Why we are bad and the choice to be better that needs to be made

Folks, it is time we took a sober-eyed look at our football program… particularly what we invest in it. To give you a base of comparison, in the fiscal year 2015-2016, Auburn’s football budget was $41.9M, which was $14.3M MORE than the University of Arkansas’ ($27.6M). That is $14M more that is spent directly on the football program… things like assistant coaching salaries, staff and other things. In an extremely competitive league (arguably the most competitive in the country), it should not be surprising that a team that invests 50% more in its football program will tend to beat the one that doesn’t. And before you think “yeah, we are a poor state and can’t afford to spend the big bucks like that”, well actually we can. Our football program makes a profit of $40M per year. All we have to do is decide that we want to be good, and put our money where our mouths are. If we decided that we want our football program to break even, we would instantly be at the top of the league. Heck, even if we chose to re-invest half of our profits back into the program we’d be second only to Alabama and our football program would still be more profitable than MSU, KY and Mizzou. I understand that money isn’t everything. But you think we can spend 50% less and still deserve to be competitive with teams like Auburn why? Because we are smarter, work harder, or somehow more special? Let me tell you every SEC fan base thinks the same way about their teams-- and the ones that tend to win more games re-invest more in their programs. Imagine what kind of coaching staff you could attract with an increased budget of $20M? Or $10M… or even $5M!

The fact is that we at Arkansas choose to invest at a level that puts us in the lower tier of the league. We take those profits the football program generates and put them into other sports, as well as the overall University. That is all good. But my point is you can’t have it both ways. As long as we choose to invest at a rank of 7th or 8th in the league those are the results we should expect on average. Until this year’s unfolding debacle, CBB has been performing at about that level with the trend in a generally positive direction. In the long run, that’s the real metric that will determine the temperature of CBB’s seat: performing at or above the rate at which we choose to invest. In my humble opinion, if the collective powers that be decide we want to be better, we need to commit to investing in coaching salaries-- particularly assistant coaching salaries-- then go get the best. No sane coach will come here with their budget ranked 8th coupled with unrealistic expectations way above that. Better coaches will be able to attract better recruits and be better at developing those players into a better team.

I have said for years that if Arkansas is to truly attempt to have a nationally strong program, that is must spend more - top assistant salaries, highest paid recruiting coordinators etc and compensate to demonstrate we are serious about being a big.

We know it’s not all money but very few businesses can spend in lower half of their competitive industry and achieve top results.

And we perhaps have more to overcome as we don’t sit in large recruiting bases etc.

If we truly want to be at the top, we have to seriously evaluate a business plan to get us there in my opinion.

Hoping to spend just enough to compete has not worked out very well 20 of our some 25 or so years in SEC now.