Success carrying big price for Nevada
RENO, Nev. — Nevada's recent success in athletics is coming at a price.
The Western Athletic Conference member's athletic scholarship and recruiting expenses have soared over the last eight years, a newspaper reported yesterday.
Between 1997 and 2005, a Reno Gazette-Journal investigation found, the annual amount spent on scholarships has increased from $2.4 million to $3.7 million for a nearly 60 percent increase.
Annual recruiting costs rose from $150,000 to $270,000 for an 84 percent increase.
In all, Nevada spent nearly $24 million on scholarships and $1.9 million on recruiting over the period.
"Recruiting is absolutely critical to our success," Nevada athletic director Cary Groth said. "We need to be able to recruit quality student athletes."
The newspaper's report comes after the Nevada men's basketball team advanced to the NCAA Tournament for a third straight year and its football team won the Hawai'i Bowl.
The increases were attributed to several factors, including an 80 percent increase in men's basketball and football recruiting budgets since 1997.
Nevada's basketball recruiting expenditures last year were the second-highest in the WAC, second only to the University of Hawai'i and just a little more than Fresno State, the paper reported on its Web site.
Nevada's $289,400 in recruiting expenses last year ranked fourth in the WAC.
Nevada led the WAC last year by doling out $4 million in "total athletic student aid," according to the newspaper.
The importance of recruiting to the athletic program's bottom line cannot be underestimated, Groth said.
"The players we bring in here, the coaches we have here, the way we play ... are critical to generating revenue," she said.