The Times West Virginian

Sports

February 20, 2013

FURFARI COLUMN: Are Big 12 athletics worth the cost?

MORGANTOWN — It took West Virginia University officials nearly eight months — instead of the usual two months — to reveal a financial report on athletics for fiscal year 2011-12.

As expected, the figures all-around were staggeringly ugly. They show that the university’s Department of Intercollegiate Athletics could be in the red for many years to come.

It is in debt nearly $13 million. That could have been almost $16.5 million if the WVU Foundation hadn’t seen fit to hand over to athletics a “gift” of $3.5 million.

According to the report, the department received a revenue of $80,064,869.86 and expenses also set an all-time record of $92,968,426.76.

They were spending money like it was going out of style.

We’re talking about the period from July 1, 2011, through June 30, 2012. So it is assumed that the athletic department won’t be much — if any — better off when fiscal 2012-13 rolls around in about four months.

With numbers like those, are Big 12 Conference athletics really worth the cost? Some people seriously wonder. They fear it’s going to get a lot worse.

This admittedly most recent deficit reportedly follows nine consecutive fiscal years ending with a profit. But predictions are that losses could continue for many years to come.

As a result, some planned projects in the athletic department have been placed on hold, according to WVU officials.

Of course, WVU paying $20 million to exit from the Big East Conference was largely responsible for the huge deficit.

And there are loans still to be paid off.

That was needed to join in the Big 12 by June 30, 2012, so that conference would have a 10th school and deal with TV networks for billions in broadcasting revenues.

But WVU won’t receive a full share in yearly profit until the Big 12 is repaid for its significant loan.

The university also revealed that three internal loans were obtained by the athletic department to help ease operating budgets.

Then there are those million dollar coaching salaries in football and basketball.

Athletic Director Oliver Luck also had to pay several coaches he fired after taking over the reins from Ed Pastilong, who served 21 years as the athletic director. That was about 2 1/2 years ago.

Despite the red ink, WVU does not plan to stop any athletic renovation projects, institute any pay freezes or cuts, or lower operating expenses during the next few years.

It is interesting to note that the university gave recent pay raises to Luck, head football coach Dana Holgorsen and head men’s basketball coach Bob Huggins.

Luck’s base salary was bumped from $390,000 annually to $550,000, plus incentives.

Holgorsen, who was hired by Luck, now is to be paid $2.5 million this year. He was making $1.65 million.

Huggins’ base pay became $3 million in a new contract extension last November. He was making $2.3 to $2.7 million, plus incentives.

The Mountaineers’ travel expenses have grown, too, since they became a member of the Big 12. Widening of recruiting in more states is costing more, too.

1
Text Only
Sports
  • Big ‘I’ golf coming to Pete Dye

    The Trusted Choice Big “I” National Championship will make its first trip to West Virginia when Pete Dye Golf Club hosts the 46th annual installment of the event Aug. 5-8.

    July 29, 2014

  • Charges against Smallwood dropped

    West Virginia University running back Wendell Smallwood took to Twitter mid-afternoon Tuesday to express his feelings after charges of witness intimidation against him were dropped by the state of Delaware.

    July 29, 2014

  • Return to Mountain State exciting for new sports writer

    When I packed my belongings out of my Morgantown apartment in May, fresh with a journalism degree from West Virginia University, I thought I had ended a chapter of my life and closed the book on my experience inside the great Mountain State forever.
    It wasn’t until I received a phone call back in my hometown of Canton, Ohio, from the Times West Virginian that the idea of a return to the area became a possibility. The opportunity to begin my professional career in an area that I’ve become comfortable with for the past several years was too good to pass by.

    July 29, 2014

  • Black Diamond.jpg Black Diamond Express looking to add elite players

     Travel sports are said to be the cream of the crop for young athletes.
    Generally, youth are selected to play on travel league teams based upon a heightened skill level or an ability that exceeds the everyday athlete.
    That’s what the Black Diamond Express softball team in Morgantown is looking for, along with a few new elite players.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Steelers’ Spence caps lengthy comeback

    The whistle blew and Sean Spence sprinted forward, each cathartic step distancing the linebacker from the horrific knee injury that threatened to end his NFL career before it even really began.

    July 28, 2014

  • All tickets claimed for LeBron’s homecoming show

    LeBron James’ Ohio hometown says fans quickly claimed the thousands of tickets available for the homecoming event expected to be his first public appearance in the state since announcing his return to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

    July 28, 2014

  • FSU to hold Falcon Fantasy Camp

    Ever want to be a college football coach? Now you’ll have your chance thanks to Fairmont State University’s Falcon Fantasy Camp.

    July 28, 2014

  • Lawyer: Wife plotted to take over Sterling trust

    A lawyer argued Monday that the estranged wife of Donald Sterling plotted to strip his client from the family trust that owned the Los Angeles Clippers after the head of the NBA said she couldn’t negotiate a sale of the franchise unless she owned all the shares.

    July 28, 2014

  • Were Bowlsby’s fears about college athletics’ future justified?

    I have never met or even talked to Bob Bowlsby, commissioner of the Big 12 Conference.
    But I did read a lengthy story on his 45-minute address to reporters last week on Media Day in Dallas, Texas. Among other things, Bowlsby forecast a startling change threatening the existence of intercollegiate athletics as we have known for these many, many years.

    July 28, 2014

  • Steelers’ Wheaton eyeing chance after tough rookie year

    Markus Wheaton realizes the pressure is there, but he doesn’t mind.

    July 28, 2014

Featured Ads
NDN Sports
House Ads
Auto Racing Photos
Auto Racing Breaking News
Auto Racing Standings