It’s the question that is all the rage in college football these days: How big is your program’s support staff?
And the followup debate that almost always ensues brings about a question that is perhaps of more importance: How many support staff members is too many? After all, not everyone can keep up with the Notre Dames and Alabamas of the world when it comes to allocating resources to the salary of off-the-field staff members.
While we might not have a definitive answer to that question, we’re at least having the discussion.
On Monday, CBS Sports’ Dennis Dodd unveiled interesting numbers from a study completed by the NCAA regarding the number of support staff members all FBS football programs carried during the 2016 football season.
And what if we told you that Nick Saban, who is often the villain in this argument based on his expansive staff size, doesn’t even have the biggest support staff in the SEC? That distinction belongs to Georgia, according to the report, by a convincing total of 42 staff members to 31. Of course, it’s worth noting that Georgia coach Kirby Smart was a longtime Saban assistant at Alabama, so he likely comes by his need for staffers honestly.
Notre Dame is reported to have the most staff members in the FBS at 45, but if you break it down to just support staff members Georgia is tops in the nation at 23.
Before you review these numbers and declare Georgia the king of college football support staff, keep this important factor in mind: Dodd reports that the NCAA says its “methodology to measure the staff sizes of 127 FBS schools in 2016 came from mere website research.”
Dodd wrote that though the numbers in the NCAA’s report indicate otherwise, it’s still widely accepted that Alabama has the largest support staff in the country. And it’s believed that there’s a large pocket of Alabama staffers that might not be included in this research.
In other words, the numbers are more than likely inaccurate in some capacity. With that being said, here’s a look at the SEC data presented in the report.
If the numbers in this report are to be believed, Tennessee was operated with a staff 2.5 times smaller than Georgia when the Vols won at Sanford Stadium with a dramatic Hail Mary last fall.
Georgia’s numbers aren’t the only interesting thing to come out of this report. We also found out that, on average, the Big Ten has more support staff members than the SEC. The margin is super thin, with the report showing the Big Ten at 31.6 staff members while the SEC averaged 31.5.