Oklahoma State Ranks Last among Power Five Schools in Recruiting Spending, per USA Today

No Power Five team (with some private schools’ numbers excluded) spent less on football recruiting in 2022 than Oklahoma State.

According to USA Today, Oklahoma State spent $455,689 in recruiting in the past fiscal year. For reference, Georgia led the way in recruiting budgets at $4,506,248 — so OSU used about 10% of the budget the national champion Bulldogs had. For what it’s worth, Georgia outspent Clemson, the second-biggest spender, by $1,347,307.

Unsurprisingly, Oklahoma ($2,632,817) and Texas ($2,439,774) spent the most among Big 12 teams. Numbers from TCU and Baylor are absent given the schools’ private status. The closest Big 12 school to Oklahoma State in recruiting spending was Iowa State at … $804,942 — nearly double OSU’s number.

Iowa ($577,589) and Arizona State ($461,196) join OSU in the bottom three of recruiting spending among Power Five schools.

So what counts as recruiting spending?

“Recruiting expenses cover transportation, lodging and meals for recruits, additional personnel for official and unofficial visits, phone charges and postage for pursuing recruits and the value of schools’ vehicles and planes or those used by the school for recruiting. Compensation for coaches and recruiting support staff is not included in the recruiting expenses.

“Varying accounting systems for athletics departments and/or university can result in a lack of uniformity in how these numbers are compiled for financial reports. USA TODAY Sports Network obtained recruiting expenses for Power Five public universities for the past six years.”

[USA Today]

So without knowing the accounting methods of each Big 12 team, it’s hard to say exactly how far behind OSU is in this, but I don’t imagine it would be an overly drastic change.

USA Today includes recruiting spending from the past six years, and the six-year average looks a little better for Oklahoma State, ranking 47th of the 52 teams on USA Today’s list. OSU’s six-year average in recruiting spending is $473,500.33, which still ranks last among Big 12 schools, the closest being Kansas State at $604,447.

Excluding TCU and Baylor (so out of eight Big 12 schools), here is a look at where OSU ranked in the conference in terms of recruiting spending and in the league’s recruiting rankings (per 247Sports). In looking at this, the spending from 2022 is paired with the 2023 class, 2021 is paired with the 2022 class and so on. With the early signing period most Class of 2023 players signed in late 2022. Again, this is out of eight Big 12 schools.

Fiscal Year Spending Ranking Recruiting Ranking
2022 8 7
2021 5 3
2020 8 3
2019 8 4
2018 5 3
2017 8 3

So, this is no new thing. For years the Cowboys have done more with less in recruiting. The most OSU spent in a year during that six-year stretch was in 2018, spending $715,492.

Numbers from 2021 are quite skewed because of the pandemic. OSU ranked fifth in the conference despite spending just $228,542. OU that year spent just $183,584.

Would it be cool to see what OSU could do with a bigger budget? Absolutely. Would it make a difference considering most years the Cowboys stay competitive in Big 12 recruiting rankings despite spending less? Who knows.