When looking at the data for the ACC, the top three schools for greatest percentage of change from 2005-2011 in athletic spending per athlete may be a bit surprising. Those three schools are UNC at Chapel Hill (56%), Virginia Tech (44%) and Clemson (42%). Of those three programs, the least surprising for most fans would be Clemson, as the Tigers’ football team is touted as one of the more successful programs within the conference.
For the Tigers, there is some correlation between level of success and the spending the team saw the following year. In 2006, Clemson went 8-5, and saw only a slight increase in spending the following year, football spending per football player increasing by a mere 3% (Clemson was 9-3 in 2007). the Tigers increased their spending per player by 10% going into 2008, but produced a lackluster 7-6 2008 season and lost to Nebraska in the Gator Bowl, 26-21. In the hopes of improving the program the following year Clemson increased spending by a whopping 23% in just one year and followed up with a 9-5 2009 season. But Clemson learned that funding is important the following year. To possibly curb the spending increase from 2008-2009, the program decreased spending going into 2010 by 7% and saw its first losing season in several years, going 6-7. The slightest of increases the following year (1%) brought the Tigers a 10-4 2011 season.