Athletics costs climb with new facilities at Iowa

UI athletic expenses increase from last year by nearly $14 million

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IOWA CITY — University of Iowa athletics expenses soared by nearly $14 million while revenue grew by $4.6 million during the 2011 fiscal year, according to figures reported to the NCAA.

The annual report, obtained by The Gazette through the state open-records law, showed the athletics department earned more than $93.3 million last year. However, expenses totaled about $88 million, up from $74.4 million for fiscal year 2010.

“While sometimes it’s difficult to see the fluctuation, in this case it’s always intentional,” Iowa Athletics Director Gary Barta said. “We knew we were bringing on a new building, and while we were doing that, we were raising money. So our revenue went up to support the new debt.”

More than half of the increase in expenses came from the facilities/maintenance/debt service category, which totaled more than $21.86 million. That $6.9 million included the following payments, according to associate athletics director for external affairs Rick Klatt:

  • $3.3 million paid on the outstanding balance on the Jacobson Building renovation
  • $1.3 million toward $47 million Carver-Hawkeye Arena renovation and new practice facility
  • $1.1 million toward $7 million Beckwith Boathouse
  • $347,000 increase on debt service for campus recreation center
  • $195,000 for utilities increase from moving department offices to Kinnick Stadium during Carver renovation
  • $155,000 toward Kinnick Stadium artificial turf

Salaries for coaching and administrators/support staffs increased by more than $2.8 million from 2010 to 2011. The football coaching staff was paid more than $7.7 million in salaries, benefits and bonuses, up by more than $1 million from fiscal year 2010 and nearly $2.4 million more than fiscal year 2007.

Coach Kirk Ferentz renegotiated his contract in February 2010. His salary, benefits and bonuses totaled more than $4.33 million for the 2011 fiscal year that ended June 30.

“I think anytime you include football in a salary increase, if you’re looking across the board and throughout the department, clearly the marketplace is such — not just at Iowa, but everywhere — where those salaries can certainly skew averages,” Barta said.

Coaching salaries were the department’s second-largest expense at more than $15 million.

Much of the $1.68 million increase for administrators/support staff — $13.55 million overall — came from shifting about $850,000 in wages for hourly and student employees to that category. Administrators and staff received a 2.5 percent salary increase.

“In 2008 and 2009, like everybody else in the country, it was lean times,” Barta said. “We were cutting every corner we could. Eventually, that catches up with you, so you’re seeing some growth.”

Iowa spent $777,000 more in 2011 than in 2010 on financial aid, totaling more than $9.36 million.

The department earned more than $26.6 million in contributions, $24.27 million from the Big Ten/NCAA and nearly $23.2 million in ticket sales last year.

The football program sold more than $20.2 million in tickets for fiscal year 2010, up by nearly $1 million from the previous season. Football ticket revenue has increased $5.7 million over the last seven fiscal years. Football’s specific revenue topped $44.5 million, generating nearly 79 percent of the sport-specific revenue.

Revenue increases last year came from two primary areas — $1.6 million from a one-time sale of 2 percent equity in the BTN to Fox and a $1.37 million jump in overall ticket sales.

Iowa earned about $900,000 more in licensing and royalties last year. The department received a $550,000 increase from Learfield Sports.

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