College football support staffs experience explosive growth

COLUMBUS – Last year for the Michigan game, Ohio State drew an Ohio Stadium-record crowd of 110,045 people.

Last year in six home games, the Buckeyes’ opponent this Saturday, UNLV, attracted a total of 110,336 fans.

Obviously, there is a different level of support for Ohio State and UNLV. But attendance isn’t the only area where those who have more and those who have less are on two very different levels of support in college football.

NCAA rules allow Division I football teams to have a head coach, nine assistants, four graduate assistants and five strength coaches.

There are no rules, though, limiting the size of support staffs. So, adding people there has become a rapidly growing way of trying to stay ahead of the competition.

A recent NCAA survey said Notre Dame, with 45 coaches and support people, led the country. Texas was second with 44 and Georgia had 42.

As a conference, the Big Ten leads the country with an average of 31.6 football staffers. The Mountain West, which UNLV plays in, averages 20.3.

While Ohio State is not among the national leaders, it is certainly part of the trend.

When its director of player personnel Mark Pantoni took over as the head of OSU’s recruiting in 2011, his department was a two-person operation. Now the Buckeyes have 10 people in their recruiting department.

Support staffs are also a way to get coaches on staff without counting against the limit. Current OSU linebackers coach Bill Davis, a former NFL coordinator, was an analyst for the Buckeyes last year. Former Wake Forest coach Adam Scheier was hired in a similar role this year.

The NCAA is studying the possibility of limiting support staffs. But for now the only limit is how much schools are willing to spend.

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