The university system of the State of California is a little different than many across the nation, so it's really hard to compare programs like UCLA to those of, say, Michigan or Alabama or Florida or Texas.
But UCLA has a few oddities in their athletic budget that provide massive opportunities of investment, particularly in the languishing football program.
UCLA is one of those programs that curiously posts revenues exactly matching expenses, in this case $61.9 million for 2009-10.
While that seems like quite a lot of money to spend, and enough to satisfy most programs, it's interesting to note that direct institutional support accounts for just $60,000. No, that's not a typo. It's sixty thousand dollars.
So, okay. Maybe it's the unique system California has. Maybe the state government takes care of that directly.
Well, we checked that, and “direct state or other government support” is also listed at zero.
If you go line by line down UCLA's athletic revenue list, you'll see that it all comes from ticket sales, student fees, donations, NCAA/Pac-12 profit sharing; TV and radio contracts sponsorships, advertising and retail sales.
Considering the sources, $62 million is quite a haul, and UCLA should be impressed.
The problem is, that lump of cash hasn't translated into success on the football field.
UCLA made one important step with the hiring of Jim Mora as the new head coach, and Mora's contract, worth about $2.4 million per season.
But UCLA's long term success, if any, will need to be built upon a larger commitment from the institution—certainly more than 60 grand's worth—when positive things happen.
It's entirely possible Mora could finally find success for the Bruins. But will the Bruins pay to keep him in a town currently dominated by USC?
And what about UCLA's aging facilities?
The Rose Bowl is a perfectly wonderful place to play on Saturdays, but the fact remains that it's not part of UCLA. While it's far beter than the US-adjacent LA Coliseum, an on-campus venue would be a much better choice.
The last time UCLA attempted to build a football stadium on campus, politics got in the way. Nearly 30 years later, perhaps it's time to try again.