jimodayLast week a story came out about the Montana Football program posting a 3.3 million dollar profit. This news sounded rather impressive, and it was… but the numbers may have been skewed a little with a slight misunderstanding of how the numbers are represented. Jim O’Day, the former Director of Athletics at Montana, breaks down the numbers and paints a clearer picture of the budgets/profits of Montana and Montana State.

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What Do The Financial Numbers Mean for UM/MSU Athletics?

By Jim O’Day

Last week, the Montana University System released information pertaining to the financial pictures of the athletic programs across the state – and particularly those at the University of Montana and Montana State University. The figures were from the fiscal year ending June 30, 2012, and will be reviewed by the Montana Board of Regents on Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013, starting at 11:05 a.m. in Helena.

Typically, these numbers cause considerable confusion not only by those reading the reports, but by news outlets who are trying to report on them.  The most recent news reports are no different.  I’m sure the numbers in these reports are also very confusing to the members of the regents as well – and they are ultimately responsible for the fiscal status of both institutions.

First of all, the numbers are not really a fair “apples-to-apples” comparison – and it appears no two schools are really alike in their reporting philosophies as you scour NCAA audit reports.  For example, the latest report said UM football program posted a $3.3 million profit during the fiscal year ending last June.  Likewise, the report stated that MSU saw a $1.15 million profit. I doubt either is very accurate, and here’s why.

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