Like most things in life, conference realignment was centered on one thing: money - cash, dough, coin, moolah, big bucks - whatever you want to call it. Dollars were the driving force behind the reshuffling of the college football map over the past couple years, and the best part about that is our beloved Pitt Panthers are about to come into a whole lot more of them.
As a member of the ACC, Pitt it set to receive about $17 million (and potentially more) annually in TV revenue, almost three times as much as they would be getting in the Big East. That's a pretty serious influx of cash for the athletic department. So, with the Pete now bursting at the seams with hundreds, how will this increased revenue affect the Panthers? It's hard to say for sure, but here are three areas where some of it will likely flow:
1. Non-revenue sports
The non-revenue sports (basically everything other than football and basketball) may very well be the biggest beneficiary of the boost in revenue. With more money to go around, Pitt can divert more resources for scholarships, recruiting, and coaching towards these sports which are usually last in the pecking order. Baseball, for example:
Baseball at Pitt is one of the non-revenue sports that currently operates below its NCAA scholarship limit. The NCAA allows 11.7 scholarships for baseball programs. Pitt, one of only three programs in the Big East that is not fully funded, currently fills 9.3 scholarships per year.
Those 2.4 scholarships might not sound like much, but Mr. Jordano said it can mean the difference between fielding a competitive team and a championship-caliber team.
Facilities upgrades are almost surely another area where some of the new ACC money will end up. With the construction of the Petersen Sports Complex in 2011, Pitt was finally able to offer on-campus homes for baseball, soccer, and softball - something which was crucial for ACC acceptance. That complex, along with Heinz Field, the Pete, and the Fieldhouse, will all require maintenance and upgrades going forward. Track and Field is also still without a campus home although one has been proposed for years. Increased revenue will likely facilitate the completion of that project and continue to improve the Panthers' facilities.
3. Coaching salaries
When it comes to paying coaches, Pitt has developed a reputation for being cheap. That stinginess was forced into the spotlight in 2011 during the hiring of Todd Graham & Co. when the University painfully pried its checkbook open to land him. That checkbook should be a little easier to open now. In football, for example, assistant coaches average a salary of about $200,000 per the USA Today. I don't know what the guys on Paul Chryst's staff make, but I'm pretty sure I've seen numbers around $150,000. Regardless of the specifics, Pitt should be able to devote more resources to coaches - head and assistant - across all sports.
It's finally July 1, folks! ACC BABY.