You Gotta Spend Money To Make Money: Purdue And College Sports Finances

Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

Purdue hasn't won a lot, so it is not a surprise that it is not a financial leader in college sports.

As we know, Morgan Burke is very proud of bringing the athletic department in under budget. This, of course, is a very good thing. It is always nice to have a surplus and, as I have pointed out, with the river of Rotel and Barbasol money coming each year from the Big Ten Network it is easier than ever to do.

What it does not mean, however, is winning. As I write this Purdue has finished dead last in football in the Big Ten, dead last in basketball, and is close to finishing dead last in baseball too (but at least the men's golf team might win the Big Ten. That will sell tickets!). Recently, ESPN the Magazine published some interesting facts about how much colleges made and spent on college sports during the 2012-13 school year. Purdue wasn't on the list anywhere, but its Big Ten brethren were. Some notes:

  • In terms of sheer revenue Wisconsin, Michigan, and Ohio State were in the top 10 nationally. Michigan made over $81 million in football alone (having the world's largest stadium will do that).All three also cashed in with very successful basketball programs.
  • The schools that being in the most spent the most. Wisconsin was second in revenue and in expenses, making about $3 million total. Michigan, Ohio State, Iowa, and Penn State were also in the top 10 in expenses.
  • Morgan Burke's beloved surplus wasn't even in the top 10. Again, the big-name brands were all over this with Ohio State No. 1. They have a huge athletic department, they drive the Big Ten, and they have a legion of crazy fans, leading to a $24 million surplus.
  • Of those in the top 10 in surplus only Kansas was a major surprise. The Jayhawks have the worst football program in the top 10 by far, there is no lucrative Big 12 network, and they have a bloated albatross of a football coach contract in Charlie Weis. How the hell do they do it?
  • In money spent on recruiting I would hate to see how far down Purdue is on the list. I feel like Matt Painter has done an admirable job, but can he hop on a jet and fly out to see the top player in California to get him to come here? Isaac Haas is probably the recruit we have gotten from the farthest distance for the basketball program in some time. In the top 10 only Kentucky is not a major football power, so coach Cal is dropping some benjamins to go get Derek Willis to sit the bench.
  • Indiana was curiously high on spending the most on visiting teams. Considering that this was during the 2012 football season, when they had only Ball State and Indiana State as paycheck home football games, what are they spending everything on? They did not have a true non-conference road game, so it must have been expensive to get the likes of Bryant, Coppin State, Mount St. Mary's, and Sam Houston State to come to the Hall of Calls for the Cody Zeller farewell tour.
  • Texas spent almost three times as much on game day as second place Georgia. I guess "the first 25,000 fans receive an ounce of pure gold" is a popular promotion.
  • The "Money spent on student aid" category is dominated by schools that have high tuition and excellent academics as private institutions. As someone still paying off a Miami student loan, it is not cheap to go to Da U. Stanford, Notre Dame, Boston College, SMU, Northwestern, and Syracuse are also pricey private institutions.

Ultimately, I don't think this is good for Purdue at all. We have an AD that is hesitant to spend big bucks and the product on the field is hardly making turnstiles spend like slot machines to make that spending easier. The roll of the dice contract-wise  Matt Painter and Darrell Hazell is hardly paying dividends at the moment, so we're in a very rough patch.

No wonder there is a beer garden at the final baseball series in two weeks.

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