The graphic above shows the operating expense per participant of each NCAA sport at Nevada.
Sidney Zabell/Nevada Sagebrush. The graphic above shows the operating expense per participant of each NCAA sport at Nevada.

Editor’s note: Over the next several weeks, The Nevada Sagebrush Sports Desk will be breaking down the Nevada Athletics budget into a series of reports. This is the third article in the series. Parts one and two acted as a debrief over the overall expense budget, followed by a report on the rise or decreases in spending from 2017-18 versus 2018-19. 

As part of the yearly EADA budget summary that Nevada Athletics releases every year on Oct. 15, operating costs, or game-day expenses, are broken down by sport. The budget is a summary of Nevada Athletics’ spending from the 2018-19 fiscal year.

According to the report, this section of the report can be summarized as such.

“Operating expenses are all expenses an institution incurs attributable to home, away, and neutral-site intercollegiate athletic contests (commonly known as “game-day expenses”), for (A) Lodging, meals, transportation, uniforms, and equipment for coaches, team members, support staff (including, but not limited to team managers and trainers), and others; and (B) Officials.”

The report breaks up the operating expenses per sport and per participant.


In earlier reports in the budget series, it had been established that Nevada football has the largest student-athlete roster and the largest overall budget. The program led by head coach Jay Norvell also has the largest single operating cost at $2,470,992. 

The $2.4 million goes to fielding 123 student-athletes that the football program has within its ranks.

On an individual level, this breaks down to $20,089 being spent to support the program on game-day.

Nevada football’s game-day expense budget is larger than the total budgets of every sport on campus other than men’s basketball and their own budget.

Men’s basketball

At $61,356, Nevada men’s basketball has the highest operating expenses per participant of any sport on campus. 

In total, the program is allocated $1,043,052 for game-day related expenses to help field its 17 student-athletes. 

It should be noted that during the time the budget summarizes, the Nevada men’s coaching staff went through a dramatic shift in employment. The previous head coach of the program, Eric Musselman, departed from the program to take over as the head basketball coach at Arkansas. 

Steve Alford was hired just a few days after Musselman’s departure to take over as head coach of men’s basketball. 

Women’s basketball

With a total of $425,572 in total operating costs, the women’s basketball team has the fourth-largest game-day budget on campus.

The program fields 13 student-athletes, which equates out to $32,736 per participant. 

In total, the combined operating expenses for both the men’s and women’s basketball programs is $1,468,624.


With the largest operating budget next to football and men’s basketball, Nevada baseball has a total budget of $543,176.

These funds go to support the 34 student-athletes on the roster, this equals out 15,976 per participant.

Baseball’s game-day expense budget is nearly double that of the softball program.


Although a near-identical sport to baseball, softball’s operating budget is 57.2 percent lower than its counterpart. However, softball does have a smaller student-athlete roster with 26 members on the team. 

The $232,282 in game-day expenses that softball is allocated breaks down to $8,934 spent per participant. 

Men’s and women’s golf

The Nevada men’s golf team has a game-day budget of $94,189 that goes to support the program’s seven participants. When broken down, this equals out to $13,456.

Meanwhile, the women’s golf team is allotted a 15.4 percent lower operating budget than their male counterparts. The eight women that make up the golf team are allocated $79,670 in game-day related expenses. This averages out to $9,959 per participant—a 25 percent decrease in per participant spending compared to the men’s team. 


With 32 student-athletes on its roster, soccer is the largest women’s program on campus behind only track and field and cross county, which according to the budget is one program. 

A total of $185,234 is spent to support these participants on the pitch, which breaks down to $5,789 spent per student-athlete.

Men’s and women’s tennis

The men’s and women’s tennis programs are considered separate budgets on the report. The men’s team receives $76,693 in game-day funding while the women are allocated $79,362. This is the only time on the report when a women’s team receives a higher game-day budget than its male equivalent. 

The men’s team fields nine participants, spending $8,521 per member, while the eight women that comprise the tennis team are allocated $9,920 per participant in game-day expenditures. 

Swim and dive

With a total operating budget of $162,064, Nevada swim and dive has the fifth-highest operating budget for a women’s sport on campus. 

An average of $9,533 is spent between the 17 student-athletes that make up the total roster for the program. 

Track and field and Cross country

The EADA report classifies the track and field team and the cross country program as one united group. Factoring in both of their student-athlete rosters, they’re the second-largest program at Nevada with 113 participants. This is second only to football, who has 123 student-athletes in the program. 

Although they are the second-largest program at Nevada as roster size is considered, the program only has the fifth largest game-day budget. The programs operating budget sits at $319,238, or $2,825 per participant.

This is the lowest game-day budget of any program on campus. 


To support the 16 student-athletes of the volleyball program, Nevada Athletics allocates a game-day budget of $149,822. This breaks down to an average of $9,364 being spent per participant.

Volleyball’s total expense budget decreased by 8.71 percent compared to last season.


Rifle, the only coed sport at Nevada, had a mixed roster of six men and 12 women last season. The program’s game-day budget of $85,694 went to support those student-athletes. Averaging that total between the 18 participants of the rifle team, equals out to an average of $4,761 being spent per participant. 

The Nevada rifle team’s status as an NCAA sport on campus was eliminated last year. Since the team has been disbanded, a men’s cross country program has taken its place. 

Ryan Freeberg can be reached at and on Twitter @SagebrushSports