With the recent demise of Boise State's wrestling program and discussions about budgets, we took a dive into the cost of operating a NCAA Division I wrestling program during 2015-2016.
For the sixty nine teams in the database, average total expenses were roughly $886,000. University of Iowa has the most expensive program and spent more than twice that of the 20th most expensive program at University of Virginia.
Not surprisingly, these same programs did well at the NCAA Championships that year, capturing 57 (71%) of the All-American awards. Four of the twenty most expensive programs didn't not have an All-American in 2016.
From this data, it's easy to calculate a cost per All-American. On average, the top 20 most expensive programs invested about $500,000 to generate an All-American during the 2015-16 season.
As it turns out, many of the most expensive programs are also pretty efficient at making All-Americans. Virginia Tech, tenth in total expenses, was the most efficient at $229,351 per All-American in 2015-16.
What doe all these numbers mean? Wrestling is under siege -- witness Boise's demise -- and budget is part of the discussion. Knowing your "numbers" and improving spending efficiency might be important in battles that are sure to come.