Nebraska once again outpaced the rest of the Big Ten in recruiting expenditures, spending $3,467,277 from 2012-2015 and $991,818 in the 2015 according to a league-wide analysis by the Cedar Rapids (Iowa) Gazette's Scott Dochterman.
Penn State was only other Big Ten team to spend over $3 million in the last four years.
The Huskers have been the top spender in three of the four past years, Dochterman finds, but they are far from the fastest growing. Nebraska spent 31.7 percent more in 2015 compared to 2012, while the Nittany Lions' recruiting costs ballooned 96.5 percent in that span. Newcomer Rutgers' spending jumped 85.4 percent, while the league's other newcomer, Maryland, is the lone team to cut expenses, sinking $61,000 less into recruiting in 2015 than 2012. Northwestern, a private school, did not report recruiting expenses during the period.
The fact that Nebraska spends money on recruiting is no secret. As we reported earlier this year, Nebraska's recruiting budget has doubled in just five years, from $478,554 in 2010-11 to the current level of $991,818. Nebraska has plans to spend $1,000,049 on football recruiting during the 2015-16 fiscal year. And, depending on whether you categorize the spending under recruiting, the addition of a position like Billy Devaney's, Nebraska's first-year executive director of player personnel, could lead to a big jump in expenses going forward. Devaney, the one-time St. Louis Rams general manager, joined the NU football program in February with an annual salary of $300,000.
According to the Gazette's research, programs with new coaches account for the heaviest spenders, with each of the top four dollar figures coming from teams that have had a coaching change during the four-year period (Nebraska, Penn State, Illinois and Michigan).
Overall, the Big Ten's recruiting expenses have grown $2.2 million and 39.2 percent over the past four years, largely thanks to nationwide recruiting and growing use of satellite camps. That's likely to keep growing as schools continue to invest in finding top recruits and as schools lobby to be able to spend more in that area. Earlier this year, for example, the NCAA decided to allow football programs to cover the expenses of a recruit's parents and/or guardians associated with an official visit.
To read more of Dochterman's analysis, click here.