Pete Thamel's story in the New York Times yesterday about spending for success in Big East basketball made me interested to see if there was a similar trend in the ACC. The answer for our conference wasn't quite as definite as the Big East's.
Because the numbers used from the Department of Education is for the 08-09 athletics year, we have to look at last year's basketball standings. Sure enough, the two biggest spenders finished one-two in the standings: Duke and North Carolina. But the next biggest basketball spenders, Virginia and Boston College, finished 11th and 6th, respectively.
Wake Forest and Florida State, who finished 3rd and 4th in the 08-09 standings, had two of the smaller budgets in the league. Wake had the 3rd-smallest budget and FSU the 4th-smallest. The Deacs and Noles used their money more efficiently than the league's other schools.
Using conference wins, we can see which schools got more bang for their buck in both basketball and football. I channeled my inner Bird and made a couple of charts outlining how much each school spent per conference win in the 2008-09 basketball season and the 2008 football season. I used the previous seasons because that's where the financial data came from and I used conference wins because as we learned this year, not all non-conference records are created equal.
To give credit for winning conference titles, I included wins in the ACC Tournament and ACCCG in the win totals.
A few things need to be mentioned. First, this is far from an exact science, but it's still kinda cool. Second, the numbers for this past football season will give a much better idea of which teams are spending efficiently on the oblong. Unfortunately, the expense reports won't be available from the Department of Education until this summer. Since 2008 was such a weird and groovy time to be playing football in the ACC, these numbers are a little skewed. It was the fall of love, baby, everybody got a share of their division title. Third, if you think the expense reports from these football teams are outrageous, God's Conference laughs in your general direction.