September 16, 2010
Don't take the headline the wrong way: Tim Brewster isn't asking Minnesota for a raise, or even a contract extension, a la Dan Hawkins at Colorado. (Brewster just got an extension, anyway.) It's not for him. But the team could really use it right about now:
Minnesota's athletic department "is spending enough money on football for me to win football games," Gophers coach Tim Brewster said Tuesday. But that doesn't mean he believes the football budget is large enough.
"We need to spend more money on football and basketball. That's a fact," Brewster said in response to a question about published reports that rank the Gophers last in the Big Ten in football spending. "I've talked at length to [athletic director Joel Maturi] about what we need to do to help take our football program forward. He understands we need to put more money into the football program. ... If we want to have championship success, we've got to get more involved with helping the football program."
It may seems like an awkward time for a coach to call for more resources – this is a program, after all, that just constructed a brand new on-campus stadium, within which to lose to South Dakota. The Gophers may spend less on football than any other team in the Big Ten (and may not, considering that the university reports certain expenditures that other schools include in the football budget – like stadium costs – separately), but even in the worst case, it's more than double what they spend at Middle Tennessee State, which pushed the Gophers to the brink in the season opener, and at least five times the budget at South Dakota. Even with the worst budget in the conference, they're not getting what they're paying for on the field.
But it's also a desperate time: On top of another loss to a I-AA/FCS school with "Dakota" in the name, Brewster is 0-6 against rivals Iowa and Wisconsin (including back-to-back shutouts against the Hawkeyes) and 0-2 in bowl games, against non-big spenders Oklahoma State and Iowa State. Saturday's visit from USC is a "get out in one piece" game, but three of the next four (Northern Illinois, Northwestern, Purdue) are well within reach, financially and otherwise. If Brewster has enough to win, that's the opportunity to prove it. But anything resembling a championship investment might require a slightly higher credit score than he's accumulated so far.
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Matt Hinton is on Twitter: Follow him @DrSaturday.