A look into UNCA Athletics budget: Part two

By Erin Dalton – [email protected] – Contributor | Feb. 18, 2015 |
UNC Asheville is comprised of 14 sports teams, men’s and women’s combined. Twenty-six coaches and assistant coaches lead and look after these teams.
“Our responsibility is to foster this growth,” said Nick McDevitt, head coach of the men’s basketball team.
One of the coaches’ main responsibilities is to look after their team and ensure they get the best experience possible. Being part of a team gives the player a chance to learn things they wouldn’t in a classroom, while enhancing the overall experience and education, according to coaches and athletic administrators.
“We look at other teams in the conference and try to be comparable. We are trying to provide the same experience for the students in their sports while also comparing to another school,” said Judith Bohan, budget manager for the athletic department.
Other schools within the same division hold bigger budgets.
“If you were to look at the basketball conference, you’d be like, ‘Oh my gosh. How are they competing? Because their budget is so much smaller,” said Janet Cone, UNCA athletics director.
The budgeting for a team falls into the hands of their particular coach.
“We hire very good people. Seriously creative, know how to do more with less. And recruit really good student athletes, who kind of get it. Work a little harder to do a little more. Do well in the classroom and interact with the community. Then we win, maybe not as much as we want, but we compete against schools with budgets ten times the size of ours,” Cone said.
The budgeting transpires from historical data and how much the team needs, according to officials. The department also looks at research, salaries and medical expenses, then sets a budget, according to Cone.
“We have to watch every penny, and really be good stewards of the money,” she said.
From there, the responsibility goes to the coaches. When budgeting, coaches consider what may be best for the team.
“Janet tells me at the beginning of the year, ‘Here are your numbers. Here is your operating budget for each side, and figure out how to spend it all,’” said Jesse Norman, head coach for the men and women’s cross country and track and field teams.
To establish the budget, the coaches sit down with Cone and Bohan and go over the decided amount.
“We can look at different categories, but in the end they are responsible for it,” Bohan said.
These parts are divided into subsections, such as operating budget. The operating budget covers travel, equipment and apparel.
“We have what we need,” said Katie Davis, a junior volleyball player for UNCA
Depending on how much exposure a sport gets affects how and where the money might be spent. According to Cone, looking at cross country and basketball comparatively likens to comparing apples and oranges.
“It takes way more to outfit a baseball player than to outfit a volleyball player,” Bohan said.
Men’s baseball team’s operating expenses level out at 22.3 percent of all expenses. Comparatively, the women’s volleyball team only uses about 5.5 percent.
“They tell me what mine is. They don’t tell me what soccer’s or tennis’ is,” McDevitt said.
This established budget may vary depending on where the teams travel, how often, length of the season and the enhancement account. The first two exist and are determined by historical data and current schedule, while the enhancement account comes from individual fundraising and donation the particular sport receives.
“Any donor gifts come through me and go into the foundation,” Bohan said. “Ten percent of your gift goes toward general athletics, then the other 90 percent goes to the sport.”
According to McDevitt, each of the assistants takes charge of different aspects of the program. Aspects could be travel, hotel, team apparel or inventory of equipment.
“What I may end up doing, like this year, I give him an idea of – – I’m looking for this number of rooms and want to keep it within this budget. If we are under we can bring more people, or buy shoes or something like that,” Norman said.
The coaches said they try to look at what will benefit not only the program and their athletes, but also the community. For example, cross country and track meets in particular may be more for the community than the department, because it may bring in revenue later on, but otherwise a meet brings people to the local businesses.
“Athletics are a doorway to the rest of the university,” said Kelly Schukart, general manager for sponsorship and fundraising.
Despite a low budget, UNCA remains well-known for its economical ability when spending its money, other means of raising it and competing with bigger schools, according to Brne.
“We are underpaid. Coaches are here because they want to be, because they love helping students, and love Asheville,” Cone said. “On the flip side, we need to get more people to believe in the blue, who think UNCA is a good investment.”