Income from the University of Iowa’s most lucrative sports — football and basketball — continued to decline in the budget year that just ended, while Iowa State football and basketball ticket sales sustained an upward trajectory, according to new Board of Regents documents.
The UI drops were offset by its receipts from a profitable Big Ten television contract, with conference contributions jumping from $36.2 million in 2017 to $52.5 million in the budget year that just ended. The university is expecting those contributions to grow to $53 million next year, when it projects football and basketball revenue will bounce back.
The self-supporting UI athletics enterprise is anticipating a total operating budget of $121.9 million next year, up from $116.6 million this year and $115.1 million in 2017.
Iowa State, while bringing in less at $78 million in 2017, also saw its athletics revenue grow to $83.3 million in 2018 — with projections for $84.6 million in the budget year that started July 1.
The new numbers are part of a 2019 budget the Board of Regents are expected to approve next week. The university athletics departments report different numbers to the NCAA.
The Iowa State and University of Iowa athletics enterprises are self-sustaining and receive no direct general university support, and thus historically have not made direct contributions to their larger campuses.
But UI changed that practice recently, with the athletics department budgeting $2 million a year for general university support as the campus struggles with state funding takebacks and generational de-appropriations. It also contributes to the university by paying for public safety, hospital, parking, utilities, business and residential services, among other things.
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In total, the UI athletics department projects it will contribute $23.7 million to the larger campus in the current year. Iowa State, which does not give any money directly to the larger campus, does contribute through payment for services to the tune of $24 million.
The University of Northern Iowa, unlike its regent counterparts, is not self-sustaining. In the new budget year, it will receive $3.46 million in operational support and $1.28 million in scholarship support from the larger university.
“Since UNI athletics does not receive substantial revenues from conference distributions and other sources, the general university provides athletic support for scholarships and operations,” according to Board of Regents documents.
UNI’s football and basketball revenue, like at UI, has been declining or coming in under budget in recent years.
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