On Campus: It's all About the Benji's Baby

"Show me the money!" I can see Cuba Gooding Jr. and Tom Cruise standing outside of the Jacobson building screaming out on the balcony toward the north endzone, as desperation sets in. One-by-one they are joined by Jamie Pollard, Dan McCarney, Greg McDermott, Bill Fennelly and the rest of the Cyclone coaches. "Show me the money!"

In the latest financial figures released by the department of education, the Cyclone athletic department is on the cusp of falling way off the competitive map. Keep in mind these figures are derived from the fiscal year ending June of 2005, or before the Jamie Pollard era. But the new sheriff in town is going to need a sizeable shovel to dig out of this financial ditch laid upon him.


In the past two years, athletic budgets of the 117 D-1 schools increased by an average of $5.4 million (a 17 percent rate increase). Iowa State increased its budget by only $1.1 million in those same two years. ISU's athletic expenses in the year amounted to $28.1 million. That sounds like a good chunk of change, but in the grand scheme of things, the Cyclones have been stuck driving a Kia, while the rest of the BCS schools have switched to Ferraris.


Including Notre Dame there are 66 BCS schools—Iowa State's budget ranks 63rd out of those schools. The only schools with smaller budgets in BCS conferences are South Florida, Mississippi State, and Washington State. Not the best of company.  


Let's take a look at the numbers broken into four categories:


Total Athletic Revenue:


  1. Ohio State- $89.7 million
  2. Texas- $89.65 million
  3. Michigan- $78.4 million
  4. Florida- $77.35 million
  5. Wisconsin-$75.3 million
  6. Tennessee- $71.54 million
  7. Georgia- $68.8 million
  8. Oklahoma- $63.4 million
  9. Texas A&M-62.8 million
  10. Virginia-$62.3 million


12. Iowa $61.6 million

18. Nebraska $55.9 million

22. Kansas $49.9 million

25. Texas Tech $47.3 million

28. Missouri $46.8 million

38. Oklahoma State $41.2 million

53. Colorado $35.9 million

59. Baylor $31.1 million

63. Iowa State 28.7 million

117. Louisiana Monroe $5.4 million


Football Only Revenue


  1. Texas $53.2 million
  2. Ohio State $51.8 million
  3. Georgia $50.9 million
  4. Michigan $46.4 million
  5. Florida $43.3 million
  6. Alabama $43.0 million
  7. Notre Dame $41.8 million
  8. Auburn $40.6 million
  9. LSU $39.7 million
  10. Texas A&M $37.7 million


13. Oklahoma $32.2 million

14. Iowa $29.6 million

23. Colorado 22.1 million

24. Nebraska $20.7 million

25. Kansas State 20.0 million

28. Texas Tech $19.3 million

30. Oklahoma State $18.9 million

43. Missouri $15.9 million

50. Iowa State 11.4 million

58. Kansas 9.8 million

72. Baylor $6.5 million

117. Kent State $777,669



  Total Athletic Expenses


  1. Ohio State $89.9 million
  2. Texas $74.4 million
  3. Florida $73.5 million
  4. Tennessee $71.5 million
  5. Oklahoma $62.9 million
  6. Michigan $61.4 million
  7. USC $60.7 million
  8. Penn State $60.2 million
  9. Wisconsin $59.5 million
  10. Virginia $57.4 million


14. Iowa $54.9 million

64. Iowa State $28.1 million


Football Only Expenses 


  1. Ohio State $25.7 million
  2. Iowa $18.1 million
  3. Texas Tech $17.8 million
  4. Virginia $16.8 million
  5. USC $16.7 million
  6. Auburn $16.4 million
  7. Florida $16.1 million
  8. Notre Dame $15.1 million
  9. Syracuse $15.0 million
  10. Oklahoma $14.6 million
  11. Texas $14.5 million


60. Iowa State $7.1 million



The Hawkeyes spend the second most in the nation on football. When I discovered that, I was floored. A good percentage of that money goes to Ferentz' top tier salary, which Hawk fans will argue is well deserved. But for as much grief as Iowa State has received for their spending habits in recent years, I'm surprised this has never come to anybody's attention. Heck they outspend Texas by $3.5 million in football. That difference alone could pay for Pierre Pierce's legal fees. 


But all kidding aside, ISU needs to do some serious catch up. They may never reach Iowa's level of spending, but it's no coincidence the top spenders are the most consistent athletic programs. And when your company is the likes of the South Florida's and Louisiana Tech's of the world, eventually you will become one of them. Vanderbilt and Northwestern each have generated over $10 million more than ISU did in the past year. That can't continue if the Cyclones want to stay in contention for titles. I'm positive Jamie Pollard is well aware of this and is doing his best to elevate ISU's budget above Conference-USA stature.


Sure, money isn't the only indicator of success and I realize the Cyclones were two plays away from winning two straight Big 12 Championships, but in order to sustain a high level of performance, the ante has to be upped.


Maybe Cuba Gooding Jr. or Tom Cruise has some extra money hanging around?  

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