SBD/June 20, 2014/Colleges

West Virginia Could Break Even For Current FY Just Two Years After Joining Big 12

West Virginia AD Oliver Luck expects the athletic department to "essentially break even" when the current FY ends at the end of the month, according to Dave Hickman of the CHARLESTON GAZETTE. When WVU left the Big East for the Big 12 two years ago, Luck admitted that times "would be tough for a few years." The $12.9M deficit in '11-12 "was the bottom," though most of that was due to the $20M exit agreement with the Big East. But if the "preliminary numbers for this year hold true, it means that the department is already functioning with its head above financial water, with conditions sure to improve in the coming years." Last year's revenue from the Big 12 was around $10M, a 50% share. With the percentage up to 67%,  the number this year "was just under" $14M. Next year, the percentage goes to 84%, then to 100% in '15-16. With league revenue "increasing through built-in raises in television contracts," that 100% share "could be nearly twice" this year's 67%. Luck said, "I think we're in a pretty good spot. You're always concerned about (Mountaineer Athletic Club) donations and ticket sales because they fluctuate. But the guaranteed income from IMG and (Big 12) television puts us in good shape and we think we have a pretty good handle on costs. We're certainly in a better spot than we would have been in had we remained in the Big East" (CHARLESTON GAZETTE, 6/20).

MICHIGAN PROJECTING A SURPLUS: Michigan AD Dave Brandon said the athletic department goes into the '14-15 season in "stable and sustainable" financial health. In Detroit, Anthony Fenech reports Brandon presented the Board of Regents a '14-15 budget of $151M, and he "projected an operating surplus" of $5.1M. He said that the surplus will "be invested in facility improvement plans." Brandon added that ticket revenues "fall in line with those of the previous year, but are down roughly" $2M, most notably because of the football team's "light home schedule this fall." Fenech notes this year's home slate of seven games "doesn't include any of U-M's traditional rivals, with its Oct. 11 game against Penn State the home highlight." Still, Brandon "doesn't foresee any issues with filing Michigan Stadium for those seven games." Asked if it is possible that attendance could drop below 100,000 for any of those seven games, Brandon said, "No, I don't think it's a realistic possibility." Meanwhile, Brandon "did not disclose contract information for the Champions Cup soccer game between Manchester United and Real Madrid at Michigan Stadium on Aug. 2" (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 6/20).
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