The money Nebraska spends on recruiting for football and men’s basketball has increased dramatically in the past five years, according to a study released Thursday by the USA Today Network.
And some teams in the Big Ten have juiced their budgets even more than the Huskers.
NU spent $1,250,674 on football recruiting in fiscal year 2017-18. That was Scott Frost’s first recruiting class, though half of that year was comprised of former coach Mike Riley’s recruiting efforts. That total represented a 52.8% increase from NU’s spending in the 2012-2013 fiscal year.
Nebraska’s expenditures ranked third in the league behind Michigan ($1,369,428) and Penn State ($1,369,428). NU’s budget dwarfs that of Wisconsin ($350,695), though the study does not make it clear how Wisconsin arrives at its accounting and in what ways it may differ from the rest of the league. The Badgers also claim to have spent $86,770 on men’s basketball recruiting in 2017-18.
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The Husker men’s basketball team spent $450,328 in fiscal year 2017-18 under former coach Tim Miles. That was 39.3% more than 2012-13. The expense total ranked fourth in the Big Ten behind Indiana ($739,722), Illinois ($703,536) and Ohio State ($519,527).
Massive, ever-increasing payouts from the Big Ten’s multimedia contracts have given league programs the means to increase spending in many areas. Michigan’s football recruiting expenditures increased 110.4% over five years. Rutgers (94.7%), Penn State (85.9%), Maryland (74.9%), Indiana (72.3%), Ohio State (67.4%) and Minnesota (66.6%) all had expenses increase at a greater rate than Nebraska.
In men’s basketball, three teams — Minnesota (153.1%), Maryland (137.1%) and Illinois (121.7%) — more than doubled their recruiting expenditures.
Payouts also have allowed league teams to build new practice facilities the past five years.
Illinois opened its new football building and locker room this week. Purdue, Minnesota and Northwestern opened new practice facilities in 2018. And Nebraska has had preliminary discussions about building a new football practice facility in the future.