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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Tiger Athletic Department Has $1.3MM Deficit

U of M athletic department has $1.3M deficit

By Phil Stukenborg
December 19, 2006

The University of Memphis athletic department operated at a $1.3 million deficit for the 2006 fiscal year, or about $500,000 more than the previous year's shortfall of $808,000.

Figures obtained Monday showed the athletic department reported revenues of $25,473,118 for the fiscal year ending June 30. Expenditures were $26,812,809 for an operating deficit of $1,339,691.

The difference will be covered by the university.

''The university is giving us a subsidy,'' said Tiger athletic director R.C. Johnson. ''I think they understand with rising scholarships costs, Title 9, and adding another sport (softball), it's not realistic for us to cover it all. Now we get a subsidy at the beginning of each year.''

Football brought in $4.9 million in revenues in 2005 and had $6.9 million in expenses, while men's basketball brought in $4.6 million and had $4.4 million in expenses. Men's basketball was the only sport to operate in the black (plus-$217,000), but it did something it rarely does: fall below $1 million in profit.

Men's basketball had recorded a surplus of at least $1.1 million each of the past six years. The reduction in the surplus this year had more to do with new accounting practices in a re-configured Conference USA. Basketball television revenue and football revenue, which used to go to the individual sports, was reclassified and appears as "Other Revenues" on the UofM's "Schedule of Revenues, Expenditures and Transfers for Intercollegiate Athletics."

"Other Revenues" jumped from $2.4 million in FY2005 to $3.7 million. Men's basketball revenues dropped by roughly the same total: from $5.5 million last year to $4.6 million.

Other sports were relatively unchanged from the previous year. Women's basketball ($1.1 million), volleyball ($725,000), baseball ($703,000) and the program's newest addition, softball ($648,000) all operated at deficits of $600,000 or more.

Johnson said it's always been his goal for athletic department fundraising -- which reached $5 million during the fiscal year -- to offset scholarship costs. He said that used to be $5 million, but now has increased to $6 million.

''That's what we'd like (as our goal) now,'' Johnson said.

Johnson said each 1 percent increase in tuition translates to about $52,000 in scholarship costs.

''And we've been having six to nine percent tuition increases over the past few years,'' Johnson said. ''Last year there was a five percent increase in tuition, which was about $250,000 in increased costs.''

The athletic department posted significant gains in several areas. License fees increased from $723,000 in FY2005 to $1.6 million. General gifts went from $5.9 million to $6.5 million.

Johnson said the athletic department will work off a $26 million budget for the 2007 fiscal year.

-- Phil Stukenborg: 529-2543

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