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Exactly how much is the Big Ten spending on recruiting?

Last night we noticed a tweet from Scott Dochterman, who covers Iowa football for The Gazette with some fascinating figures on Big Ten recruiting expenses.

At first glance you notice that the recruiting costs for nearly every school are rising rapidly, some ballooning higher than others, but here are the things that surprised (or puzzled) me:

- Nebraska ($818,509), Illinois ($791,972) and Penn State ($736,739) lead the league in money spent last season by a wide margin.

- Of the three biggest spenders, I find Nebraska's the least surprising because of their location and need to travel significantly to find the best talent in the country. 

- Illinois' high recruiting costs were the most surprising to me. Hopefully Tim Beckman and his staff are able to stretch that money and are have been able to pick up some young talent to get things back on track. On the bright side, I highly doubt that this figure includes the rebranding process that the athletic department just went through, but there's no doubt that had some recruiting implications.

- Wisconsin has kept their budget surprisingly low considering their on the field success ($256,967). They spent nearly $150,000 less than the next lowest spender. Take a quick look at their roster and you'll see that the past two coaching staffs have done an impressive job building a fence around the state of Wisconsin.

- As a private institution, Northwestern wasn't forced to share their numbers, but I would be very interested to see where there's stacked up. Any bets on if it was more or less than Wisconsin's? When they get the new lakefront facility, the University may just recruit itself.

- Over the past three seasons Penn State's recruiting budget has nearly tripled.

- All told, the Big Ten spent nearly $6.5 million on recruiting in 2013 (that's without figures from Northwestern). It would be interesting to see how the other "big four" conferences stacked up comparatively.

- The Big Ten members don't need reminded of when their last national title came (2002 via Ohio State), and it's clear that all the members realize it starts with recruiting.