I grew up in a typical American neighborhood full of World War II and Korea Vets, where most people were not college graduates yet took a job, advanced within that job enough to make a career, and made enough to buy a home, a simple cabin, and whose wives didn’t have to work if they didn’t want to. Most of them were the products of Eisenhower’s America and would criticize Happy Days for inauthenticity. And when they got together for neighborhood cookouts and such all the men became Archie Bunkers and had strong opinions on a wide range of subjects. They all absolutely hated taxes and school referendums, thought the Peace Corps was useless, and would say things like “we need a war to help the economy” and “you can’t solve problems by throwing money at them.” I am not sure I appreciated the war comment because I was of the next group that would have to fight it but the money comment was always interesting. They would always bring up Cabrini Green and The Projects in Chicago as examples of “you can’t solve problems by throwing money at them” and even though none of them knew anything about Chicago, and none of them had ever served in government in any way, shape or form, I was a child and took this maxim as some sort of universal truth. And that was to my detriment. I have come to realize that money does make a great deal of difference.
It shouldn’t surprise us that in the Big Ten Conference the schools with the biggest athletic budgets are Michigan and Ohio State. Many millions of dollars behind them, but still in the upper tier are Wisconsin and Penn State. Down toward the bottom in spending are Minnesota, Purdue, Indiana and Rutgers. Look at the broad results in athletic success and you will see the win/loss records, overall, largely reflect the amount of money spent.