SBD/June 19, 2013/Colleges

Univ. Of South Carolina Athletic Budget To Top $84M For '13-14 Season

South Carolina's debt load is expected to jump from $122M to $133M next year
The Univ. of South Carolina’s Board of Trustees Monday approved an "athletic department budget that will top" $84M for the '13-14 academic year, according to Josh Kendall of the Columbia STATE. USC expects to bring in $84,103,300 while spending $83,692,900. The biggest single income source in the budget ($20.3M) comes from "admissions and ticket sales," with payouts from the NCAA and SEC ($19.2M) "coming in a close second." The athletic department also "informed the board that it expects its total debt load," which is nearly $122M this year, to jump to $133M next year "due mostly to the upcoming construction of an indoor practice facility and new outdoor practice facilities for the football team." The athletic department currently pays $8.3M annually to "service its debt load and that will rise" to more than $9M next year (Columbia STATE, 6/18). The BOT on Monday also approved a contract that will "allow IMG-Learfield to provide a professional sales force in hopes of increasing ticket sales in football and men's and women's basketball." IMG-Learfield, which "signed a one-year deal and will receive approximately 35 percent commission on all sales it makes, won't begin selling tickets until after the school's current ticket office sells through 30 days past its annual renewal date." The IMG-Learfield staff will "replace student workers currently doing the job" (THESTATE.com, 6/17).

BACK IN BLACK? USA TODAY's Steve Berkowitz notes proposed changes in how the NCAA "compiles financial data from college athletics departments could lead to more of them being in the black, though not by increasing revenue or cutting expenses." Only 23 athletics departments are "self-sufficient by the NCAA's current benchmarks." Under one proposed change, student fees "might no longer be treated only as subsidy, but also as revenue generated by the athletics department." That could make it "easier for some athletics programs, especially those at schools in the power conferences, to be considered by the NCAA as self-sufficient." SEC consultant and former Mississippi State AD Larry Templeton said, "Instead of running around saying how many programs are in the red, this should put a considerable number running in the black. It would give a truer accounting of how most athletic programs work these days." NCAA VP/Administration and CFO Kathleen McNeely "unveiled the proposed changes in the financial reporting system last week during a presentation at the annual meeting of the College Athletic Business Management Association" (USA TODAY, 6/19).
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