Kentucky Pays a lot for their Players

The Wildcats will be playing tonight in the Sweet 16, and though they feature a team with 3 freshman in the starting lineup, those 3 freshman came at a high cost, legally.* According to a report in Bloomberg, no team spends more money on college basketball recruiting than the University of Kentucky.

Kentucky spent $434,095 in fiscal 2010. The University of Kansas was second with $419,228 and Florida third with $326,306, according to expense reports from 53 schools obtained through open-records requests. Private schools such as Duke University aren’t required to divulge the information.

Interestingly enough, up until last summer when Tom Izzo received a considerable increase in salary from Michigan State University, those same schools mentioned above also had the 3 highest paid coaches in the country for public schools. Kentucky coach John Calipari makes $4 million per year, while Bill Self and Billy Donovan both make over $3 million per.

When numbers are reported like Kentucky’s, many are tempted to point to as wasteful spending of state dollars, but the fact is that Kentucky basketball generates a ridiculous amount of money. In fact, they are rarely ever in the red. According to the same Bloomberg report, Kentucky is operating with $5.2 million in profit in fiscal 2010 on $16.8 million in revenue. Hard to squawk at a program that is pretty much self-sustaining. Though, the die-hard Kentucky fans would rather see their team win games than worry about the infrastructure of the state. This is not an exaggeration.

What also needs to be taken into consideration is the location of Kentucky as well as the other two rounding out the top 3. The state of Kentucky isn’t exactly churning out top high school basketball talent, and that forces them to go out of state with their recruiting, thus requiring a lot more travel. Florida is not necessarily within driving distance of most of the top recruits in their state, and the talent isn’t necessarily deep in the state either as most athletes in Florida are being recruited for football. Kansas is plopped in the middle of the heartland, requiring them to travel as well. However, unlike Kentucky, Kansas’ and Florida’s spending on their recruiting and coaching has paid dividends with 3 national titles between them in the last 5 years, while Kentucky flames out even though they’ve had 4 1st round draft picks in their starting lineup recently.

The flip side of this, is a team like Wisconsin, who was eliminated last night by another school that recruits locally, Butler. The Badgers had 15 of their 17 recruits come from within the state or a neighboring one. This is a more common occurrence within Big 10 schools, as many of them fight for recruits within their own state with neighboring Big Ten opponents.

Does spending more necessarily gate more? In terms of Kentucky Basketball it does. As stated above, the numbers are pretty concrete. They are more willing to spend more money than anyone else to help compete for a national title each season, and they continue to succeed monetarily even though they may fall short of their ultimate goal on the court.

*probably illegally as well

17 thoughts on “Kentucky Pays a lot for their Players

  1. Great post. Wonder what duke spends . . . Were these numbers availablefor private schools?

  2. Watsonian…

    private schools such as Duke University aren’t required to divulge the information.

    pretty interesting stuff. you would think that schools like Kansas, Kentucky, etc. would be able to recruit themselves just on name alone. I guess this shows that isn’t as big of a deal as some make it.

  3. I was hoping that article would show where everyone else ranked that they got numbers from, but I didn’t see it.

  4. pretty interesting stuff. you would think that schools like Kansas, Kentucky, etc. would be able to recruit themselves just on name alone. I guess this shows that isn’t as big of a deal as some make it.

    It’s a good idea to try recruiting on name alone.

    - Notre Dame

  5. pretty interesting stuff. you would think that schools like Kansas, Kentucky, etc. would be able to recruit themselves just on name alone. I guess this shows that isn’t as big of a deal as some make it

    harder to stay on top than get there

  6. When numbers are reported like Kentucky’s, many are tempted to point to as wasteful spending of state dollars

    I don’t know how much of this is actually state dollars. Pretty sure the majority is paid for with donation money.

  7. point is that they aren’t really using the state money. hence the profit and revenue reported in the following sentences.

  8. I don’t know if you can really isolate the basketball program and not look at the athletic department as a whole

  9. I don’t know if you can really isolate the basketball program and not look at the athletic department as a whole

    Most athletic departments do.

  10. I’m confused by what you mean Trey which probably comes from me not being clear as to what I meant

    I was more arguingish Sparty’s point that while the basketball program turns a profit there shouldn’t be complaints about wastes of state money. I was more wondering what sorta financial state the athletic department as a whole was in.

    For instance say the athletic department as a whole was losing money then you would have to look to see if the extra money that you’re pumping into hoops is worth it or if you’re in a case of diminishing returns

  11. i can’t find a link showing profit and entire AD report, but the football team had a revenue of about 50 million. i doubt they are at a loss anywhere. i mean, a lot of football depts fund all other programs, but Kentucky’s basketball program is pretty much self-sustaining. my point is that people shouldn’t bitch about them spending 400k if they are covering what has already been budgeted. if they were working with a deficit, then go ahead.

  12. What a one sided pice of crap this article is. If you are going to try to write an objective article, let’s remove all the bias and your attempts at bashing the BBN.

    by the way, UK 62 Ohio State 60.

    chew on that douches

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