Univ. of Tennessee officials yesterday "expressed optimism that a round of belt-tightening would help the Vols show a balanced budget in the fiscal year that ends this month," according to Evan Woodbery of the KNOXVILLE NEWS-SENTINEL. Senior Associate AD/Business Operations & CFO Bill Myers told the BOT yesterday that athletic department expects to "break even in the 2013 and 2014 fiscal years." Myers projected $99M in "expenses in the 2013 fiscal year that ends June 30" and a $96M budget for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2014. The department spent $106M "in the 2012 fiscal year." But Myers said that the department’s “'prudent financial decisions' would pay off when the football team’s revenue grows along with its win total." Myers said, "A year ago we told you about a $3.9 million deficit because ticket sales were not where we wanted them to be and donations were not where we wanted them to be." Woodbery notes UT used its "reserve fund to cover the deficit and then started cutting costs, including the elimination of 19 athletic department jobs, closer scrutiny of nonconference scheduling and a review of utilities and infrastructure." Myers added that UT President Joe DiPietro and Chancellor Jimmy Cheek have been "supportive of the department and 'understand our business very well.'” Myers also said that the budget "doesn’t benefit for coaching buyouts 'coming off the books'” (KNOXVILLE NEWS-SENTINEL, 6/20).
College Football Playoff Exec Dir Bill Hancock said that he will "probably start reaching out" to prospective selection committee members this summer, according to Pat Forde of YAHOO SPORTS. There has been "speculation that a committee could use the 2013 season as a 'dry run' for the real thing in '14." But Hancock said that that is "unlikely for multiple reasons: the results would inevitably be leaked; the resulting tumult could overshadow this season; and the time expended on a theoretical undertaking would be counterproductive to the committee members." The conference commissioners met for "about 3 1/2 hours" Tuesday at The Broadmoor resort in Colorado Springs, where the Collegiate Commissioners Association is meeting this week. Their next playoff meeting "is not yet scheduled." Earlier Tuesday, the "founding fathers of the playoff got an unexpected vote of support from the academic side of the college athletics structure." The FBS faculty athletic reps (FARs) issued a statement "supporting the 2014 playoff structure and decrying the push by some to already expand the playoff beyond four teams." Texas Tech professor Brian Shannon said, "The four-team College Football Playoff design is far superior to any expanded playoff system that would add more teams playing more games over more weeks, thereby further interfering with academic obligations, inevitably overlapping with final exams and extending into a second semester, and increasing risks for serious injuries. FBS FARs would strongly oppose any further playoff expansion" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 6/18).
MISSED OPPORTUNITY: SI.com's Stewart Mandel writes the decision not to have a dry run this season is "understandable," as the national champion "shouldn't have to face questions about who it might have faced in a hypothetical second postseason game, or whether it would have finished No. 1 in the new system." But the CFP's "paranoia about this inevitable clash may lead to a major flaw in the new playoff's eventual launch." The selection committee could be the "most important facet of the new playoff," as there has "never been anything like it in FBS football." The panel's "credibility will be essential to the public's acceptance of this new event." Mandel: "Given those stakes, wouldn't the committee want to take advantage of a gift-wrapped opportunity to iron out the kinks? There's a reason Google and other technology companies beta test new products before unleashing them for mass consumption." A dry run does run the risk of "undermining this year's championship game," but the idea of "hurting someone's feelings over an imaginary matchup is a far lesser evil than harming the real playoff by failing to properly vet the selection process" (SI.com, 6/20).