Texas A&M made headlines this offseason when it lured Jimbo Fisher away from Florida State with a record $75 million contract, but the Aggies still had plenty to spend on other parts of the program.
According to a report from the Texas Tribune’s Shannon Najmabadi and Daniel Levitt, A&M spent $2.7 million on recruiting last season. Most of those expenses stemmed from travel — either for coaches or recruits — or meals. Per the report, tens of thousands of dollars were spent on chartered buses, SUVs or Lincoln sedans.
But unlike some of the smaller public schools in the report, A&M’s football programs makes a hefty profit and is able to redistribute some of those funds to other areas of the university.
“Texas A&M Athletics is a fully committed partner in the overall mission of the University. Last year alone, Athletics provided significant assistance to a program to upgrade and remodel lecture halls and classrooms on the main campus,” senior associate athletic director Douglas Walker said in a statement to the Tribune.
The closest in-state school to A&M’s recruiting budget was Texas, who forked over $2.3 million in their efforts to sign the next class of Longhorns.
Just over a decade ago, spending wasn’t this rampant. Per the report, the Aggies spent less than $1 million in 2008 while UT expensed roughly $1.3 million. A&M’s rate of growth (184 percent) is second only to UTSA (223 percent), whose football program launched in 2011.
Six other public universities in Texas — Houston, North Texas, UTSA, UTEP, Texas Tech and Texas State — haven’t had as much financial success. Those athletics programs lost a combined $116 million in 2016-17, per the report. Meanwhile, student fees at those universities have nearly doubled over the last 10 years to help compensate for the deficit.
As long as the Aggies and Longhorns remain profitable, recruiting budgets will only continue to rise — coaching salaries, too.