SBD/August 14, 2013/Colleges

Univ. Of Maryland's Athletic Department Projected To Operate At Deficit Until '17-18

Maryland hopes to raise $50-80M for a new football practice facility
The Univ. of Maryland athletic department "continues to operate at a significant deficit and is projected to do so until at least the 2017-18 academic year, even as the school prepares to jump" to the Big Ten in '14, according to a school report cited by Alex Prewitt of the WASHINGTON POST. The report found that the athletic department "operated at a deficit of more than $21 million for the past academic year because of two reasons: 'past financial decisions' that led to continuing debt and the ACC’s withholding of roughly $15 million in revenue." The school has "loaned the athletic department -- which has a goal of being self-sufficient -- upwards of $21 million to overcome the deficit, with additional loans of $20 million potentially required if the ACC continues to withhold revenue." The commission "projected a budget surplus by 2017-18, at which point the athletic department will begin repaying the school with 50 percent of its revenue." The remaining 50% will be "set aside to build reserve funds, which the athletic department previously used to erase its budget deficits until the money ran out in 2011, a year before Maryland eliminated seven teams in an effort to become more financially stable." The commission recommended that the UMD men’s outdoor track and field team "be restored to the maximum allowed 12.6 scholarships for the 2014-15 school year, a move that was anticipated." The report also "recognized the need for new athletic facilities for Maryland to be competitive in the Big Ten," but those facilities "will not be built anytime soon." UMD President Wallace Loh has "ruled out using money from the Big Ten deal to cover construction costs, meaning a private fundraising campaign is needed to update the facilities" (WASHINGTON POST, 8/14). In Baltimore, Jeff Barker reports UMD "plans to launch a campaign" to raise an estimated $50-80M in order to build an indoor football practice facility (Baltimore SUN, 8/14).

NOT ABLE TO RESTORE ELIMINATED TEAMS: Loh said that the school "is not yet financially able to restore any of the seven teams eliminated last year and must instead use limited athletic department revenues to fund other priorities -- including some on the academic side." He added that the school's operating deficit would have been about $5M or $6M, but that it has increased to $21M "because of the ACC action." UMD AD Kevin Anderson: "Will there be some short-term sacrifices? Yes. The expectations don’t change. All my coaches know we’re going to compete at the highest level for Big Ten championships and national championships" (Baltimore SUN, 8/14). In DC, Tracee Hamilton writes even when UMD "is finally a full Big Ten member, it’s not going to rain money in College Park." Hamilton: "For instance, Maryland doesn’t become a full equity partner in the Big Ten Network until July 1, 2020. ... All this means that there will be some lean, painful years for the Terps" (WASHINGTON POST, 8/14).

ANDERSON NOT WORRIED BY REPORT: The WASHINGTON POST's Prewitt reported Anderson "expressed no concern" yesterday over the report's recommendation that a "sizable portion of the athletic department’s funding come from donors, and not revenue earned from moving to the Big Ten." Anderson said, "From the very beginning, looking at this, coming here, one of the things I talked about is that we have the resource space to be like many of our sister universities. If you go and look at most of these universities that have great programs and great facilities, it’s been done by the generosity of the alumni and their fans. I think we’re no different. I believe there’s a base out there that will support us developing our venues, so our athletes can compete at the highest level. It’s not a big concern" (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 8/13).
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