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Report: Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Texas Spent Most on Recruiting in 2018

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorAugust 20, 2019

In this Sept. 5, 2015, photo, Georgia fans watch the season opening game against Louisiana Monroe at Sanford Stadium during an NCAA college football game in Athens, Ga. Some University of Georgia fans will be able to buy beer during football games - but only donors who have agreed to give tens of thousands of dollars will be allowed to drink. UGA Athletic Director Greg McGarity told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Wednesday, May 29, 2019, that beer and wine will be sold in Sanford Stadium’s premium seating area during the 2019 football season.  (AP Photo/John Amis)
John Amis/Associated Press

Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee each spent over $2 million recruiting football players during the 2017-18 fiscal year, according to Gentry Estes of the Louisville Courier Journal

Per Estes, figures from 52 Power Five public universities were "reported to the NCAA and obtained by the Courier Journal and USA Today Network in partnership with Syracuse University's S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications."

Georgia led the way at $2,626,622, or a 351.7 percent increase over a five-year period. Alabama was second with $2,344,057, followed by Tennessee ($2,002,871) and Texas ($1,823,307).

Per Estes, "from fiscal years 2016 through 2018, Georgia's football recruiting expenditures totaled just over $1.5 million more than any other of the nation's 52 public Power Five universities."

Furthermore, Georgia's five-year percentage increase is larger than any of the universities listed, just ahead of Texas A&M at 326.3 percent.

The SEC is king when it comes to spending. Per Estes, the public schools in the conference "averaged more than $1.3 million in football recruiting costs, compared with public schools in the Big 12 ($961,981), ACC ($938,424), Big 10 ($855,437) and Pac-12 ($708,750)."

The conference is the most competitive on the Power Five landscape, with an SEC school representing the league at least once since 2006 with only one exception (2014). Alabama has won five titles in that span, with Georgia reaching the College Football Playoff championship game once.

The competitive landscape isn't lost on UGA athletic director Vince Dooley and head football coach Kirby Smart.

"When you’re in the SEC, you’d better be able to compete at the highest level," Smart told Estes. "That’s across the line of scrimmage. That’s in the administration buildings. That’s in what you can do for student-athletes, and we’ve been able to do that."

"I'm not surprised that Georgia and Alabama are right up at the top at spending the most," Dooley told Estes. "To be able to compete at that highest level, the way that you do it is to recruit at the highest level, and the way you do that is that you spend a lot of money going wherever you need to go. No limit."

In total, the 52 schools collectively spent over $50 million, well up from $35 million two years prior.

Wisconsin has spent the list among the 52-team group with $350,695 spent on recruiting. Only six schools spent less from 2013 to 2018, with Auburn's group-pacing decrease of 21.8 percent tops.