Remember the 2004 baseball playoffs, when everyone was suddenly getting on the Boston Red Sox bandwagon because they were such a great story, composed of a bunch of scrappy, rambunctious, gritty players? And do you remember how everyone conveniently forgot the fact that the Red Sox had the 2nd highest payroll in baseball, taking away some of the “Cinderella” imagery? Well, Andy Staples of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED wants to make sure we don’t make the same mistake with the upstart Texas Tech football team.
(Coach Mike Leach needs some bling on his fingers)
Yes, Texas Tech currently holding the number two ranking in the country is a fun little story, especially because the school doesn’t necessarily get a lot of attention for their football team. But before this Saturday’s much-anticipated “David vs. Goliath” contest between the Red Raiders and fifth-ranked Oklahoma, SI.COM goes and plays the role of killjoy, bringing our attention to the fact that Texas Tech has spent a whole bunch of money on their football program.
Even more than Oklahoma!
More from SI.COM:
An examination of the football revenues and expenses of the top 20 schools in this week’s BCS standings showed that the Red Raiders spent $77,437,091 on football during that span. Oklahoma spent $73,100,833.
SI wants to make it clear that the numbers do not “take into account capital expenditures (stadium renovation, new academic centers, weight rooms, etc.)”, and that collegiate finance reporting is notoriously iffy, meaning you can’t take all comparisons at face value. But still, does it really matter? Texas Tech spends like the big boys, so it’s no surprise - and not such an exciting story - that they’re playing with the big boys.
Another interesting piece of information from the piece:
Andrew Zimbalist estimates that of the hundreds of college athletic departments in America, only about six generate a surplus in a given year. But athletic directors see those big-money departments and believe that if they turn their football program into a juggernaut, they might someday join the ranks of Ohio State, Florida and Texas, which have parlayed football success and prestige into high eight- and low nine-figure revenues.
Ah, to invest your hard-earned money into a business that becomes a self-sustaining empire, all while exploiting the slave labor of youngsters. That, my friends, is the American dream.