|Florida's 2009-10 athletic budget tops $89 million|
|Written by Admin|
|Monday, 22 June 2009 14:42|
The budget, passed Monday, will total more than $89 million despite a 10 percent cut in nearly every sport. Football and men's basketball saw budget increases.
Though the budget increased, the school's athletic department - the University Athletic Association - actually cut $2.9 million from last year's $83 million budget.
However, those cuts were offset by a $6 million contribution to the university, a tuition raise (the UAA pays for its athletic scholarships), coaching salary incentives and the addition of women's lacrosse.
The department also raised its projected revenue by $8.1 million, to $90.7 million. The biggest boost will come from the Southeastern Conference's new television contract with CBS and ESPN, which will pay each school $6.2 million more this year than the previous deal.
The 15-year deal should give the conference more exposure than ever by broadcasting at least 11 of every football team's 12 games and by broadcasting every conference men's basketball game.
``The league is going to get some unbelievable exposure,'' athletic director Jeremy Foley said.
The school's athletic department, fared much better Monday than the university. Last month, the university announced $42 million in budget cuts and layoffs of nine faculty members and 49 staff employees.
Foley told coaches in every sport to trim operating budgets by 10 percent, and many did. However, football and men's basketball - the two revenue-generating sports - increased their budgets slightly. The football budget rose 2.3 percent to $6.36 million. Basketball went up 1.6 percent to $1.8 million.
``Some coaches probably cut back on equipment, some coaches may have cut back on their travel or their mode of transportation or done something differently,'' Foley said. ``That was an individual decision made by our coaches. ... How that impacts them, time will tell.''
The athletic budget announced Monday did not include a raise for football coach Urban Meyer. Meyer led the Gators to their second national title in three years in January, but his contract will remain at $3.25 million annually - at least during this economic downturn.
``When the timing is right, we'll sit down with Urban,'' Foley said. ``We understand the sensitivity of it all. He's a highly valued employee. We've got to take care of our future. But we'll determine that timing.''
Meyer earned $375,000 in bonuses last season: $75,000 for winning the SEC championship, $250,000 for winning the national title and $50,000 for a top-10 finish in The Associated Press poll.
Meyer signed his current contract in 2007 after Florida won its first national title in a decade.
The budget also showed that the UAA owes about $84 million in bonds, much of it stemming from a $50 million renovation to Ben Hill Griffin Stadium nearly a decade ago. Despite the large debt in a fluctuating economic market, the UAA still donated $6 million to the university.
``We're blessed to have significant resources,'' Foley said. ``When you have a significant year like we just had or you sign a new television contract, and the university's hurting, it's only right that you assist where you can. We're a separate corporation, but it doesn't mean we're not a part of this institution.''