Missouri Athletics Operating In Red For Second Consecutive Year
The Univ. of Missouri athletic department "operated at a loss" for the second straight fiscal year, with the operating loss for FY '17-18 "about the same as the year before," according to Aaron Reiss of the K.C. STAR. This past year, MU spent $102.4M and generated $97.9M, "thanks in large part to lagging ticket sales." In March, AD Jim Sterk had "predicted operating in the red" for FY '17-18. Among SEC schools, MU "ranked last in revenue and next to last in expenses, ahead of only Mississippi State." The athletics department, which receives $1M from tuition waivers, "covers all operational deficits with reserves." Sterk said, "A lot of the fixed expenses continue to rise -- the operational benefits for employees and salaries and travel and food and all of those things. ... What we've asked out staff to do is, what do we need to do to continue to move forward and grow?" Sterk also said that the department "secured about 1,000 new football season ticket holders" for the '18 campaign, but football season-ticket totals overall are "down from this point a year ago" (K.C. STAR, 7/10). In Missouri, Teague-Robinson & Jones note while the athletic department is "working to recoup its losses through outbound ticket sales and increased donations, it might be a while before Missouri's revenues catch up to its expenses." Sterk said, "It's probably a couple years. I'm hopeful that we can balance it this coming year." MU expects a new south end zone structure at Memorial Stadium to "increase ticket revenues" by $4M annually, though those figures will not be factored into the department's budget until FY '20 (COLUMBIA DAILY TRIBUNE, 7/10).
HEISMAN LOCK? Sterk said the athletic department's decision to "begin a Heisman campaign" for QB Drew Lock "required input from Missouri coaches, teammates, the quarterback and the Lock family." As part of the promotional push, the department's PR office will "distribute Lock bobbleheads to some media members." Sterk "believes Lock 'benefits a lot from this (college) experience.'" He said that he can "envision a future change" to the NCAA's likeness rule. Sterk said, "It's a very complicated (topic), with the amateurism. If you really take true value of every player on the team, how do we do that? How do you do it with baseball or track and field?" (K.C. STAR, 7/10).