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Penn State Football Nearly Triples Recruiting Expenses From Paterno Era

by and on May 01, 2014 1:45 PM

By all accounts, Penn State is “dominating the state” in recruiting so far in the still-fresh James Franklin era.

But that catchphrase doesn’t come cheap.

According to numbers reported Wednesday by Yahoo Sports, Penn State nearly tripled its recruiting expenses — from $258,800 in 2011 to $736,739 in 2013 — good for third highest in the Big Ten.

The report notes that many Big Ten programs have seen an increase in “non-coaching positions” recently to help out with the recruiting process. Expenses include (mostly) travel, salaries for recruiting-only staff members, and mailing/contact with players, among other things.

Joe Paterno was once a tenacious recruiter. ”Joe didn’t recruit us – he recruited our moms,” former wide receiver Jimmy Cefalo famously said — but recruiting appearances became rare at the end of his career.

When Paterno visited Terrelle Pryor in 2008, it was the first time in years he had made a home visit to a high school prospect, and it would end up being his last, despite coaching for nearly four more seasons. Players chose Penn State largely to play for a legend and to enjoy all the other perks of being a Penn State student, not because of an aggressive recruiting pitch from the head coach.

Bill O’Brien made sure those days ended — recruiting expenses increased to $443,022 in his first year — and all signs point to Franklin continuing that upward trajectory.

Penn State is following a conference-wide trend, which has seen recruiting expenses increase 57 percent in a two-year period.

Here are the statistics for the entire conference. You’ll notice Illinois is second in the conference (flights through State College airport don’t run cheap):

Illinois: $545,363 (2011), $614,529 (2012), $791,972 (2013)

Indiana: $270,134 (2011), $393,764 (2012), $402,262 (2013)

Iowa: $307,226 (2011), $403,305 (2012), $477,455 (2013)

Michigan: $577,633 (2011), $493,464 (2012), $664,492 (2013)

Michigan State: $383,448 (2011), $421,944 (2012), $627,592 (2013)

Minnesota: $348,609 (2011), $543,994 (2012), $648,755 (2013)

Nebraska: $478,554 (2011), $752,681 (2012), $818,509 (2013)

Ohio State: $320,938 (2011), $344,987 (2012), $564,152 (2013)

Penn State: $258,800 (2011), $443,022 (2012), $736,739 (2013)

Purdue: $428,805 (2011), $404,385 (2012), $480,168 (2013)

Wisconsin: $204,181 (2011), $212,045 (2012), $256,967 (2013)

TOTALS: $4,123,691 (2011), $5,028,120 (2012), $6,469,063 (2013)

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This post was originally published by the staff at Onward State. Follow Onward State on Twitter @OnwardState


Kevin Horne is the Managing Editor of Onward State and frequent contributor to StateCollege.com. He is also a Penn State senior, majoring in journalism and political science.
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