How to Win at APR, in a Few (Not-So) Easy Steps

1) Reallocate money spent on recruiting into other areas that more directly benefit current athletes. 2) Bring on the highest-quality head coach you can find, and don’t be afraid to pay him well.

Those are two takeaways from a forthcoming report in The Winthrop Digest, which looked at spending patterns in major-college men’s basketball programs and how they impact teams’ Academic Progress Rates, among other things. Here are a few highlights of the analysis:

* For every additional $10,000 spent on men’s basketball programs, there was a corresponding 0.50 increase in a team’s APR. (Translation: Big-time basketball programs that spend more money overall have higher APR scores.)

* The more money FBS hoops programs spend on games and facilities (and specifically, game guarantees), the more likely their APR will take a hit. A 1-percent increase in a team’s budget toward game and facilities expenditures translated to a decrease in corresponding APR score by 3.5 points.

* Spending more on recruiting can also negatively affect a team’s APR, with a 1-percent shift in total expenditures decreasing a team’s APR by 5.53 points.

* Positive increases in APR were connected to the compensation paid to the current coach, Winthrop found. For every 1-percent increase in total expenditures to head coaches’ pay, there was an increase in APR score of 0.76. (A previous Winthrop analysis found that higher pay for head football coaches in the Football Bowl Subdivision did not lead to higher APR scores, although football assistant coaches played a significant role in APR development.)

* Finally, spending directly on athletes in terms of uniforms, supplies, and equipment has a positive effect on APR score. For every additional $10,000 spent on those items, there is a predictive gain of 2.8 points in the team’s academic progress rate.

The Winthrop Digest is a quarterly publication of Winthrop Intelligence, a Durham, N.C.-based company that helps inform athletic departments financial decisions. Future research by the company will look at spending patterns and outcomes in other sports.

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