Invest in football, get rewards

Two Pac-12 assistant football coaches made at least $1 million in 2021. In the SEC, 16 assistants had seven-figure salaries.

The highest-paid strength coach in the Pac-12 was only the 19th highest-paid coach in major college football.

Meanwhile, according to a published report, the largest recruitment budget in the Pac-12 does not fall into the top-12 nationally.

The only thing easier than the loss of the Pac-12 bowl are examples of the conference not plowing as many resources into the football infrastructure as their peers in the Power Five.

New commissioner George Klivkopf hopes to change that situation by making the case to university presidents and vice chancellors that investing in football can benefit not only cash-strapped athletic departments but entire campuses.

“Historically, I don’t think we’ve made a good case for football’s ROI,” Klewkoff told Hotline.

“I’m not going to take this opportunity to talk to my 12 bosses without talking about it. It’s going to be a constant topic. They’ll get tired of hearing that from me.”

If Klewkoff succeeds in persuading the president to spend more on football, he would have turned an existence rooted in decades of frugality and frugality.

Over the years, Pac-12 presidents and VCs have refused to devote as many resources to their peers as to coaching salaries, recruitment budgets, facilities, and other building blocks of football success.

In some cases, presidents have spoken publicly — and with pride — about not participating in the so-called arms race in the Power Five.

Examples from the past few seasons (among public universities) are plentiful:

– Oregon spent $6 million on its coordinators and assistant coaches in 2021, According to USA Today, While that level of expenditure led the Pac-12, it was only 10th nationally.

Joe Moorhead, the Ducks’ offensive coordinator, was the highest-paid employee in the conference at $1.15 million—just 20th in the Football Bowl subdivision.

(The only other Pac-12 coordinator/assistant at the million-dollar mark was Utah defensive playcaller Morgan Skelly.)

– According to USA Today, Washington had the second highest-paid coaching staff in the Pac-12 in 2021, with a salary pool of $4.9 million for assistants and coordinators.

Yet the Huskies were ranked only 22nd nationally in total outlay. Programs that cost more than UW included well-known football powerhouses Illinois, North Carolina and Arkansas.

Many head coaches believe that their most important employee is the strength coach, due to the physical nature of the game and the amount of season time players spend training.

Oregon’s Aaron Feld was the top-paid strength coach in the conference in 2021 for $420,000. That salary ranks 19th nationally.

— Analysis of the 2019 Recruitment Budget Athletic Director Yu. By Found the Pac-12 badly behind in that category as well.

Oregon spent $1.2 million in recruiting that year, followed by Utah with $1.1 million. Neither school made the top 14 nationally, and no other Pac-12 school spent more than $1 million.

Kliavkoff, who has been on the job for just six months, did not cite specifics. But he clearly understands the connection between football investment and potential returns across the university spectrum – financial returns, alumni engagement returns and yes, educational returns.

“We need to invest in coaches and facilities,” he said. “This leads to better recruitment, which leads to win-wins, leading to direct and indirect revenue and alumni participation.

“And we’ve seen that lead to more applications, which allows universities to become more selective in admissions.

“I can’t imagine a more clear ROI than investing in football.”

There are examples everywhere, some of them previously cited on the hotline.

According to USA Today, during its stellar run under Nick Saban, Alabama has experienced a quadrupling in the number of out-of-state students, and a comparable increase in the academic profile of incoming students.

Clemson has reportedly experienced a nearly doubling of applications for nominations over the past decade.

But football ROI also works at the sub-elite level.

National Bureau of Economic Research Published a 2012 study On the topic by Michael Anderson, professor of resource economics at Cal.

Anderson used regression models, propensity score matching techniques, and other equations to arrive at the following conclusions:

“For FBS schools, winning football games increases alumni’s athletic donations, increases a school’s academic reputation, increases the number of applicants and out-of-state students, lowers acceptance rates, and Average incoming SAT scores increase.

“Projections imply that a large increase in team performance could have a significant financial impact, especially in the area of ​​athletic charity. Consider a school that improves on its season and wins 5 games (25th percentile season). and the estimated difference between the 75th percentile season).

“Changes of this magnitude occur approximately 8% of the time over a one-year period and 13% of the time over a two-year period. This school can expect a $682,000 (28%) increase in alumni athletic donations, Application 677 (5%), acceptance rates could drop 1.5 percentage points (2%), state enrollment could increase by 76 students (3%), and incoming 25th percentile SAT scores could drop by 9 points ( 1%) will increase.”

Those are numbers the president of the Pac-12 can understand.

“There are two paths to football success,” Kliavkoff said. “One is investment; The second is the shortcut.

“The Pac-12 is not going to take shortcuts. To me, the path is investment, and there is a compelling case to be made that we can do things without compromising our standards for education and culture.”