst debt per capita. I know Michigan, isn't much better off, if at all. But Alabama is at the bottom of everything. Obesity, health, education, average income. I know spending money on football doesn't help any of those things but it certaintly paints a brighter picture.

snarling wolverine

December 13th, 2012 at 4:36 PM ^

Household income data can be misleading though.  Southern states have lower average household incomes but also a significantly lower cost of living, so their money goes further.  A person making $40K in Alabama may live more comfortably than a person making $45K in Michigan.    

As for obesity, health and whatnot, I don't really see what that has to do with Alabama residents' ability to financially support their football programs.  Based on what I observe at Michigan Stadium, it seems like a lot of our fans have pretty generously-sized waistlines as well.  They seem able to afford tickets anyway.


December 13th, 2012 at 5:48 PM ^

Alabama has a population of 4.8 million, and their showcase program spends $36.9 million.  That is slightly less than $8 a person.  That works out to about the price of a double McRib combo with a side of lard for each resident.  

It isn't driving anyone to the poorhouse.


December 13th, 2012 at 4:29 PM ^

Don't forget, this is only judging the spending that is ON the books. Can Newton's alleged salary will not be counted.

This is pretty easy to figure out: football is important to the Alabama schools. Their donors and students want to win. Spending is the best way to keep winning.

You may wonder how they can afford it, but can't a state afford one or two things it really likes? $100 million between all football expenses in Alabama is a lot of money, but it's just peanuts compared to, say, the Detroit Tigers payroll or the cost of the new stadium Minnesota is going to build for the Vikings.


December 13th, 2012 at 1:26 PM ^

As much as people around here complain about Brandon's concern about the "Michigan brand" and all his money making schemes (which is totally fair, to be clear), they have no idea the extent to which Texas will sell their logo, name, etc to each and every bidder. The UT brand is stamped on everything in and around Texas without the least bit of shame.

Exhibit A:


December 13th, 2012 at 1:37 PM ^

It is actually the case that seven of the schools listed are also among the top ten in merchandise sales as well. Texas, Michigan, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, LSU and Notre Dame are all among the most profitable in this regard.


December 13th, 2012 at 1:48 PM ^

There seems to be a significant disparity between what Ohio and Michigan spends. Should Michigan be spending more?

Also, how does this study split out "expenses?" That is to say, are capital expenditures to expand plant infrastructure accounted for differently from say, Hoke's salary?


December 13th, 2012 at 2:41 PM ^

One of the problem with these studies is that capital expenditures (stadium improvements, scoreboards, practice facilities) get accounted for differently depending on the school.  

It would be useful to see a breakdown of staff, facilities, travel, recruiting, food, etc.


Also... Michigan can afford a real OC.

Feat of Clay

December 13th, 2012 at 7:43 PM ^

God, yes, thank you! Data like this are never as clear and simple (or as comparable) as they might seem.

I don't endorse DB's sarcasm, because thats not a cool way to respond to constituents. But as someone who pokes around in higher Ed data for a living I can relate how exasperating it is when someone thinks a few articles or data tables tells them what they need to know to fully judge the organization's decision-making.


December 13th, 2012 at 2:41 PM ^

My initial thoughts to this were I wonder how much more we would make if we were total sellouts in the big house and had ads and ran comemricals like nearly every other program does. I'm in no way in favor of this but am curious as to how much that would add to our profits. 

Also, I have no clue what bama is spending 13million more dollars on. I assume part of that is coaching salaries but what would make up the rest. I feel like michigan program has everything it needs in terms of facilities, recruiting budget, etc. I just shocked that a program could be spending  that much more than we are because I view us as a program that can, more or less, do what ever it wants.