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A look at NC State’s recruiting spending for football and men’s basketball

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TaxSlayer Gator Bowl - North Carolina State v Texas A&M Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Among the most important tasks for any given athletics director is allocating money for recruiting in the revenue sports. And as with anything else in college sports, the higher your department’s revenue, the easier this task tends to be.

NC State, of course, does not have the financial luxuries of many big-name schools, but with a department-wide budget well over $85 million, State ain’t exactly crying poor, either.

Stadium’s Andry Wittry looked recently at recruiting spending for men’s basketball and football at 50+ FBS schools, NC State included. While I would caution against any direct comparisons between spending and recruiting results, it’s interesting to see where State stacks up.

What’s immediately evident is that NC State definitely spends like a basketball school. In the 2018 fiscal year, NCSU spent nearly $434,000 on basketball recruiting, which ranks 11th among the schools examined. (UNC, meanwhile, spent a relative pittance that year: $159,501. I don’t know how to explain that one.)

On the football side, NC State spent $548,062 on recruiting, which ranks only 38th. The gaps in football are much, much wider too—as you might expect given the huge emphasis on football in the SEC, not to mention the sheer number of scholarship players involved. Georgia tops the list in football spending and spent five times what NC State did.

On the basketball side, Indiana is No. 1 but the gap between the Hoosiers and Wolfpack is a few hundred thousand bucks.

It is interesting that NC State’s football spending, on a per-player basis, is dramatically lower than it is in basketball. This implies that basketball is the top priority in Raleigh, though I would also venture that, in general, basketball recruiting is more expensive on a per-athlete basis.

Looking at just one year in isolation probably can be misleading as well. (See: UNC basketball spending.) I figure there is a good amount of year-to-year fluctuation in recruiting spending, because recruiting territory can be fluid. For instance, maybe one year’s in-state crop of football prospects is exceptional, and a school draws more heavily from its backyard, whereas in other years it ventures more into other states to build a class.

But these numbers from 2018 are good for a rough estimation for where NC State stands among its peers.