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Is Oklahoma State’s recruiting budget the problem with landing top recruits

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What the Cowboys are spending on recruiting and how it is impacting the program.

AutoZone Liberty Bowl - Missouri v Oklahoma State Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

Oklahoma State football fans have questioned the program’s commitment on the recruiting trail for some time now. Not to pick at an old wound, but this has especially been the case ever since athletic director Mike Holder’s comments regarding football recruiting last year.

Well Cowboy fans, it’s time to stop citing a lack of commitment as the reason OSU’s classes aren’t ranked higher.

During the 2018 Fiscal Year, OSU’s football recruiting budge was $715,492, according to a new report from USA Today.

School Spending 13-18 % Increase
Texas $1,823,307 232.10%
Oklahoma $1,264,809 51.60%
Kansas $1,141,379 109.10%
Iowa State $1,079,430 84.70%
Oklahoma State $715,492 137.90%
West Virginia $626,311 -18.70%
Texas Tech $535,362 -14.10%
Kansas State $509,760 13.80%

OSU’s recruiting budget is fifth behind the obvious Texas and Oklahoma, and the less obvious Iowa State and Kansas. TCU and Baylor are private universities and not required to release data. The more important number is the one next to the spending amount; OSU has seen the second highest increase in recruiting spending in the Big 12 during the past five seasons, at nearly 138 percent.

OSU coach Mike Gundy, who is entering his 15th season at the helm, has said recruiting is a priority. The money shows OSU is doing its best to stay in the recruiting arms race.

USA Today also recently released the athletic department revenue and spending for 2017-18 and, as expected, the recruiting spending matches pretty closely to the order of which programs are bringing in more revenue.

There were a few exceptions like West Virginia, who finished higher in revenue but on the lower end in recruiting spending.

But the bigger take away here is OSU’s football recruiting budget in comparison to its annual revenue is pretty comparable to what percentage other Big 12 schools are spending.

School Spending %of spending
Texas $219,402,579 0.83%
Oklahoma $152,674,475 0.83%
Kansas $104,108,072 1.10%
West Virginia $91,807,281 0.68%
Texas Tech $88,948,721 0.60%
Iowa State $88,670,048 1.22%
Oklahoma State $88,228,667 0.81%
Kansas State $77,633,258 0.65%

If you’ve listened to Adam Lunt on his podcast “Tape Doesn’t Lie” or my conversation with him on the Ten12 podcast, there’s a point he constantly makes when it comes to recruiting; money matters. How much you spend on recruiting tends to correlate to success on the recruiting trail.

Team Recruiting $$$ 2018 Class Ranking
Georgia $2,626,622 No. 1
Alabama $2,344,057 No. 5
Tennessee $2,002,871 No. 21
Texas $1,823,307 No. 3
Clemson $1,790,976 No. 7
Texas A&M $1,710,101 No. 17
Florida State $1,581,347 No. 11
Michigan $1,397,784 No. 22
Penn State $1,369,428 No. 6
LSU $1,287,344 No. 15

No, it’s not everything and there are outliers. Tennessee has the third highest recruiting budget, but the Volunteers also had a new coach ahead of the 2018 season and, well, suck. Yes, Michigan State spent the eighth most, but they also only had a 19-member class. Ohio State meanwhile spent $944,354 and came away with the No. 2 class in 2018.

The point is the Cowboys may not be bringing in the kinds of classes fans expect from a team that has six 10-or-more win seasons in the past nine years. But whatever the reason is, it isn’t from a lack of commitment.