June is both the end of the season for spring NCAA sports and most institutions’ fiscal year—a good time to look at the connection between team championships and yearly sport expenses. We cross-referenced the U.S. Department of Education’s Equity in Athletics Data with the list of NCAA team champions from the 2003-04 season, to the 2011-12 season. Here’s what we found:
As expected, Football and Basketball represent significantly higher amounts than what schools spend on other sports programs. In third place behind them is Hockey, which beats out Track, Baseball, and all other men’s sports in both D-I and D-III expenses. Is this the average for Hockey, or are these numbers boosted by a single champion?
There were some high years, such as in 2005-06, when Wisconsin spent nearly a million, and in 2009-10 and 2011-12, when Boston College spent over $800K. But the low years aren’t that low – the least amount spent was $374K by Boston University in 2008-09, which was higher than six of the ten D-I Baseball champions, and five of the ten D-I Track champions. Interestingly, the Baseball average would have been even lower if it wasn’t for Texas in 2010-11:
Without the Longhorns’ expenses, the Baseball champion average was just $334K, which would be lower than Lacrosse’s average of $387K, except for one season that upped their total as well:
Johns Hopkins spent over $1 million for their 2006-07 championship, but otherwise the average was steady at around $300K.
In D-II and D-III, the totals were much lower, as expected, and outside of football and basketball, only 11 and 10 teams, respectively, spent more than $100K on their championship:
Non-Football, Non-Basketball Men’s NCAA Champion Operating Expenses over $100K
|Track (Outdoor)||2011-12||Adams State||$135,420|
|Track (Outdoor)||2006-07||Abilene Christian||$109,624|
|Track (Outdoor)||2010-11||Abilene Christian||$109,435|
|Track (Outdoor)||2007-08||Abilene Christian||$103,683|
|Ice Hockey||2011-12||St. Norbert||$235,903|
|Ice Hockey||2008-09||Neumann College||$177,877|
|Ice Hockey||2010-11||St. Norbert||$153,191|
|Ice Hockey||2007-08||St. Norbert||$1148,402|
|Ice Hockey||2006-07||Oswego State||$141,898|
That’s just 15% for football, and 12% for basketball, of the D-II and D-III NCAA Championships examined.
On the women’s side:
Women’s volleyball gets a huge bump compared to the men, averaging $366K per champion, which is nearly 300% more than the men’s champions. Gymnastics also spent more, averaging $270K per champion, nearly 220% more than the men’s champions.
The huge gap between D-I and D-II/D-III averages hundreds of thousands of dollars – D-II and D-III teams spend an average of just 7.6% of what their D-I women’s basketball counterparts do. This is in line with the men’s side of things, however, where they spend just 5.6% on average.
Another average that might be worth examining is Women’s Golf, presented below:
Looking at all years, D-I Women’s Golf champions spent an average of $123K per championship team, 350% of what the D-II and D-III champions averaged. But excluding USC’s $410K spent in 2007-08, the D-I average is just $87K per championship team, just $52K per season more on average.
Looking at D-II and D-III, there were 13 D-II championship teams that spent over $100K in their winning season—14% of the total champions, which is similar to the men’s D-II and D-III champions. But in D-III, there was only one women’s team champion that spent over $100K on their winning season:
Non-Basketball Women’s NCAA Champion Operating Expenses over $100K
|Track (Outdoor)||2010-11||Grand Valley State||$150,215|
|Soccer||2009-10||Grand Valley State||$124,554|
|Track (Outdoor)||2011-12||Grand Valley State||$115,180|
|Soccer||2010-11||Grand Valley State||$115,164|