Tigers have highest paid staff in nation
Auburn could even enter the 2006 season with a top five national ranking.
Some would say such expectations are only fair, when you consider Auburn's financial investment in Tommy Tuberville's staff.
According to university athletic budget reports for the 2004-05 season required by the NCAA, and obtained by the Indianapolis Star, Auburn has the highest paid football coaching staff in the nation with a total budget of $4,938,831.
The Tigers barely topped perennial leader University of Texas, which paid Mack Brown and his staff $4,887,932.
Rounding out the top five nationally were Tennessee, Texas A&M and LSU.
The University of Alabama ranked 21st on the list, with Mike Shula and his staff earning a combined $2,850,319.
Of the top 25 highest paid football coaching staffs among public schools - private schools such as Southern California and Notre Dame are not required to make their reports public - the Southeastern Conference had six. After No. 1 Auburn came Tennessee (3), LSU (5), Georgia (9), Florida (11), and Alabama (21).
UAB was ranked 63rd, with a total staff salary of $1,373,188, which ranked fifth out of seven C-USA teams reporting.
When it comes to bringing money in, Alabama was fourth nationally in football in expense-to-revenue difference at plus $28,803,845, trailing Texas (over $39 million), Georgia and Michigan.
Auburn ranked ninth nationally last year, showing a football profit of $24,184,850. The Blazers' football program even came in with a profit of $532,905, ranking 53rd out of 164 reporting schools.
In overall athletic department budgets, Georgia led the nation in expense-to-revenue ratio, coming in at $23 million ahead. Alabama ranked ninth at $5.2 million, and Auburn showed up 72nd on the list, ahead of overall expenses by $121,815.
UAB showed an overall loss of $88,630, ranking 123rd out of 164.
The biggest loser was Arkansas-Little Rock, at minus $8,698,807.
The numbers are a fascinating insight into the big business of college sports and what it takes to be competitive.
Auburn Athletics Director Jay Jacobs says Auburn fans ``expect the best, so we hire the best, and we pay the best."
Of course, the cost of paying the best keeps going up.
To that end, Jacobs recently signed a new apparel contract with Under Armour, and last week announced a new media rights agreement which will pay the athletic department $5.7 million annually, a jump from the current $2.4 million
Auburn also announced a significant increase in student tuition fees earmarked for the athletics department, from $36 a year to as much as $192, although Jacobs said for in-state students the fee would be closer to $100.
That increase is expected to pump another $3 million into the Auburn athletic department. According to NCAA figures, Auburn reported receiving $982,349 in student fees in 2004-05, which ranked sixth in the SEC, well behind Mississippi State's SEC-leading $3,089,375 and Alabama's $2,550,605. James Madison led the way with $17,818,323 in student fees.
The equation is really pretty simple. Auburn fans are simply hoping they get what they've paid for.