Tom Dienhart, Senior Writer, April 30, 2014

Recruiting is the lifeblood of a good football program. Ask any coach. The team with the best players typically wins the game. Well, when it comes to an investment in talent procurement, the Big Ten is upping its ante.

According to a story in the Cedar Rapids Gazette, Big Ten public schools have increased their football recruiting expenses by 57 percent in a two-year period. The Big Ten's current 11 public schools combined to spend nearly $6.47 million in football recruiting in fiscal year 2013. That?s up from $4.1 million in 2011.

Big Ten Recruiting Costs
School 2011 2012 2013
Illinois 545,363 614,529 791,972
Indiana 270,134 393,764 402,262
Iowa 307,226 403,305 477,455
Michigan 577,633 493,464 664,492
Michigan State 383,448 421,944 627,592
Minnesota 348,609 543,994 648,755
Nebraska 478,554 752,681 818,509
Northwestern NA NA NA
Ohio State 320,938 344,987 564,152
Penn State 258,800 443,022 736,739
Purdue 428,805 404,385 480,168
Wisconsin 204,181 212,045 256,967

Northwestern, a private school, does not have to release these figures.

The hope is that an investment in recruiting will pay off in the Big Ten winning a national championship, which hasn't happened since Ohio State won the crown in 2002. Since then, the Big Ten is 30-52 in bowls and 8-13 in BCS games.

The Gazette story by Scott Dochterman also points out that Big Ten football programs have opened up their coffers to hire non-coaching positions to assist in acquiring talent.

Thirteen of the Big Ten?s 14 programs have a director of player personnel. Alas, every SEC football program has at least two non-coaching employees that works in recruiting. Still, the Big Ten is making a heavy investment in recruiting. It can't afford not to.

Spending big bucks doesn't guarantee success. But not spending will guarantee failure.

About Tom Dienhart senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men's basketball for and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, read all of his work at, and subscribe to his posts via RSS. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below and read all of his previous answers in his reader mailbag section.

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