Looking at UNCA athletic dept. budget

By Erin Dalton – [email protected] – Contributor | Feb. 11, 2015 |
In light of academic scandals dealing with athletics in the UNC system, such as the “paper class” scandal at UNC Chapel Hill, many nonathletic students consider enormous athletic spending unreasonable.
“Ninety-eight percent of us, coaches, student-athletes, administrators, are doing athletics because it is part of academics,” said Janet Cone, UNC Asheville athletic director. “We need to go back and remember it is that one or two percent the media write about.”
An athletic department is comprised of student-athletes, coaches and administrators who partake in games and meets to represent the school, according to Cone. As a result, the athletic department and university establish a unique relationship with each other and the media.
“College athletics are not always positive stories across the nation. But I think it is positive here at UNCA,” said Kelly Schukart, general manager for sponsorship and fundraising.
Athletics are managed separately from the university and any money raised or spent comes from the foundation, according to Judith Bohan, budget manager for the athletic department.
“When our numbers are reviewed and approved, we put it into the NCAA online system, and the chancellor is the one who pushes the final button,” she said.
This means UNCA’s athletic department functions without state funding, unlike the academic programs, according to Bohan.
“Chemistry is getting state funds. We cannot use any state money for anything in the department. That means we are sort of nonprofit, and we have to create our own revenue,” Cone said.
About 92 percent of revenue comes from nonspecific sports, then goes directly into the foundation.
“We have our Annual Fun Drive and Bulldog Athletic Association. All they do is hold special events all year and an ongoing campaign to raise money for athletic scholarships. All the money goes toward athletic scholarships,” said Terri Brne, associate athletic director.
Sports like basketball tend to be big money generators for the program, as well as the school itself. Men’s basketball produces about 7.3 percent of overall revenue generated in the athletic department, while women’s basketball brings 0.36 percent, for the department.
In addition, men’s sports such as baseball, basketball, soccer and track, produce 7.5 percent income for the department, and women’s sports bring in less than 1 percent with 0.44 percent revenue.
“It does somewhat depend on the season, because it is easier to get people to come out and get excited about the sports,” Bohan said.
These funds do not go just to one sport once earned, but are spread throughout the entire athletic department. Most of this revenue goes toward scholarships for student athletes and outfitting the teams.
An individual donor can dictate student athlete scholarships.  Their choices stem from a personal sports passion or are season-based, according to Schukart.
“One hundred dollars can make that difference, and that is what we try to tell donors,” Cone said.
Athletic scholarships stand as the biggest focus for the department.
“We definitely started off well, and met the fundraising totals from last year so that is encouraging. I am a former student athlete, so I am really into supplying scholarships,” Schukart said.
The department and its members must look for other ways to generate the appropriate amount of revenue for the department’s budget.  Student fees are one method, determined by the tuition fee committee and senior staff.
“Because the state of North Carolina won’t let you use state funds, they came up with another way of funding help services, IT, student fare and athletics. They charge student fees. We get $2.5 million through student fees,” Cone said.
As a result, students can go to games for free and use the facilities like the Justice Center, the fields or the track, Cone said.
As a Division I school, UNCA athletics can receive funding from the NCAA itself. For example, according to Cone, if the department exceeds the minimum number of sports for a college campus, the department can get funding as a reward.
“Not enough to fund the sport, but enough to make others look and say we need to look at gender equity and add sports,” Bohan said.
Other forms of revenue in the department come from game income, corporate sponsorship, miscellaneous income and shared salaries, according to department officials. Game income originates as payment from games, such as men’s basketball. The men’s basketball program can get paid for playing a game with one of the bigger schools, according to Cone and Nick McDevitt, head basketball coach for UNCA.
“We played South Carolina this year. They paid us $85,000,” McDevitt said.
Corporate sponsorship consists of companies paying for the athletic department to promote them.
“More wins. More friends. More resources,” Brne said.
Miscellaneous income comes from proceeds generated by selling T-shirts to viewers and families.
“How we are different from other departments is if any of these things changed, like if we lost student funds, we would have to go raise that money ourselves. So we are responsible for it ourselves,” Cone said.