I'm not sure how I feel about this. I'll be interested to hear what others think about OSU's status as the biggest spender per football player at $318,898 on a five year rolling average. I'm a little conflicted (but not too much; such is the state of CFB today across America) because spending per OSU student is comparatively so low ($20,873 per academic student, which over 5 years is below even <gulp> the University of Buffalo).
Other big spenders in the BCS top 10 stand a bit further back (remember, these are 5-year averages):
• Auburn at $235,200 per FB player
• Alabama at $219,677 per FB player
• Michigan State at $202,112 per FB player
• South Carolina at $171,594 per FB player
• Florida State at $142,904 per FB player
• Oklahoma at $109,642 per FB player
• Missouri spent $105,559 per FB player.
OSU is conspicuously #1 in spending per FB player in all of CFB for the most recent single year in which data is available (2011) at $456,023 per FB player. The only other school over $400K is Auburn at $434,108.
Notably, FB generated revenues of $56,133,807 in 2011 while FB expenses totaled $37,978,930. Where did the difference go?
While Ohio State is the biggest spender among all collegiate football programs, revenues from football fund almost all other costs associated with the university’s other athletic teams.
So, FB is essentially funding OSU's non-revenue sports as well as its ability to comply with Title IX (which is a good thing).
As a conference, the B1G 5-year spending average is $210,787 per FB athlete. That figure is exceeded only by the SEC, which spends $259,251 per FB player. No other conference is over $200K per FB athlete; the ACC is the only conference in the same stratosphere at $190K per FB athlete.
Here's how the big spenders in the B1G compare:
What say you? Feel free to play with the data visualization and comparison tools here.