SBD/August 27, 2013/Colleges

Next UNLV AD Will Face Troubled Finances, Strained Relationship With Facility Staff

UNLV's athletic department must learn to live within its means
The UNLV athletic department is "living paycheck to paycheck," relying on money from the state, university and Thomas & Mack Center to balance its $30M budget, according to Mark Anderson of the LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL. Board of Regents Chair Kevin Page said that UNLV will "have to live within its means in the shrinking local economy." He added, "I think spending from the state is going to continue to go down across the board. So I think if UNLV has not become more self-supporting, then it'll get left behind." UNLV President Neal Smatresk in the next few months will introduce the school's 12th full-time AD -- who will "take over a troubled department with shaky finances, a struggling football program and a poor relationship with the Thomas & Mack Center." How the next AD "manages those issues will define the future of UNLV athletics." Turning around the football program is "key to helping the department move forward." A winning football program will "bring in money and give other sports a chance to flourish." The school invested $5.24M "in football last year and lost" $3.5M. Smatresk and UNLV's next AD "might have to decide whether to go all in with football or cut the sport all together if it doesn't turn around." Meanwhile, the relationship with the Thomas & Mack Center staff "has frayed." Those on the facility side "became frustrated, believing athletic directors relied too heavily on the flow of income from that building as well as Sam Boyd Stadium and Cox Pavilion and didn't raise enough funds on their own." The new AD will "have to show the Thomas & Mack will be used as more than an easy financial resource if relations between the sides are to be mended" (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 8/25).
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