Archive for Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Cost of $8 million per win makes KU football ‘worst team for the money,’ Forbes says

December 26, 2012


Jayhawk fans: How much is a Kansas University football victory worth to you?

Seriously, how much would you pay for each one? $50? $1,000?

How about $8 million?

That's about how much Kansas Athletics has spent on the football program for each victory during the past three seasons, according to an analysis by Forbes magazine.

That's far above the going rate, even in the big-money world of major-conference college football. In fact, in Forbes' feature on money in college football, released last week, it earned KU the title of "worst team for the money" in the sport. By a wide margin.

Making matters worse for KU fans, perhaps, is which school Forbes named the "most cost-efficient" team in the country, among major conferences: Kansas State University. Forbes listed K-State's cost per win at about $1.45 million.

At least it's not Missouri, right?

To come up with its figures, Forbes reviewed federal Department of Education data on college athletic spending to determine how much athletic departments spent on football during the 2009-10, 2010-11 and 2011-12 academic years. It then divided that total by how many victories the team tallied during the 2010, 2011 and 2012 seasons. (The idea, Forbes says, is that spending on the football program one year contributes to the team's success the next year.)

The math for KU came to just about $8 million per win. That was more than $2 million more than the next least efficient program, Indiana.

Why the sky-high cost? Well, it's no secret the last three seasons have been lean ones for KU football: The team's overall record has been 6-30.

And that has come around the same time that Kansas Athletics paid some hefty sums to coaches on their way out.

After Mark Mangino's resignation in 2009, he settled with the university for $3 million. And after Turner Gill was fired in 2011, he received a lump-sum payment of the $6 million he was to earn over the three years remaining on his contract. That year, according to the federal figures Forbes used, KU's football spending jumped by about $7 million.

All in all, according to Forbes' totals, KU spent about $48 million on football during the 2009-2011 period.

This year, new head coach Charlie Weis coached his first season after signing a five-year, $12.5 million contract — which doesn't count in Forbes' calculus.

It's important to remember, KU athletic director Sheahon Zenger said Wednesday, that investments in the football program are designed to pay off for years down the line.

"At first glance, you could look at a statistic like this and be taken aback, but the truth of the matter is Kansas football was in a great position in 2008 and can be in just as good a position again if addressed in the right manner," said Zenger, who was hired in January 2011. "In the world of BCS college athletics today, we all know that KU has one of the elite basketball programs in the nation and is on the road back to prominence in many other sports. But we have a tall task ahead of us in turning the football program back around, and that's why we've made the investment in a head coach and a coaching staff who can get the job done."

Things certainly were better in 2008. In fact, during the three-year period before the one Forbes examined — the 2007 to 2009 football seasons — KU spent less for each victory than K-State did, according to Journal-World calculations using the Department of Education data.

That was the case for the 2004 to 2006 seasons, as well. During that period, KU spent about half as much on football as it did during the most recent three-year period, according to the federal data.

But investment in football has become all the more important in recent years amid the shifting landscape of major college sports, Zenger said.

"Through the lens of conference realignment, we are all being judged by our commitment to football," Zenger said. "And Jayhawk Nation saw in the last few years just how important that commitment is and why we have made it a priority."

Fellow Big 12 programs Oklahoma and Baylor also ranked among the top 10 most cost-efficient teams, according to Forbes. No other Big 12 teams were alongside KU at the bottom of the list, though former conference-mate Colorado came in with the third-highest cost per win at $4.7 million.

But KU is pushing to turn things around, Zenger said.

"Now is not the time to fall asleep at the wheel and draw back," he said. "Now is the time to push forward."


Currahee 5 years, 5 months ago

I watch sports for the fun of it, not because of how much it makes.

cc1951 5 years, 5 months ago

So what is the purpose of a university, other than to bring alumni back for a weekend of bar hopping and to be shaken down by KUEA for mindless loyalty to ole KU.

Great mind there Zenger!

riverdrifter 5 years, 5 months ago

Who cares?! My GAS switch is locked in the off position on this one. Lew is gone and so is TG and that's the main thing. BTW, if Mangino is so great, why after three years is he still spending KU's paycheck and not coaching anywhere else, even as an assistant?

Matthew Herbert 5 years, 5 months ago

Mangino may be a big meanie, but to question him as a coach? How quickly you forget that we were national title contenders. At one point ranked #2 in America. Mangino has the second most wins at KU of any football coach. Was he a jerk? Undoubtedly. Will KU ever see 12-1 again? Unlikely.

Mark Pickerel 5 years, 5 months ago

Mangino was a good coach, but he put us in a hole recruiting-wise after the Orange Bowl season when he should have leveraged that success and increased our talent & depth.

I don't know exactly why that happened, but the lack of recruiting success combined with the way he was treating staff & players put a shelf life on his time here.

I wish him all the best.

robertkjacksonKU79 5 years, 5 months ago

I attended my first KU game in 25 years or so this last fall-the one they won (South Dakota State). It was great fun and worth every penny of $8,000,000. Where do I send the check? That said, if they had won 2 games, it would only cost only $4,000,000 per victory, 8 games, only $1,000,000 per victory, etc. Here's a question for the Accounting 1. How many victories would it take to break even?

MarcoPogo 5 years, 5 months ago

I can't tell if this post is a joke or not.

msezdsit 5 years, 5 months ago

Gee, kinda makes you wonder what we could have got for just 6 million.

However, this doesn't take into consideration that this season might be beneficial in turning around the program and putting it on a winning path. If this is the case, one would have to figure in this and next season to get a more accurate number. Oh, but of course if you factor the last two seasons into this number you would get, oh, well, never mind.

Pepe 5 years, 5 months ago

Why is the cost per win relevant? Shouldn't the primary questions be whether the program is profitable and if so, by how much? In other words, even if our costs average to $8,000,000 per victory, the bigger question seems to be whether the program is profitable. The conclusions in this article seem somewhat irrevelant.

lwctown 5 years, 5 months ago

Sports are almost as much of a false economy as casinos. Why grown adults pay good money to go sit and watch someone else engage in a pointless activity is beyond me. If people are truly concerned with profitability then let sports pay their own way. No more alumni donations going to pay for this or that. Also let professional sports build and pay for their own stadiums and pay taxes on those stadiums.

2002 5 years, 5 months ago

OK, fair enough. Then we can also stop all subsidy of the academic side of the University also. After all, the benefit of education in only for the student, right? If you want an education so bad, pay for it yourself. Besides much of the financial support for college academics is from alumni that are really just cheering for 'their' school.

KiferGhost 5 years, 5 months ago

Wow, if you are so dense not to see that society as a whole benefits from academics we are in a sad place in America. Unfortunately your attitude is the same as the governor's opinion yet the funny thing is we don't hear him talking about changing things so sports carry more of their own weight like paying taxes on all that state property they use. Yeah, let's just chuck academics and become bigger barbarians than we already are.

JayCat_67 5 years, 5 months ago

I think it was a vain attempt at sarcasm.

Matthew Herbert 5 years, 5 months ago

If you force sports to "carry their own weight", you'll effectively kill all women's sports. Have you ever been to a KU women's basketball game? Even in Lawrence where basketball is king, women's tickets are routinely given away and Allen Fieldhouse sits half empty.

KiferGhost 5 years, 5 months ago

Kill all of it, provide gyms, and let all the kids play sports and get the couch potatoes up and moving as well. The universities shouldn't have to provide entertainment for the masses.

fu7il3 5 years, 5 months ago

Surely, at a time with an unstable market, a down economy, and policymakers rocketing towards the fiscal cliff Forbes has something better to report on than college football wins and losses.

2002 5 years, 5 months ago

Stupid, Stupid analysis. The price isn't applied to Weis' time here anyway, it is on Turner Gill and his pathetic recruiting and non-existent leadership. The worst coach in any sport that KU has ever seen.

homergoodtimes 5 years, 5 months ago

Zenger did the best he could to put a positive spin on this embarrassing "worst for the money" article.

How's he going to explain his sweetheart agreement to lease KU track stadium, softball stadium, soccer field, and other facilities from a Thomas Fritzel front... Leases agreed to without competitive bids or qualified independent cost and analysis... for KU athletic benefactors, endowment contributors, and alumni.

The circumstances, potential conflicts, details and conditions of those leases should be important as to how their money is being spent.

ravenjayhawk 5 years, 5 months ago

Can you say. Thanks to our last AD and the athletic committee that was there to check him. No one needs to go any further.

Silverhair 5 years, 5 months ago

What's our cost per loss? Maybe they are really cheap compared to other schools.

Gregory Newman 5 years, 5 months ago

K-State won with Kansas kids not those 3 star Texans. Check their roster

honestyku 5 years, 5 months ago

Well KU has no problem spending at least 5 to 6 million a year for the KU police dept budget. No offense to the ku police officers but the chief and his 4 admin (captains as they are called) officers earn at least 100 thousand a year sitting on thier rear ends doing nothin and this doesnt include thier great retirement packages. . hell get rid of them and hire 3 more lawence pd officres and save a few million a year. What a joke ku police admin are. waste of kansas tax payers money. if you all only knew.

CHEEZIT 5 years, 5 months ago

The Chiefs are close to a billion dollar operation!

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