On Monday, Tulane will face off against USC in the Cotton Bowl — its first “major” bowl game appearance since 1939.
The Green Wave, led by head coach Willie Fritz, is the only Group of 5 school this year to make a New Year’s Six appearance.
“This is huge for our program,” Fritz told local media members earlier this week.
Tulane’s run — which includes an 11-2 record and its first conference championship since 1998 — has been remarkable given the lack of resources it enjoys compared with Power 5 teams. Those resources were further dashed last year when Hurricane Ida derailed the team’s season.
To understand the vast disparity, look at conference distributions: The Pac-12 regularly doles out more than $30 million to each school, while the American Athletic Conference sends around $5-7 million, according to tax filings.
As a result, Tulane has far less money to invest in its program.
- The most recent Department of Education financial data is from the 2020-21 season. That year, Tulane spent a little more than $5.5 million on its football program, while USC spent $29.4 million.
- Currently, USC coach Lincoln Riley is raking in a reported average of $10 million a year — among the highest-paid coaches in college sports. Fritz, on the other hand, makes about $2 million a year, according to reports.
The Green Wave will earn a significant amount of money for the AAC with its NY6 appearance, as the College Football Playoff awards $4 million to each conference for a school participating in a non-semifinal bowl.
It’s unclear, however, how much of that revenue Tulane itself will see.
But for now, Fritz isn’t concerned about the money — he said the team’s No. 1 objective is to win. As 2.5-point underdogs, they certainly have a chance.