And like all other costs, it is going up. An article in the Chronicle of Higher Education, says that 21 D-1 Athletic Departments spend over 1 million a year on recruiting. That amount does not include salaries for recruiting coordinators or construction and operating costs of the multimillion-dollar facilities that help lure prospects
Aside the from the jump in travel expenses, other key factors in the rise are a University's location, the quality of recruits in their region, and their desire to move into the elite ranks of D-1 programs.
The Big 12 North is a good example of how some programs had to change their mindset over the past decade. For instance, Kansas State has more than tripled its recruiting budget since 1996-97 as it tries to expand its status in both football and basketball.
Among other notable points:
* Tennessee led all spenders at just over $2 million a year on recruiting. They were followed by Notre Dame, Florida, Auburn and Kansas State as the Top Five spenders.
* In 1997 Texas spent $514,000 in recruiting for all sports. In 2007 it was up to $1,156,800, a 125% increase.
* The Conference that spent the most on recruiting athletes? Surprise, surprise, it is the SEC at $13,129,700, which is almost double what the conference members spent in 1996-97. The Big 12 was next in 2006-07 spending on recruiting at $11,538,200.
Right now all of the BCS Universities understand that the ante to stay in the game is going up and they are willing to pay. At some point, however, as travel costs continue to increase, you have to assume there will come a time that trying to keep up with the elite teams will mean reaching outside the athletic budgets into general funds whether it be for recruiting or improving facilities. Then the cost of Keeping Up With The Joneses may be too much for some administrators and we will see another round of "downsizing" in D-1 football and the creation of super-conferences.