Athletics pays University offices $9.3 million
The Department of Intercollegiate Athletics makes payments to the University and to several University offices each year that total more than $9.3 million.
If you didnt know that, its not surprising. Neither did the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics until it compiled a comprehensive list last fall.
We had never seen a statement of what the department, overall, contributes to the University and the community, says Jane Meyer, senior associate director of athletics. Each area within athletics knew what it paid, but we hadnt gathered the payments into one list. When we added it all up, it was significant.
The department gathered the figures after some members of the Faculty Senate questioned the increased use of general fund contributions to athletics at a time of budgetary crisis when general fund dollars for academic purposes are being reduced.
Yes, we do receive University funding for womens sports, but we also support the University from our own funds, says Rick Klatt, associate director for external affairs. We decided at that point that we needed to do a better job of informing our peers on campus about the nuances of our operation.
Jeffrey Cox, chair of the Faculty Senate, says the departments list doesnt change his opinion.
The real contributions of the athletic department to the University are often intangible, but still very real, he says.
Cox says the key issues of concern to faculty are the increasing red ink in athletics caused by rapid inflation of coaches salaries and facilities costs and the pressure on the general fund budget caused by those escalating costs at a time when general fund contributions to basic educational needs are being scaled back. The more we spend on coaches salaries and facilities, the less athletics has available for activities funded by the general fund. Its the general fund shortage that is causing increased class sizes for undergraduates.
The $2.4 million payment to athletics from the general fund was started when mens and womens sports had separate departments, Klatt says. They merged in 2001 into one department. The general fund money supports varsity womens soccer and womens rowing programs, enhances staff salaries, and helps to meet the requirements of Title IX, which has required that womens sports opportunities be provided at the same level as womens enrollment in the University.
We are still committed to growing womens intercollegiate athletics, Meyer says. We are committed to gender equity throughout the University. The merger hasnt changed that commitment.
One of the largest payments made by the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics is for the full cost of in-state and out-of-state tuition, room and board, and fees for scholarship student athletes: $4.8 million in 2001-02, $5.5 million in 2002-03, and more than $6 million in 2003-04.
We dont receive any breaks on tuition, says Mick Walker, assistant to the athletics director for business operations. Graduate students on scholarship frequently are charged in-state tuition even if they come from out of Iowa. But we pay full tuition.
Walker says approximately 75 percent of the 600-plus student-athletes typically involved in the program are from out-of-state.
When reversions occur and the state of Iowa asks for money to be returned to the state, athletics returns money just as academic departments do, says Mark Abbott, assistant to the athletics director for administration.
But when an academic department needs a new building, the revenues that make it possible come from donors gifts, the University, or state contributions. Athletics, on the other hand, has funded almost entirely the facilities it manages or uses, which are estimated at almost $600 million in replacement cost. The building projects go through the Board of Regents, State of Iowa, in the same way that other University construction projects do, Abbott says. The University obtains the financing for the building, and athletics pays it back to the University with yearly debt service payments.
New buildings, such as the $5 million Russell and Ann Gerdin Athletic Learning Center currently under construction on Melrose Avenue, are planned and managed by staff from Facilities Services Group and approval and design processes follow the same procedures as projects for the rest of the University, Klatt says.
Recent projects that have been paid for entirely with private funding, in addition to the learning center, include:
The Kenyons gift allowed us to create a rare win-win-win situation, Meyer says. The old facilitys soil was so compacted that we couldnt grow grass there any longer. We needed to move that field. Meanwhile, the Department of Parking and Transportation needed more parking in this area, and people coming to the Kinnick parking lot needed a way to walk to campus.