Athletics gets richer

BY CHRIS HIGGINS | MAY 02, 2014 5:00 AM

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They got more than they hoped for.

The University of Iowa Athletics Department budget will end up with roughly $1 million more than expected this fiscal year. The news was revealed at a Presidential Committee on Athletics meeting on Thursday.

“Like any budget, the fiscal year 2014 budget was an estimated budget when it was put in place last August,” said UI law Professor N. William Hines, the head of the committee. “Most of [the increase] is in the form of ticket income. An upturn in interest in basketball is showing up in ticket revenues.”
The men’s basketball team was ranked in the top 25 of the coaches poll for much of the season, piquing interest in the program.

Along with increased ticket revenues, the department received $600,000 Big Ten distribution and $260,000 in donor gifts more than expected. In all, revenues were $1.9 million over projections.
However, expenditures were $950,000 over estimates.

Scholarships cost $440,000 more than officials planned in August. The department pays $10 million to the university in scholarship funds.

Jane Meyer, UI senior associate director of athletics, said scholarship costs rose alongside tuition for out-of-state students, who make up much of the student-athletes. Those athletes were not included in past tuition freezes, which have only applied to resident students.

Utility costs were up $565,000.

“[That’s partly because of] the brutal winter and also with new facilities coming online. “Meyer said. “It’s tough to put an estimate together when they haven’t been opened.”

There was around $100,000 more in administrative costs, which Hines described as “kind of a catch-all category.”

The overall budget for fiscal 2014 will round out around $84 million. Officials are drafting the fiscal 2015 budget, which will be $88 million.

Ticket revenues will likely increase next year.

“Wrestling and women’s basketball certainly look like they’re both going to be up again,” said Athletics Director Gary Barta. “But probably men’s basketball and football, which is pretty much typical every year, are the two largest numbers that have the potential to grow.”

Officials estimate conference distribution will be about $5 million.

The department will have to pay around $1.9 million more in salaries.

Football and basketball coaches will receive raises due to contractual obligations after making the Outback Bowl or the NCAA Tournament. The university also hired new, more expensive coaches.

“We had some coaching changes that we made where those coaches were at the bottom of the Big Ten [in terms of salary], and when we hired their replacements, we try to get them at least to the midpoint of the Big Ten when we go out and hire competitively,” Barta said.

General average salaries will go up by about 2-3 percent, depending on what the university salary policy will be.

Travel costs will also rise.

“We’ve got two new schools coming into the conference, and if you’ve been doing any flying lately, you know that, with the extent some of our teams fly commercial, it has really gotten quite expensive,” Hines said.

UI athletics is building a reserve fund of $20 million to protect against possible future losses and maintain self-sufficiency without needing money from theĀ  general fund.

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