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Knight Commission report has interesting data on job security

A study published by the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics in September ascertains that the turnover rate among FBS head coaches has increased from 16 percent to 19 percent since 2006 (concurrent with the advent of the BCS). At the same time, the turnover rate for FBS athletics directors has dropped from 15 percent to 12 percent.

There are many reasons for this, but the clearest is this: money. While always controversial, the BCS created a rising tide of cash flow across the entire FBS and especially within BCS automatic qualifying conferences. For coaches, more money means more expectations. The higher the expectations placed on a coach, the shorter the leash when the results fall short of what is expected. Our expectation is that this trend will continue when the new playoff system is implemented in 2014.

Money is also the reason FBS athletic directors find themselves enjoying increased job security. Increased bowl payouts and larger television contracts make an athletic directors’ primary job, balancing the budget, easier.

-In real numbers, there were 19 new hires across FBS in 1992. This number grew to 21 in 1999 and then dropped to 17 four years later, only to climb to 23 hires in 2007 and 25 in both 2010 and 2011.

-Meanwhile, the number of FBS ADs changing jobs peaked at 21 in 1995 and steadily declined since. In 2011, only five FBS schools hired new athletic directors. In fact, in 2011 there were nine more changes in head coaching positions (25) than ADs (five) and university presidents (11) combined.

-The study also details that head football coaches experience a lower term expectancy than their bosses on campus. In 2007, an FBS head coach could expect to stay on the job for an average of 6.59 years, close to a year less than the athletic director (7.98) and president (7.49).

-Interestingly enough, head coaches and athletic directors enjoyed more job expectancy at the AQ level than non-AQ. In 2011 an AQ athletic director had been on the job an average of 9.46 years, compared to 6.13 at non-AQ schools. Similarly, AQ head coaches averaged 7.09 years on the job versus a 6.11 average at non-AQ programs.

Off-the-Field Personnel

The Knight Commission study also chronicled the rise in “off-the-field personnel.” The amount of titled football operations directors and video coordinators has exploded over the last 20 years, rising sharply with the advent of the BCS.

-In 1991 there were zero video coordinators in major college football and only two football operations directors. Four years later tha number of video coordinators exploded to 59, while football operations directors remained rare (15). Fast forward to 2007 each position had become an essential member of staffs across the country, as schools employed 124 football operations directors and 117 video coordinators.

-As DFOs have become more commonplace across college football their standing within the athletic department has slowly risen. For instance of the 91 football operations directors in college football in 2003, 76 held director of operations titles while a mere 15 carried titles including associate/assistant athletic director. That number has nearly doubled in the near decade since, growing to 29 in 2011, but still stood at less than a quarter of all DFO personnel in FBS. 

The entire study can be viewed seen here. Every "ops guy" should download a copy and take a look. Plenty of good information in here.