The Baylor Bears are dominating in football and men and women's basketball. The price of instant greatness? Just $60 million a year.
Baylor University, long the runt of the Big 12 college sports division, is in the midst of an athletic renaissance. In 2011, the face of its success was Heisman trophy-winning quarterback Robert Griffin III, who led the Bears to a top 25 finish and a thrilling win in the Alamo Bowl. But as The New York Times writes today, the NFL-bound star is just one piece of the mounting evidence that Baylor has, to the shock of many, transformed itself into one of the country's elite college athletics programs. At least ten of its teams were nationally ranked between November and mid-January. Its women's basketball team is tops in the country, and its men's squad is a respectable number nine.
Winning hasn't come cheap, though. The Times notes that in the dog-house days of 1995, the school's entire athletic budget was a paltry $7.5 million, or roughly $11.1 million in current dollars. Today, that would hardly cover its coaching salaries. The school spends roughly $60 million on athletics, as illustrated in the chart below from the U.S. Department of Education, which tracks spending at university athletic programs. Its football team alone costs more than $14 million to operate.