Aggies Seeing a Bad Return on Investment on the Field

Sep 8, 2012; College Station, TX, USA; Texas A&M Aggies defensive lineman Spencer Nealy (99) complains to a referee against the Florida Gators in the second quarter at Kyle Field. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-US PRESSWIRE

The opening weekend of what was poised to be a historic event in Aggieland has come and gone, and left many a bottle of whiskey laying empty on the floor. The Aggies have officially launched their 100-year campaign as a member of the Southeastern Conference with a 0-1 record following a 17-20 loss to the Florida Gators on Saturday. Sports writer and sports radio personality Chadd Scott was on hand to take in the historic day, and his comments after the game are a swift kick to the nuts for the Aggies.

The tailgating scene was electric, the stadium was packed, and 12th Man was rocking to start the game. By the time the final whistle blew, the Aggies were stuck in the all-too-familiar cycle of blown leads, and the national reporters that were on hand to witness history were left scratching their heads. Many have commented on the potential they saw from the Aggies. Others have commented on the cloud of disappointment that seems to be lingering over College Station. This was Chadd Scotts second adventure to Texas A&M on a gameday, and the Aggie faithful reassured his love for the Aggie fan base. Like many others, Chadd mentioned how great of a fan base the Aggies are. That's great and all, but that doesn't exactly put a win up on the scoreboard. In his article he posted after the game, Chadd says, "No fan base in American draws a smaller return on its financial and emotional investment than Aggie fans and the loss to Florida was only one more example in a seemingly never-ending list of Aggie flops." As I'm sure most Aggies were, I was ready to start blasting Chadd on Twitter for this comment. Thankfully, the alcohol induced haze had worn off from Saturday, and his comment hit home like a Dear John letter in the heat of war. After I cleared the vomit out of my throat from the thought of his statement, I had to do some research to prove him wrong. So guess what, Chadd! I did the research! And damn......he's right.

Much like anything else you read on the interwebs, you should take this with a grain of salt because it's far from an empirical study. I simply took the recent athletic spending report from USA Today that detailed revenues and expenses from 2006-2011. Next, we took a look at the previous 10 years of the AP Poll to determine how many times a team finished the season ranked in the Top 25. We are only focusing on 30 schools that spend the most on college athletics. The results, well the results suck.

First, let's throw out the four schools that are in the top 30 for spending but are what everyone would consider a "basketball school". That eliminates Kentucky (15th in spending), North Carolina (24th in spending), Indiana (28th in spending), and Washington (29th in spending). Those four teams have no Top 25 finishes in the AP in the last 10 years. That brings us to the teams that have a whopping 1 AP Top 25 finish in the past 10 years. On this list we have Minnesota, Texas A&M, Illinois, and Kansas. I'll give you a couple of seconds to let that sink in....

School Conference Expenses Yrs Ranked Spending per Yr Ranked
Minnesota Big Ten $78,924,683 1 $78,924,683
Texas A&M SEC $78,310,805 1 $78,310,805
Illinois Big Ten $73,476,818 1 $73,476,818
Kansas Big 12 $71,992,158 1 $71,992,158

Yes, you're seeing that correctly. With all of the resources and the recruiting hotbeds that surround Texas A&M, they rank right next to the football powerhouses of Minnesota, Illinois, and Kansas (also basketball schools). For comparison, we took a look at the teams on the other end of the equation that seem to have things figured out. Here are the top five:

School Conference Expenses Yrs Ranked Spending per Yr Ranked
Georgia SEC $80,759,498 8 $10,094,937
Oklahoma Big 12 $94,363,928 9 $10,484,880
LSU SEC $91,795,925 8 $11,474,615
Florida State ACC $86,949,804 7 $12,421,400
Oregon PAC 12 $76,274,142 6 $12,712,357

That is an overwhelming difference between the teams at the top and bottom of the list, and a disheartening look at where the Aggies stand. I'm well aware of the fact that A&M does a tremendous job supporting the other teams on campus, but let's be honest with each other when we are talking about what is bringing the money in. Outside of the NFL, College Football is king and will continue to be king for the foreseeable future. So, what went wrong? Where did A&M come across such a major disconnect in the money being spent compared to the success on the field? Leave your comments below and let us know your thoughts.

NOTE: Big thanks to Taylor Andrus on this. Give him a follow.

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