IOWA CITY — University of Iowa athletics department revenues exceeded expenses by nearly $10 million during fiscal year 2008, according to figures obtained by The Gazette through the Freedom of Information Act.
Iowa athletics department expenses totaled more than $71.6 million last year while bringing in more than $81.5 million in revenue, according to an annual report filed to the NCAA. But most — if not all — of that surplus is allocated toward capital projects, said Rick Klatt, Iowa’s associate athletics director for external affairs.
“I know we’re bristling at the term ‘surplus,’” Klatt said. “In each of these cases, it’s pretty much an earmarked thing. The whole idea of a surplus, that we’ve got a bucket load of money sitting around is absurd, when in fact the overwhelming majority of it is already dedicated or planned or committed to a project.
“The last thing we’d like to see is a headline that reads we have a $9 million surplus right now, because we don’t have one. It’s not like the money is stuck in a rainy-day fund.”
The NCAA numbers dwarfed Iowa’s original athletics department 2008 budget request provided to the state Board of Regents in August 2007. Iowa’s request was $61.5 million, about 10 percent more than the previous fiscal year. Klatt said the comparison is “apples to oranges.” Around $5 million is attributed to miscellaneous giving through the UI Foundation, Klatt said. The Board of Regents and the NCAA account for ticket sales differently, with the NCAA counting the gross, while the Board of Regents calculates the net sales.
“For example, $4.5 (million) of that in the NCAA report is football and men’s basketball ticket income from Big Ten Conference games,” Klatt said. “In the Board of Regents report, that money isn’t there. In our league we share revenues. In the Board of Regents number, we have a net number of sales in those two sports showing, but in the NCAA number, you have a gross number. So $4.5 (million) right there is attributed to Big Ten accounting procedures.”
Big Ten schools share 35 percent of home ticket receipts in football and men’s basketball up to a designated ceiling.
Iowa provided The Gazette with a financial outline for the 2008 surplus. Nearly $4.6 million of the surplus was earmarked for specific capital projects. In that category, the department received gifts totaling $1.446 million for the planned Carver-Hawkeye Arena renovation, pledge payments of $1.262 million (Hall of Fame) and $1 million (Gerdin Athletic Center), as well as nearly $900,000 in gifts for the completed Kinnick Stadium renovation and upcoming boathouse project.
More than $4.3 million of its surplus was dedicated to other capital projects, such as $2 million for Cretzmeyer Track renovation and $367,300 for the recreation building renovation. The department also stashed $2 million for the Kinnick Stadium bond reserve.
Iowa’s athletics department has enjoyed a surplus of $41 million the last four fiscal years. Along with the near $10 million from fiscal year 2008, Iowa totaled $10.3 million in surplus in 2007, $14.1 million in 2006 and $6.7 million in 2005. The rise in annual surpluses coincides with contributions for the $90 million Kinnick Stadium renovation.
In 2008, the department generated $22.65 million through the NCAA and Big Ten for tournament/bowl revenues, television and multimedia rights. The department received more than $21.4 million in contributions and earned more than $19.1 million in ticket sales, of which $15.8 million came from football.
The department’s largest expense came in facilities expenditures, which includes maintenance and debt services. Iowa’s football program spent nearly $9 million in this category, a nearly $500,000 increase from fiscal year 2007. Coaching salaries ($12 million) and administrative/support staff salaries ($10.6 million) provided the next highest expense.
The department’s annual revenues and expenditures document is sent to the NCAA and is not yet audited. Iowa’s athletics department in entirely self-sufficient and does not receive money from the university.