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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Men’s hoops tops nation in bringing in revenue

    The Arizona men’s basketball team reported the highest revenues for the 2004-2005 school year of all teams that played in the NCAA tournament this spring, but athletics officials said that news can be misleading.

    The Arizona men’s basketball team reported revenues of about $16.6 million for the 2004-2005 school year to the Department of Education in October, but John Perrin, a senior associate director of athletics, said the team’s revenues only appear to be more than other schools like the University of Kentucky and the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

    Because athletics departments list some revenues that are not allocated to any particular team or sport, those funds are most likely generated in some way by men’s football or basketball teams, Perrin said.

    For example, the University of Kentucky’s men’s basketball team reported about $12.8 million in revenues, but the school reported $20.1 million in unallocated revenues, while the UA reported about $4.3 million in unallocated revenues.

    Perrin said that based on those numbers, men’s basketball teams at schools like the University of Kentucky have revenue figures similar to the UA’s.

    But even though the UA men’s basketball team was making profits last year, the athletics department was not, Perrin said.

    Because the men’s football and basketball teams are the only profitable teams in the athletics department, their revenues support the 17 other teams in the department, Perrin said.

    “”Their net incomes go into the athletic department general fund,”” Perrin said.

    He said the athletics department hasn’t received any state funding or student fees since 2003 and was directed to remain financially self-sustaining by UA President Peter Likins.

    The department generates its own funds through ticket sales, television revenues, concessions, donations and post-season bowls and tournaments, according to the athletics department’s Web site.

    Perrin said Likins also told the athletics department to stay out of a deficit.

    According to the athletic department’s Web site, about 80 percent of Division IA programs operate with a deficit, while the UA’s athletic department has had a positive year-end balance each year since 1985.

    Chris Del Conte, a senior associate director of athletics, said some people have a perception that the athletics department is a “”cash cow,”” but that’s not really the case.

    This year the athletic department is looking for ways to raise more money next year to pay for state employee raises in its budget, said Russ Dean, assistant athletic director of tickets and sales.

    Dean said men’s basketball season ticket holders will not be given priority pricing exemptions next year because the department needs the additional funds to help pay for mandated state employee raises within the department.

    Del Conte said the department must also generate more funds for unexpected increases in airfare and gas prices, and last year the department had to lay off 19 employees to save funds.

    Perrin said the overall goal of the athletic department is to make sure its budget has enough funds so that teams can compete at a “”top-10″” level, without being a financial drain on the UA.

    “”We’re self-sustaining and we choose to do that. Out of respect of the faculty, the president and the students, we do the right thing by not being a burden,”” Del Conte said.

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