Perhaps a good many SEC athletic directors should send their accountants up to Auburn for a lesson in cost of attendance. Auburn’s figure of $5,586 for cost of attendance beyond the athletic scholarship ranks second only to Tennessee in both the Southeastern Conference and nationally, dwarfing the $3,320 that Florida will spend per scholarship athlete. Anyone who doesn’t think Auburn, Tennessee and the others offering $4,000 and above will use that for a recruiting advantage is just fooling himself. Auburn’s already pointing it out to every recruit and if Auburn is doing it you can bet every assistant coach on the recruiting trail has memorized who’s paying what for cost of attendance and using it whenever possible.
According to the Montgomery Advertiser, Auburn divided its cost of attendance figure into two parts: $2,728 for personal expenses and $2,858 for transportation. Consider personal expenses. If, for example, a cell phone with a data plan costs $80 a month, that’s $960 for a full year, leaving $1,768 or less than $150 a month. Auburn used $3 per gallon for gas and an average of 20 miles per gallon when factoring in costs for transportation.
Says Mike Reynolds, the executive director of Student Financial Services at Auburn, “That’s not a crazy figure either. It makes me wonder how some of the other schools that have lower [personal cost figures], how they do it?”
Indeed, how do they do it?
The $80 for cell phone and data isn’t outrageous but at Florida, that would amount to 28.9% of the cost of attendance money. If a student-athlete puts an average of 1,000 miles a month on his/her car – not outrageous if you consider it’s nearly 300 miles round trip to Tampa; more than 360 round trip to Sarasota and more than 540 round trip to West Palm Beach – it would equate to 600 gallons of gas and $1,800 in transportation expenses. Cell phone and transportation based on those averages would leave $560 for the rest of the year.
Based on Auburn’s way of calculating the numbers, you have to think $3,320 is a rather low figure. You also have to think Auburn will exploit that on the recruiting trail and the schools that are well below $4,000 for the year better figure out a way to narrow the gap or else they’ll lose recruits. Just as kids understand the expenditures for facilities equal commitment, they will consider cost of a higher cost of attendance as commitment as well.
Per the Chronicle of High Education figures here is the cost of room, board, tuition, books and fees followed by the amount of money that will be tackled on to cover the actual cost of attendance at SEC schools plus in-state rivals Florida and Miami.
1. Tennessee: $23,710/$5,666
2. Auburn: $23,578/$5,586
3. Mississippi State: $17,294/$5,126
4. Ole Miss: $18,024/$4,500
5. South Carolina: $21,414/$4,151
6. Arkansas: $19,064/$4,002
7. Missouri: $21,040/$3,654
8. Florida: $17,230/$3,320
9. LSU: $24,192/$3,096
10. Alabama: $24,542/$2,892
11. Vanderbilt: $61,470/$2,780
12. Texas A&M: $19,764/$2,706
13. Georgia: $20,082/$2,598
14. Kentucky: $21,464/$2,284
Our in-state ACC brethren:
Florida State: $17,800/$3,884
Florida 45, Miami 16; November 27, 1971
The Gators were 3-7 going into the last game of the 1971 season against Miami at the Orange Bowl while Miami was 4-6. This was Doug Dickey’s second season as Florida’s head coach and perhaps the only motivation going into the final game of the season was the possibility of getting John Reaves the 343 passing yards he would need to break the NCAA career yardage record held by Jim Plunkett. It had been a miserable two years for Reaves, who really wasn’t cut out for Dickey’s offense, and for the rest of the 1969 Super Sophs, whose careers at Florida began with that 9-1-1 1969 season in Ray Graves’ last year on the job. It was a blowout win for the Gators, who led 45-8 late in the fourth quarter after Harvin Clark returned a Miami punt 82 yards for a touchdown. The Gators were going for the record one series later but Reaves was picked off. Miami moved the ball from the UF 23 to the eight but was taking its time in the huddle after every play. Florida players swear that Miami was trying to run out the clock to keep Reaves from the record although to this day they swear that’s not true. To save some time on the clock for a final shot for Reaves, Clark, who was Florida’s defensive captain, called three time outs and after each one asked Dickey about letting Miami score so the Gators could get the ball back. Dickey finally gave in and said let Miami score. Rather than make it look like they were trying, the Gators flopped and let the Hurricanes run it in from the eight. Over on the sidelines, Miami coach Fran Curci went ballistic and the anger carried over to the rest of the team. When Florida got the ball back with enough time on the clock for a shot at the record, Reaves hit Carlos Alvarez with a 15-yard pass to become the NCAA’s all-time leader with 7,549 yards. That’s more than 11,500 fewer yards than the current record. What is now known as “The Florida Flop” is still a bone of contention among Miami fans. Former Miami players like Chuck Foreman called it the “most humiliating, lowdown thing that’s ever happened” and Curci still seethes. For the Super Sophs of 1969, going out with a record for Reaves was important since Reaves’ game suffered greatly in the Dickey offense. None of them were happy when Dickey replaced Ray Graves and two years later nothing Dickey had done turned them into happy campers. Florida players of that era say Graves was like a father to them the way he encouraged them to get as much education as possible and helped them find jobs after graduation or scholarship money and grants so they could get graduate degrees. Dickey was perceived as cold and uncaring. Seven years later he was fired.
The Big 12 has petitioned the NCAA for the right to hold a championship game even though the league has only 10 schools. While commish Bruce Bowlsby talks an optimistic game, Oklahoma president David Boren is talking expansion and there are others close to the situation who think the NCAA will reject the petition leaving the Big 12 with two options: (1) take its chances that it will be consistently bypassed in the College Football Playoff or (2) add two schools.
While there is no shortage of schools that would love to join the Big 12 here is a look at the real contenders and the longshots.
UCF: It’s the largest campus in the country (more than 63,000 students this fall), it’s in Orlando, which is the #19 television market and the #22 metro area with more than 2.6 million, and Florida is the third most populous state in the union. From the standpoint of expanding the league footprint, UCF makes sense. The league has already expanded east of the Mississippi River by adding West Virginia, which brings little to the television table (#65 TV market for Charleston-Huntington), but UCF has a lot of positives in its favor.
Memphis: A Memphis-UCF expansion might make the most sense because it would give the Big 12 a footprint deep in the heart of two major SEC markets. Memphis would add quality to an already strong basketball league and football is both on the rise and about to get its own 50,000-seat on campus stadium. Memphis is the #48 television market in the nation and the #44 metro area with 1.3 million.
Cincinnati: The basketball program would make the league that much tougher, football isn’t bad and Nippert Stadium is being renovated. Cincinnati is the nation’s 26th largest metro area (2.2 million) and the #34 television market that would give the league a footprint in Ohio. It would also give West Virginia a nearby rival.
USF: Tampa is the 13th largest TV market in the country and USF has a student body that numbers 47,000. The lack of an on-campus football stadium hurts as much as the lack of success and drawing power at the gate. The overall athletic program isn’t very successful. But, when it comes to population demographics USF makes sense (2.7 million; #21 metro area), particularly when added to the I-4 corridor that includes Orlando, Polk and Volusia counties. But, does the league want or need two Florida schools? Would one Florida school (UCF) and say Memphis or Cincinnati make more sense?
BYU: While the thought of adding the millions of members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints who follow BYU passionately might make a lot of sense, there are the same scheduling issues that prevented the Pac-12 from adding BYU along with Utah. BYU refuses to play any athletic events on Sundays. Adding BYU would make it a 1,900 haul from Morgantown, West Virginia to Provo.
Colorado State: The new stadium will seat less than 40,000 and would be the smallest in the conference. Could Colorado State recruit the kind of athletes that it would take to be competitive in the Big 12?
Houston: The Big 12 already owns the Houston market (#9 metro and #10 television) so adding Houston would bring nothing new to either the financial or recruiting tables. There are a lot of Big 12 alums living in Houston, however, so that might carry a measure of clout with the people making decisions.
SMU: SMU has the same problem as Houston. The league doesn’t need another school to own television in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. Besides, unless there is a miracle of changing the water into wine proportions, TCU doesn’t want SMU in the league.
Boise State: Boise is a long way from anything in the Big 12 and while the football program is very strong, the television market isn’t top 100. Other than football, it’s hard to imagine Boise bringing anything to the Big 12 athletic table.
Phil Knight is stepping down as the chairman of Nike, the company he founded with the late Bill Bowerman, the legendary University of Oregon track coach. Knight will remain the company’s largest shareholder so he will still have a say in the direction the company takes moving forward but it will be interesting to see how the new management handles the aggressive push being made by rivals adidas and Under Armour. Nike will have to make some major decisions in the next couple of years regarding Tigers Woods ($20 million a year), whose game has gone south; Roger Federer ($10 million a year), whose tennis career is coming to an end; and Kobe Bryant ($8 million a year), who might not have another good year left in him.
Kevin Love reversed course once again and will re-sign with the Cleveland Cadavers for five years and $110 million. Also Tristan Thompson will resign with the Cadavers. If Love and Kyrie Irving can stay healthy the long drought since the last pro team won a championship (Cleveland Browns, 1964) should come to an end.
Oh, to be 21 and Jordan Speith. His new apparel deal with Under Armour is expected to be in the $200 million range. Winning the Masters and the US Open back to back will do things like that for you.
The NCAA spent $13.8 million in 2013 for lawyers to defend the organization in court. When the figures are released for 2014, the legal fees are probably going to be at least 50% higher and most of the lawsuits – the bulk of which have happened on Mark Emmert’s watch – are a long way from settlement. How is it this guy still has a job?
The NCAA has agreed to pay travel expenses for families of players attending the men’s and women’s Final Fours and the national championship game in football. That’s good. Now the NCAA needs to take it a step further and offer travel money for families going to the championships in other sports. Given the amount of money the NCAA takes in, the output is a drop in the bucket. Schools that can afford it should be allowed to pay for families to travel to things like conference tournaments as well.
Alabama’s licensing royalties have increased 83% in the last five years and 250% since 2005 per the Collegiate Licensing Company.
If you use the Auburn calculations, does Florida need to find a way to up the cost of attendance ante?
One of the more fun bands you’ll see live these days is Brooklyn based Pimps of Joytime, whose origins were in New Orleans where they were influenced by bands like The Meters and singers like Rufus Thomas. They’ve done four albums (their latest, “Jukestone Paradise” was released in April) but this is a band that has to be seen in person to be appreciated. This is a live performance from the Festival of Gnarnia in Beech Mountain, North Carolina in 2012.