How much do championships cost? Article posted on July 1, 2013

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:

mens average championship cost

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?

Mens Hockey Championship

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:

Mens Baseball Championship

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:

Mens Lacrosse Championship

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


Sport Year Institution Operating Expenses
Lacrosse 2004-05 NY Tech $311,614
Baseball 2010-11 West Florida $176,154
Lacrosse 2010-11 Mercyhurst $137,899
Track (Outdoor) 2011-12 Adams State $135,420
Baseball 2009-10 Southern Indiana $133,540
Lacrosse 2008-09 C.W. Post $128,404
Track (Outdoor) 2006-07 Abilene Christian $109,624
Track (Outdoor) 2010-11 Abilene Christian $109,435
Baseball 2006-07 Tampa $109,196
Baseball 2004-05 Florida Southern $103,977
Track (Outdoor) 2007-08 Abilene Christian $103,683


Sport Year Institution Operating Expenses
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
Lacrosse 2008-09 SUNY Cortland $122,926
Wrestling 2004-05 Augsburg $121,524
Soccer 2007-08 Middlebury $119,407
Track (Outdoor) 2011-12 McMurry $108,398
Ice Hockey 2005-06 Middlebury $102,316

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:

Womens Average Championship Cost

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.

Womens Basketball Championship

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:

Women's Golf Championship

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


Sport Year Institution Operating Expenses
Soccer 2008-09 Seattle Pacific $153,947
Track (Outdoor) 2010-11 Grand Valley State $150,215
Rowing 2004-05 Western Washington $139,742
Rowing 2011-12 Humboldt State $128,562
Soccer 2011-12 Saint Rose $126,886
Soccer 2009-10 Grand Valley State $124,554
Lacrosse 2010-11 Adelphi $121,528
Track (Outdoor) 2011-12 Grand Valley State $115,180
Soccer 2010-11 Grand Valley State $115,164
Softball 2008-09 Lock Haven $110,339
Lacrosse 2009-10 Adelphi $105,939
Field Hockey 2007-08 Bloomsburg $101,486
Rowing 2008-09 Western Washington $100,607


Sport Year Institution Operating Expenses
Softball 2011-12 Pacific Lutheran $132,684