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Iowa, Penn State, Lehigh, Ohio State rank as top-spending wrestling programs

How much do top NCAA college wrestling programs spend each year?
How much do top NCAA college wrestling programs spend each year?Logo courtesy of NCAA, used with permission

University of Iowa, Penn State, Lehigh, and Ohio State rank as biggest-spending college wrestling programs, according to Kaame.com which posts statistics about colleges and college sports.

In terms of dollars spent each year on college wrestling programs, the Iowa Hawkeyes are in the lead by a considerable margin, having spent $1,654,772 in 2010, the latest figures available. Penn State ranks second in overall spending on wrestling, with expenditures of $1,268,133 in 2010. Lehigh spent $1,195,913 to take third, while Ohio State’s $1,101,576 put the Buckeyes in fourth place.

Other schools in the top ten in wrestling program expenditures include Oregon State (fifth place, $1,093,822), University of Illinois (sixth place, $1,064,161), University of Wisconsin-Madison (seventh, $1,054,775), University of Michigan (eighth, $1,050,959), Oklahoma State (ninth, $1,037.815), and, in tenth place, University of Oklahoma ($995,663).

By contrast, these annual wrestling program expenditures are a drop in the bucket compared to what universities spend on football and basketball. In football, Ohio State is the biggest spender, having spent $32.3 million in 2010, followed by Auburn (second place, $28.8 million), Iowa (third, $26.9 million), and Alabama (fourth, $26.4 million). In basketball, Duke takes the top position; the Blue Devils spent $17 million in 2010, followed by Marquette (second place, $13.4 million), University of Texas-Austin (third, $12.4 million) and Michigan State (fourth, $12.6 million).

What is the correlation between amount spent on a wrestling program and team standings at the NCAAs? The final team standings at the 2014 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships had Penn State taking the team title, with University of Minnesota in second place, Oklahoma State in third, Iowa in fourth, Edinboro University placing fifth, Ohio State in sixth, Cornell University in seventh, Virginia Tech placing eighth, Northwestern in ninth, and University of Oklahoma in tenth in the overall team standings.

In comparing actual team placement vs. ranking of dollars spent, realize that there is a bit of lag time, in that spending amounts are from 2010. However, it cannot be overlooked to see that a number of college mat programs that placed high at the 2014 NCAAs were not among the top ten spenders in 2010. For example, second-place Minnesota spent $828,295… No. 5 Edinboro of Pennsylvania, $425,564… No. 7 Cornell, $506,353… and No. 9 Northwestern, $762.599.

Also interesting to see what the team titlewinners in NCAA Division II and III spent. Iowa-based Wartburg College, which won its fourth straight NCAA Division III team title in 2014, spent $190,995 on its wrestling program in 2010. The wrestling program at Norte Dame College of Cleveland, 2014 NCAA Division II team champs, spent $274,035 in 2010.

According to the Kaarme.com website, “Kaarme has college and university sports data for students, parents, and coaches looking to find college athletic programs, scholarships, and college rankings. All of Kaarme's 2010 college search, scholarship search, and college sports program data is provided free of cost and without obligation.”