How Much do D1 Colleges Spend on Softball Programs?

(This post has been updated with data available December of 2017.)
Since I did a post on the average operating expenses for D1 baseball teams, I thought some might appreciate a similar one for softball. The table below shows the average college softball expenses from 20011 to 2015 for D1 softball programs.

As with the baseball data, there are a few things to keep in mind when looking at the data on college softball expenses. Probably the most important is that there is a good chance that it contains errors! If something looks “off” it could just be a data entry error. It’s been known to happen.

What You Need to Know About the Data

Then there’s the little warning posted by the Office of Postsecondary Education (OPE) that states “Please note that valid comparisons of athletics data are possible only with study and analysis of the conditions affecting each institution. ” In other words, you might not be comparing apples to apples.

Expenses are defined as follows:

All expenses attributable to intercollegiate athletic activities. This includes appearance guarantees and options, athletically related student aid, contract services, equipment, fundraising activities, operating expenses, promotional activities, recruiting expenses, salaries and benefits, supplies, travel, and any other expenses attributable to intercollegiate athletic activities. (OPE)

What they’re trying to say is that some schools travel more because of distance, some because of playoffs but it’s all included under expenses. “Athletically related student aid” at private schools will be more than that at public schools because public schools are cheaper. See some of the issues?

I used five years of data on college softball expenses to try to minimize the effect of any out of the ordinary expenses that show up just for one year. But still, user beware.

Who Spends the Most?

The average college softball expenses by school ranged from a low of $185,329 to $2,555,770. Six schools, OU, Arizona, Arkansas, Tennessee, Florida, and Wisconsin, averaged over $2 million. Another 23 schools averaged over $1.5 million.

The conference with the highest average college softball expenses was the SEC at over $1.7 million followed by the PAC 12, Big 12, Big 10, and ACC that all average over one million dollars.  The three D1 conferences with the lowest averages were the Southwestern Athletic Conferences, Ivy Group, and the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. Approximately half of the conferences had college softball expenses that averaged over 7600,000 while the other half averaged between $350,000 to under $700,000.

The table shows two numbers-Operating Expenses and All Expenses. Operating expenses covers only “Game Day” expenses. These are expenses

attributable to home, away, and neutral-site intercollegiate athletic contests (commonly known as game-day expenses), for (A) Lodging, meals, transportation, uniforms, and equipment for coaches, team members, support staff (including, but not limited to team managers and trainers), and others; and (B) Officials.

Again, the following data from the Office of Postsecondary Education (OPE) will have the issues I mentioned earlier. Or as OPE states in its cautionary note “Please note that valid comparisons of athletics data are possible only with study and analysis of the conditions affecting each institution.”

Average D1 College Softball Expenses for 2011-2015

(Latest Data Available Here)

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