Over at The Stadium, they recently released a report detailing the recruiting expenses that the University of Kentucky has invested into its men’s basketball program. Spoiler alert: it’s a lot of money.
The report posted by Andy Wittry, which details expenses charged by the coaching staff from Sept. 1, 2016 – Jan. 30, 2019, goes through every recruitment visit that head coach John Calipari and his assistants have traveled for. So how much does the most historic program in all of college basketball spend on consistently bringing in the top-ranked freshmen year in and year out? The total just for flying tops over $1 million.
From Sept. 2016 – Jan. 2019, the University spent over $1.2 million on private flights visiting recruits such as Zion Williamson, Mo Bamba, Kevin Knox, Nick Richards, and hundreds of others. In total, the report claims that Kentucky spent close to $1.5 million over the same time span on recruiting expenses – $90,000 on commercial flights, $33,000 on rental cars, and nearly $5,000 to park at Blue Grass Airport.
The article also lists plenty of other interesting tidbits on what these visits have resulted in. Such as how four members of the staff racked up 232 flights just in 2018. Or how Joel Justus spent time watching prospects in Argentina and Chile. Or how Billy Gillispie’s recruiting budget in 2009 was $289,000 compared to Calipari’s 2016-19 annual budget of over $605,000.
All that money sure has paid off though. Kentucky currently boasts the second-best recruiting class in 2019 and has finished second in all of the previous three seasons along with number one the year prior to that. As long as the team keeps winning, the budget will only increase.