The recruiting trip that helped Texas land Arch Manning sounds unbelievable, with a reported $280,000 price tag for a weekend that secured the nephew of Peyton and Eli.
Mike Leach literally does not believe it.
The Mississippi State head coach acknowledged that he, too, read The Athletic account that, through open record requests, found that the mid-June weekend in which Texas hosted Manning and eight other recruits cost more than a quarter-million dollars.
But even with expenses that included airfare and car service, hotel rooms, a $17,000 lunch buffet and $29,000 dinner buffet and everything from ice sculptures to open bars for parents, Leach cannot fathom a recruiting visit costing $280,000.
“Have you ever been to or heard of rooms that can eat up that much of $280,000? I haven’t,” Leach said on his radio show on Thursday. “Let’s make them really expensive. There’s eight recruits, hypothetically. Let’s make those rooms $3,000 a piece. Right there you still haven’t even dented it.
“I think this is embellished,” he said. “… But I would be curious if someone managed to be creative enough to find a way to spend that much money in that period of time on that number of people. I’d be curious exactly how it was done and what they did. I have some serious, serious, serious doubts about this.”
According to the records pulled by The Athletic, Texas spent nearly $47,000 on 34 hotel rooms in Austin for recruits, family members and some coaches and staffers. Even before the campus festivities began, the report stated, Texas had spent $65,000 before the recruits had reached the university.
The recruiting visit was the weekend of June 17. Manning publicly committed to Texas June 23.
“If you go to England, it’s understood that the news, at least half of it, is false and people read it because it’s a good story,” Leach, who is in charge of the 2-1 Bulldogs, said, via the Clarion Ledger. “They wink-wink and kind of nudge each other, and it’s just understood it’s not true. … Over here, we actually go through the motions of pretending everything written is true. More than any time in my lifetime, stuff that I read is not true. My suspicion is this goes into that category. I don’t know that, but I would love to just have a quick one-hour course on how you spend $280,000 in 48 hours.”