Contrary to popular belief, team pride and loyalty does have a price.
In the past decade, Oregon has continued to secured some of the nation’s top recruits and coaching staff. Not because the Oregon Ducks are known as a historically significant program and have a legacy of die-hard fans. In fact, most football based arguments from Oregon fans usually start around the year 1994.
The football program has risen to prominence because Oregon’s institutional monetary focus on its football program is nearly unmatched in its division.
The Oregon Ducks record is currently at 8-1. The program is coming off four straight BCS appearances, including wins in the latter two, and fans have had the pleasure of watching players like LaMichael James, De’Anthony Thomas and Heisman contender and quarterback Marcus Mariota.
However, before the turn of the century, the Ducks were less than stellar. The team garnered a string of awful seasons throughout the ’70s and ’80s.
Many players, games, coaches, fans and boosters have played a prominent role in Oregon’s recent rise to the top, and it’s all in response to the increased institutional funding of the program and resources.
Since 2005, Oregon has seen a 175 percent increase in football spending per football player while the Pacific-12 Conference has seen only a 43 percent increase in football spending per football player. The percentages account for all total football operating expenses including the cost of scholarships per football player and includes scholarship and non-scholarship player costs. The advantage of high spending and incentives for players has enabled the Ducks to attract top recruits.
Oregon has secured some of the best coaches in the Pac-12. Not because of a outstanding football legacy but because of outstanding salary offers. The total compensation reported for all Oregon football coaches, including salaries, benefits and bonuses paid by the university, and contractually-guaranteed amounts paid by third parties, calculated on a per football player (scholarship and non-scholarship) basis has increased 348 percent more than the conference’s overall percentage. Oregon’s replacement of Rich Brooks with Mike Bellotti and bringing Chip Kelly to serve as offensive coordinator in 2007 undoubtedly were key to the success of the football program.