Now that the buzz over the softball team's excellent season (finished 8th in the final softball polls) has passed and the injuries to two key runners for the women's track team has put the damper on what was also a great season for them, it's time for the 2007 update of the Virginia Tech Athletics financial information.
As noted in prior years, the following caveats and comments are made:
For this report I did more extensive research on other schools both in and out of the ACC. The information for Virginia Tech, UVA and other Virginia public colleges and universities is derived from the published NCAA reports on the Virginia Auditor of Public Accounts web site. The information for other schools is derived from the U.S. Government's Office of Postsecondary Education (located at http://ope.ed.gov/athletics/main.asp). The government information database apparently contains various degrees of reporting differences among major categories within the reporting parameters of the NCAA reports for all of the schools.
I originally compiled an elaborate spreadsheet comparing many items among various schools. But, presenting too much information at once will tend to turn off many readers because of the volume of data. So, I decided to compress some of the data on the other schools to make the document more concise and readable. If you want to know more details, you can visit the government web site previously noted.
For this report, I have presented the past three years for both Virginia Tech and UVA. In the first presentation the Virginia Tech numbers are presented for the past 3 years and a report of the changes between the 2007 and 2006 years are also reported.
Student activity fees applied to athletics increased in 2007, but still remain relatively stable when compared with the prior two years. There was a substantial increase in contributions and in conference/NCAA revenues in FY 2007. FY 2007 was the first year for Virginia Tech to receive a full conference revenue distribution. Also remember that these revenues include reimbursements for travel expenses to bowl games. The 2005 year includes the Sugar Bowl against Auburn, the 2006 year includes the Gator Bowl against Louisville, and the 2007 year includes the Chick-fil-A Bowl against Georgia.
On the expense side, the cost of athletic student grants in aid increased 35%. I am not sure why there was such a substantial increase other than possibly an increase in the number of out-of-state students receiving scholarships in the athletic programs. Tuition and fees have increased from year to year, but not 35% in one year. Team travel expenses increased 27% in 2007 when compared to 2006. Although not shown in the table above, team travel for football increased approximately $384k, men's basketball travel increased approximately $228k and women's basketball increased approximately $101k. Some of the football travel is probably related to the bowl game in Atlanta as opposed to Jacksonville. The men's basketball travel expense increase is more likely attributable to our participation in the NCAA tournament in 2007. The women's basketball team travel increase may be attributable to more use of charter air transport. The increase in the “other expenses” category is due primarily to the line item of “direct facilities, maintenance and rental” (not reported separately) in the amount of $5.629 million. I am just guessing here, but this amount probably includes the renovation of parts of Cassell Coliseum, the memorabilia area of Lane Stadium and the bathroom facilities for the soccer and softball complexes. Salaries, benefits and bonuses increased by 6%, which appears reasonable given the more competitive performances by the men's basketball team, men's soccer, softball and track teams.
As in prior years I have also reported revenue and expense summaries for the three revenue generating sports which indicate the financial success of the football program and the men's basketball program. And, there are comparative amounts for debt owed on facilities and the corresponding change, in this case decrease or payment, of debt service from 2006 to 2007. For 2007 the principal payments alone were over $6 million and the scheduled interest payments were approximately $3.5 million. So, in 2007 the total debt service requirements were approximately $9.5 million. That's a fair chunk of change to pay out of a $65 million operating revenue budget.
As an added bit of information, I also reported the cost of season football tickets for the 2003 through 2008 football seasons and the respective changes in the average cost. As most of us know, the East Carolina game for 2008 is being played in Charlotte, N.C. and is a “home” game this year included in our season ticket package. The average season ticket cost from 2003 to 2008 has increased $11 for a 31% increase over the 2003 cost. This averages out to approximately 6% a year. As you can see from my table, some years are more, some years are less. However, that increase is a good bit for some folks.
Additional information indicates that football lost over $2.9 million for FY 2007. However, UVA did not allocate any conference distributions and post season revenues for the 2006 football season. The reason is probably due to the fact that the 2006 team did not go to a bowl game. Approximately $958k was allocated in the prior year. U. Va. paid out $1.25 million in football guarantees for out of conference opponents for the 2006 season. This is an average of $625k for each opponent as opposed to Tech's average of $581k. So, both schools are now fairly close in payment for out of conference football opponents to play at Tech and UVA.
There was a recent newspaper article in the USA Today and discussions on the TSL message boards relative to guarantees paid by various schools for out-of conference opponents escalating to amounts approximating $1 million or more. It appears that both and Tech and Virginia will be paying more in the future to quality (or maybe not so quality) out-of-conference opponents, which will result in higher football, and probably basketball, ticket prices. It also appears that if you can secure a home and home game with a quality opponent, this cost may be kept under control. Also, if this pace keeps up, the playing of an additional conference opponent will appear to be even more appealing by the various BCS leagues. If the ACC and other BCS leagues (PAC 10 already does this) decide to go this route, I believe that some of the non-BCS league schools may have problems supporting their programs because there will be fewer games being scheduled by the BCS schools. Also, the Big East, only having eight football members, may be in even more of a bind than other BCS leagues that have 10 or more members since they will still have to schedule five out-of-conference games each year unless they add more members.
It is also interesting that UVA's men's basketball is also reporting a loss on operations for 2007 even though revenues greatly increased. U. Va. played nine out-of-conference opponents in the new facility in FY 2007 and paid guarantees totaling $710k, or an average of approximately $79k, which is very close to Tech's average payout per team of approximately $78k. UVA did have Arizona and Stanford play in Charlottesville that year.
Student activity fees allocated to athletic operations at UVA continue to be much higher than those at Tech. When you compute the average fees on an undergraduate enrollment basis, UVA fees average approximately $749 per undergraduate student and Tech's averages $283. In reports to the U.S. Government Office of Post Secondary Education, UVA and Virginia Tech report undergraduate enrollments of 13,151 and 21,473, respectively. Please note that the above amounts do not take in to account graduate programs enrollment.
UVA's conference and NCAA revenues have remained rather consistent over the past three years while Tech's has increased. Most of the increase for Tech has been related to the winning of ACC football division title, the respective reimbursements for costs for higher tier bowl games and the payment of a full share of conference revenue distributions in 2007.
When UVA opened its new basketball arena, the increase in operating costs for its sports facilities increased substantially. And they still have operating costs for U-Hall, which reportedly is full of asbestos and will likely be very costly to remove when and if they decide to raze the facility. Although the athletic department is not directly in charge of the operations of the new basketball facility, it does appear that the athletic department pays a substantial amount of the operating costs of this facility. While it is a great venue for basketball and other entertainment shows, I believe competition from other similar venues in the non-basketball entertainment sector will cause some problems in the future, if they have not already done so. With fuel costs at their highest levels ever, the entertainment dollars will surely suffer. I have been in the building twice for Tech – UVA basketball games, and it is a very nice facility. However, I was surprised to notice that it does have “blind” seats in several of the upper deck sections. To pay $130 million for a facility that has “blind seats” indicates to me that the architect/engineer must have missed a few things during the design stage.
If you look at the overall debt as reported in UVA's NCAA reports, a substantial amount of debt has been added to the athletic side of the equation. The overall debt increased over $33 million from FY 2006. I am not sure why there is a substantial increase unless the new basketball arena debt was on a draw-down basis where a ceiling is set on the total amount of the debt and loan proceeds are only drawn as needed to the ceiling amount. In most cases, the debt is sold to an investor and the total debt proceeds are placed in a trust or similar fund. The payments on the construction bills are then generally made from that fund. Another scenario is that approximately $48 million or more in debt may have been transferred from the University side to the athletic side in 2007. It also appears that the allocations in prior year reports may have been erroneously represented on the NCAA report because the debt allocations between the stadium expansion and the basketball arena do not align with the prior year. Regardless, if the athletic side has to pay all of the debt, that is a tremendous burden to bear.
As most of you know, UVA is conducting a reseating of its football stadium for the 2008 season. From what I hear, the actual reseating process has been going smoothly, but there has been a lot of grumbling among the displaced folks who would not cough up the minimum $6,200 to be seated between the 30 yard lines. They also discontinued their discounted “Superfan” tickets program. This action also appears to be resulting in decreased interest in season ticket sales. Now, they are offering mini-package season tickets for selected games. If you want to go to the USC game, you need to buy the Richmond game and East Carolina game ticket. The other ticket package includes the four ACC games – Maryland, UNC, Miami and Clemson. The total cost of the two packages combined is only $269, or an average of approximately $38 per game. The official UVA Athletic site says that they have sold more than 34,000 season tickets. I believe they sold in excess of 39,000 season tickets last year. After analyzing the UVA financial information, I can see why they did the reseating. It should be an interesting FY 2009 for them.
As in past year reports, I have presented most of the other Virginia public colleges and universities NCAA information so you can see how they match up with Tech. Many of you may remember that JMU is in the process of eliminating a substantial amount of sports due to funding and Title IX issues. JMU made $133k on its athletic operations in FY 2007, although heavily funded by student activity fees. You may have also been following the more recent saga relating to VCU retaining its basketball coach. Well, VCU is going to have dig deeper in its general funds, or raise basketball ticket prices, or both to sustain the kind of contract they want to pay Anthony Grant. In the 2007 fiscal year, VCU lost money on its athletic operations to the tune of about $241k, even after the application of student activity fees I have also included undergraduate enrollment figures for this year so that you can get a better feel for the size of the undergraduate population of the institutions compared. Graduate enrollments at certain schools, such as Virginia Tech, UVA, George Mason and VCU, are rather substantial and increase the actual enrollments substantially. The information for the other State schools compared is below.
I compiled a rather substantial spreadsheet of data for these schools, ranging from allocations of football, basketball and other program revenues and expenses to number of coaches, sports athletes participating in varsity intercollegiate athletic programs and other data. However, when compiling information for the schedule, it became obvious to me that there appears to be so much variation in the reporting of amounts by sports, particularly revenues, that the information when compared by line-item would be somewhat not meaningful or comparable. So, I have condensed the information down to a more readable format and present information in summary form in most cases to provide you with an overall perspective of each school's athletic programs. If you desire more detail, you can go to the U.S. Government's Office of Postsecondary Education web site noted in the first sections of the report. The undergraduate enrollment of these schools is also presented to give you an idea of their size.
This data is summarized from the U.S. Government's Office of Postsecondary Education Information as detailed on their website.
(Editor's Note: The table is large enough that it has to be included as a separate web page. To see it, click here.)
As you can see from the table relative to ACC teams, Virginia Tech reports the highest revenues for the FY 2007 fiscal year with Wake Forest having the lowest amount. UVA has the highest reported expenses and Wake has the lowest. UNC has the highest number of student athletes with 784 and Wake Forest has the lowest with 354. To me, one of the more surprising numbers was that Duke reports 617 student athletes, the fifth highest in the conference, with an undergraduate enrollment of 6,244. Of the ACC schools, Florida State has the highest undergraduate enrollment of 31,058 and Wake Forest has the lowest of 4,332.
For the other schools, the amounts of the athletic budgets at Ohio State and Texas appear to be the highest in the country. And the number of student athletes at Ohio State (923) and Penn State (851) far out number most schools. Surprisingly, Penn State has more undergraduate enrollment (36,612) than Ohio State (34,982).
Another interesting number reported is from Tennessee relative to its recruiting expenses for male athletes - $1.653 million. This amount is so out of synch as to any other school report you would think that they added the “1” as an error or for emphasis. Or, maybe they have a lot of wining and dining expenses that other schools do not have.
Anyway, there is a lot of information here to consume should you be inclined to do so. Now that the only current news during the “dead” period is mostly related to football recruiting and related speculation, you should have some time to digest this info.
Have a nice summer.