Thanks to the Freedom of Information Act and AL.com, we can now grasp more fully the travel madness that occurs in high-powered college football recruiting. The publication obtained travel logs for the Crimson Tide Foundation’s private plane – N1UA – used to shuttle Alabama coaches around the country, and the data is mind-blowing.
According to AL.com, the travel logs have 66 entries specific to football recruiting. Of that number, Nick Saban was on 53 of the flights, Kirby Smart 12, and every assistant – including new offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin, hired in early January – taking at least one trip.
Alabama spent $983,217 on recruiting for 2013 – including a pilot’s salary upwards of $94,000 per year and flights costing an estimated $2,700 per hour. Though, considering the football program earned $81,993,762 in total revenue during 2011-12, the recruiting expenditures seem like a sound investment.
The first graphic below gives an animated look at N1UA’s flight log in the lead up to National Signing Day. The subsequent chart shows each city coaches visited on their recruiting trips.
For more on the frenzied pace of recruiting, I highly recommend Michael Casagrande’s article for AL.com. It goes in depth on flight times (from 10 minutes to 3 hours) and gives several examples of Saban’s packed days on the road. It’s simply a fascinating read, and a wonderful glimpse at the game behind the game.