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MSU Financial Situation - Athletics

PlayerRep

Well-known member
Thought I'd move this discussion to its own thread.

As already stated in the other thread, MSU's ticket sales went up to $2.4 million with the new football stadium expansion last year. [This compares to UM's $5.4 million in ticket sales in 2012.]

The below linked Chronicle article has alot of information.

"Athletics at Montana State is enjoying unprecedented success, but still the department is facing a budget crunch that has required juggling next fall’s football schedule, raising ticket prices for fans and asking the university for $1.1 million."

"And it is increasing season ticket prices by $30 next fall, or $5 a game, in an effort to generate $400,000 more next fiscal year."

"The university contributed $6.84 million in direct support to athletics in the 2012 fiscal year, the single largest chunk of athletics’ $22.5 million budget. That was a $500,000 increase from 2009."

"Athletics has also submitted three requests, totaling $1.1 million, to MSU’s Budget Council." [MSU's budget shortfall]

"Football game attendance has skyrocketed, from an average 7,000 fans per game in 2000 to 18,883 in 2012. Ticket sales jumped by $700,000 to $2.4 million in 2012, after the new football stadium expansion opened."

http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/montana_state_university/article_9954c7cc-7fab-11e2-a630-001a4bcf887a.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
 
kemajic said:
Old news; article is 8 months old.

No one said it was new news. The article has alot of hard information, and a discussion on the subject was starting in another thread.

Do you ever post anything of substance, or do you mainly just look for typos or weak posts like this one?
 
What kind of support does the UofM give to it's athletic department? From what I've seen before it's a heck of a lot less than MSU, and I think the athletic department actually makes money for the UofM. MSU gets their money from the state to fund their athletic dept. So MSU athletics is propped up by the State, but UofM athletics fends for itself. If the UofM had the same state funding for it's athletics as MSU does it would be lightyears ahead of where it is today. New facilities, new locker rooms, huge recruiting budget etc...
 
Zootown Rox said:
What kind of support does the UofM give to it's athletic department? From what I've seen before it's a heck of a lot less than MSU, and I think the athletic department actually makes money for the UofM. MSU gets their money from the state to fund their athletic dept. So MSU athletics is propped up by the State, but UofM athletics fends for itself. If the UofM had the same state funding for it's athletics as MSU does it would be lightyears ahead of where it is today. New facilities, new locker rooms, huge recruiting budget etc...

UM (and state funding) subsidizes UM's athletic department. However, at least in the past, the amount has been several millions of dollars less than what is done at MSU. I too would like to see the current amount. Some have pointed out that UM also siphons off some athletic revneu for non-athletic things.
 
PlayerRep said:
Zootown Rox said:
What kind of support does the UofM give to it's athletic department? From what I've seen before it's a heck of a lot less than MSU, and I think the athletic department actually makes money for the UofM. MSU gets their money from the state to fund their athletic dept. So MSU athletics is propped up by the State, but UofM athletics fends for itself. If the UofM had the same state funding for it's athletics as MSU does it would be lightyears ahead of where it is today. New facilities, new locker rooms, huge recruiting budget etc...

UM (and state funding) subsidizes UM's athletic department. However, at least in the past, the amount has been several millions of dollars less than what is done at MSU. I too would like to see the current amount. Some have pointed out that UM also siphons off some athletic revneu for non-athletic things.

last year it was about 1 million less than MSU. 6.8 to 5.7 . State(university) funds were 30% of MSU's budget and 28% of UM's budget.
 
UM's state fund help may be more in the next few years since they have been losing enrollment numbers as well. Not only is MSU's football attendance skyrocketing, but their enrollment is as well ... TRENDING UP! :thumb:
 
Kool, I believe the difference may be greater when things like student fees are accounted for.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
How much of that has to do with UM's enrollment decline and the comparitive lack of science/research grant funding?
 
Just received a piece from the UM Foundation with donor support for 2012-13 showing a total of $17,479,777 (with the biggest chunk $4,390,398 going to intecollegiate athletics) of which 52% was from alumni, 55% of grand total from Montanans and 45% from out-of state. Then you need to fill in the balance with state and other monies...
 
Last years student fees were 1.6 for MSU and 1.4 for UM. Those will change again this year due to each schools enrollment figures.

Is this when we get into a debate about what constitutes "state" funds? ;)
 
PlayerRep said:
kemajic said:
Old news; article is 8 months old.

No one said it was new news. The article has alot of hard information, and a discussion on the subject was starting in another thread.

Do you ever post anything of substance, or do you mainly just look for typos or weak posts like this one?
I don't post 8 month old links, since that's what you think is of substance. But it's fun to get under thin skins like you. The opportunity for which one has to get in line....
 
kemajic said:
PlayerRep said:
kemajic said:
Old news; article is 8 months old.

No one said it was new news. The article has alot of hard information, and a discussion on the subject was starting in another thread.

Do you ever post anything of substance, or do you mainly just look for typos or weak posts like this one?
I don't post 8 month old links, since that's what you think is of substance. But it's fun to get under thin skins like you. The opportunity for which one has to get in line....

Like I said, you have no substance in your posts.
 
PlayerRep said:
kemajic said:
Old news; article is 8 months old.

No one said it was new news. The article has alot of hard information, and a discussion on the subject was starting in another thread.

Do you ever post anything of substance, or do you mainly just look for typos or weak posts like this one?

Irony is rich with this one....searching for the Force, Luke...Luke...Yoda.... :lol: :lol: :lol:
 
wbtfg said:
How much of that has to do with UM's enrollment decline and the comparitive lack of science/research grant funding?

The grant/research funding thing is political bread crumbs doled out by DC. It appears Bozo has better lobbyists, particularly when one looks at the make up of the Missoula City council, they are a wet dream for Barry's vision of America. :lol: :lol: :lol:
 
Bozo was the benefactor of former Senator Conrad Burns. He was ag through and through and made sure he took care of MSU.
It just goes to show if you put a Senators' name on a building or two the money flows freely. Testor is as ag as was Burns.
 
MSU athletics has a money problem and has had for many years. It all stems from MSU trying to catch up to UM from a facilities standpoint. This has been going on since UM started building Washington-Grizzly Stadium nearly 30 years ago. The problem was exacerbated a few years ago when the long-range plan of raising the money for the so-called “end zone project” at MSU was fast tracked by the new president and they borrowed about half of the project cost.

Instead of staying the course and continuing to raise the additional millions needed to pay for the project, it was suddenly perceived to be a dire necessity and the new president became a hero in the eyes of the uninformed masses because she ‘got it done’. Ok, it’s done but now what?

The above-linked Bozeman Daily Chronicle article answers that question – MSU athletics continues to have a money problem despite increased football attendance created by the stadium expansion. “Ticket sales jumped by $700,000 to $2.4 million in 2012, after the new football stadium expansion opened” according to the Chronicle article, yet only a couple of months after that football season ended, MSU AD Peter Fields was back at the MSU trough, hat in hand, requesting another $1.1 million for the MSU athletics department. Why?

One of the pieces of the $1.1 million request by the athletics department was for $417,665 to “replace equipment that is inadequate and wearing out”, according to the Chronicle article. That equipment replacement cost should have been budgeted for over the past several years so the money was there to replace it when the time came. Why wasn’t it?

Along those lines, on a much bigger scale, I wonder if MSU is setting aside money now to replace its football stadium artificial turf when the time comes? That was installed in 2008 with donated money so this is the 6th year for it already, and that stuff supposedly lasts for what, 10-12 years. So, they are at least halfway through the life of that turf – do they have the replacement cost for that budgeted? I would think so but if they are not budgeting to replace computers and dumbbells, maybe they are not budgeting for replacement turf either. If not, why aren’t they? Fields is a professional bean counter so why isn’t he budgeting for things like computers and dumbbells? It makes no sense – unless he is being pressured to spend that money on other things, like stadium renovations. I don’t know if that is the case but something doesn’t compute when, two months after the 2012 football season ended during which there were record ticket revenues, he was asking for even more money from the university budget on top of the $6.84 million MSU athletics had already received, and that $6.84 million was $500,000 more than 2009, again according to the Chronicle article.

Then there is the $12-13 million debt from the 1998 Bobcat Stadium and Breeden Fieldhouse renovations. (It should be duly noted that Fields inherited the budget problems that resulted from that spending spree and has been handcuffed financially since.) It is my understanding that MSU athletics is still servicing the debt on both of those projects. In addition, they now have about $4 million in new debt from the ‘end zone’ project of a couple of years ago. So, it would appear that much of their additional so-called ‘game day’ revenue is going toward debt service which is probably why they have to get $6.84 million from the MSU general fund to stay afloat, and even that wasn’t enough, thus the request for another $1.1 million. (The $6.84 million is just over 30% of their $22.5 million total athletics budget. Nearly one-third of their athletics budget comes from the MSU general fund. That’s not good.)

Here’s what appears to be going on at MSU. Expectations of the MSU athletics department (from boosters, alums, fans, etc.) far exceed their financial ability to meet those expectations, thus this quote from Fields in the Chronicle article: “The $1 million athletics is requesting is what’s needed ‘to do our best, to help meet expectations … to build on what we’ve done,’ Fields said. ‘We’ve worked hard to build the program to where we are and we want to continue growing. But we have to live within our means.’”

To me, that sounds like a warning from Fields, saying that there is not enough money to meet the growing expectations of Bobcat supporters yet no one seems to want to acknowledge that, publicly anyway, thus the need to go to the MSU hierarchy for an additional $1.1 million. (I think I read a while back that request was denied by the MSU budget committee in favor of funding other projects on the MSU campus with that money.)

Yet there are many Cat fans who think MSU athletics should now tear down the east grandstand at the football stadium and replace it with seating that is compatible with the new end zone and add sky boxes on the east side as well. Their ‘argument’ is that interest rates are low and fan interest is high so now is the time to do that. What they conveniently ignore is the current financial problems in the MSU athletics department, apparently thinking that another several million dollars in additional stadium debt will somehow solve the financial problem. The money is not there, plain and simple, and it does not matter what interest rates are. That should be obvious when the MSU athletics department is already being subsidized to the tune of $6.84 million a year by the MSU general fund and still needs an additional $1.1 million and this comes immediately on the heels of a significant stadium upgrade that has generated significantly more revenue. The point is the stadium upgrade apparently did not improve the MSU athletics department financial situation, thus the need for the continued (and increasing) subsidy from the MSU general fund.

The MSU athletics department panicked way back in the early 1990’s after they saw the ramifications of Washington Grizzly stadium on the Grizzly football program. They said “the Bobcats have to keep up with the Grizzlies” but they did not have the money to do so and they could not raise it. (The fallout from the Solomonson era was still painfully evident and the Cats not only saw significantly less interest in the football program but significantly less money being donated to the athletics department as well).

So, after several years of trying and failing to raise the money, they borrowed it and made largely cosmetic improvements to the football stadium in the late 1990’s in an attempt to ‘catch up’ but they fell significantly short of doing so. The field itself was still a mess, the end zone seats were still bad, etc. They did what they could with what they had to work with but it was woefully inadequate. Then a few years ago the 1984 national championship team donated the money for the artificial turf, which was a huge and much-needed improvement, but the rest of the stadium was still far from what UM had.

Years passed, attempts to raise money for stadium upgrades continued and then one day a few years ago a new MSU president rode into town and sensed that a good way to quickly make a name for herself with many in the MSU community was to simply spend a bunch more money (money MSU did not have) to do the ‘end zone project’, and she did it. Why the regents approved that is beyond me but politics outweighed common sense and it happened. (As an aside about that then-new MSU president: she was hired for that position only after the first choice turned the MSU job down and the other finalist had withdrawn; she was hired by default. It was either that or start the search process all over again. Another interesting factoid about her was that she had been the interim president at New Mexico State University for almost a year after being on the staff there for several years but then wasn’t even a finalist for the president’s job there when interviews for the permanent position were held. Hmmm. Also, one of the things she says on her CV that she did while interim president at NMSU was “revamped football team”, whatever that means. After she missed the cut on the NMSU president’s job, she went back to being an executive vice-president/provost and apparently started sending out resumes, thus ending up at MSU.)

This past summer MSU spent another million bucks to finally pave the parking lot between the Fieldhouse and the football stadium (something that should have been done thirty five years ago) and some of that money also went to put in paved driving areas and lighting in the tailgate areas surrounding the stadium. Supposedly the MSU athletic department has said that is the end of the spending on the football stadium and surrounding area despite the fact the east grandstand still needs some Rustoleum and paint. #bakesales

MSU athletics (this time it was actually the new MSU president) again decided they had to spend a bunch of money they did not have to try to keep up with UM and now they are again in tough financial shape. What happens when the very successful ‘McGhee era’ ends in a couple of months – will MSU continue to sell their stadium out next year and the year after and the year after that? If not, then what financially? As Fields also said in the Chronicle article regarding the dropping of the NDSU game and other scheduling changes: “We had to generate a home game,” Fields said, calling it “critically important to us financially.”

When you have the AD using the phrase “critically important to us financially”, that’s probably a bad sign when it comes to the athletic department finances. If he had said something like “necessary” or “significant” that is one thing but the phrase “critically important” conveys an entirely different overall message. And now that she has spent a bunch of money MSU did not have, how much longer do you think the MSU president is going to be around? Will she be around until that new stadium debt is paid off? I’m guessing ‘no’, that greener pastures will beckon soon (at a university that has more of other people’s money to spend) and her successor will get to deal with the ramifications of that debt load on the stadium.

It would be very interesting to see a detailed spread sheet produced by the MSU athletics department that shows specifics regarding their revenues versus their expenditures. Then we could see just how “critically important” a sixth home football game is every year, the play-up game revenue is every year and that $6.84 million backfill amount from the MSU general fund is every year. What happens if the next MSU president says “no more” of that backfilling? Or the Board of Regents says “no more”? A second FBS play-up game won’t come close to covering that $6.84 million so what happens then? If they lose that subsidy and they can’t raise it via fundraising every year, then there are only two options left for the MSU athletics department – huge ticket price increases (which will likely result in even less revenue due to having fewer fans who can or will pay those huge price increases) or massive budget cuts, which will jeopardize MSU’s Division I status because of inability to meet Title IX requirements as well as being unable to compete financially in regard to recruiting, coach’s salaries, etc. Either way, they would be facing major changes within the athletics department. This is what can happen when an athletics department becomes largely dependent on taxpayer funding (remember, nearly one-third of the MSU athletics department budget comes from the MSU general fund) and thereby is at the mercy of the political whims of the decision makers, especially when they have a large amount of long-term debt relative to their revenue streams.

Correspondingly, MSU recently announced they have a $3.5 million shortfall in their research department. They have apparently taken $2 million out of their general fund to cover part of that shortfall but are now desperately looking for the remaining $1.5 million. (The MSU president has appointed a task force to find the money somewhere. Maybe she should appoint a task force for the athletics department also.) Part of the reason that happened is that they reportedly financed long term debt with short term revenue streams (federal government research grant money) and now research grant money is drying up all over the country, thus the shortfall in that department. What happens if/when the $6.84 million from the MSU general fund now going to MSU athletics dries up and/or gets re-directed to someplace else on campus, like the research department for example? MSU has a lot of its eggs in its research basket and the ramifications not only on campus but around Bozeman and nationally of a severely reduced research program will be much larger both economically and reputationally for MSU than will a reduction in funding for the athletics department. Athletics fans don’t like hearing that but it’s true and when push comes to shove, if it boils down to money for research or money for athletics, research will prevail at MSU. And then what does the athletics department do? I wonder if the NCAA has a bailout program for university athletics programs like the federal government has for banks and car companies?

What happens if MSU’s long-term stadium debt can no longer be supported by a short term revenue stream like game ticket sales because fan interest wanes (the bandwagon fan syndrome), increased ticket prices reduce demand or the economy tanks worse than it already has because of all of those less than thirty hours per week jobs Obamacare is creating? MSU athletics has historically been unable to fundraise to the level of its expectations so why is there reason to think they could do so in the future if need be? Could they raise that almost $7 million shortfall every year (actually it’s nearly $8 million if you add in the $1.1 million in additional money purportedly needed this year as discussed in the Chronicle article)? Apparently not. What then? Hope for a major sugar daddy to step forward every year? Sell the Museum of the Rockies to Ted Turner? What?

Just because there is record student enrollment at MSU doesn’t mean there aren’t financial concerns on that campus - there are. Just because there is record football attendance doesn’t mean there aren’t financial issues in the MSU athletics department - the Chronicle article indicates there are. Things are not as rosy on the MSU campus as many around Montana think they are and the likelihood of things worsening financially at MSU appears to be at least equal to the likelihood of them improving. Belt-tightening is not something most in academia are used to (or think they should be subjected to) but they had better start getting used to it because it’s only going to become more necessary. Those universities (and athletics programs) that have little debt will be in better shape to ride out the lean financial times than those that are carrying a lot of it in the face of reduced federal and state spending. Many are convinced that UM’s ship is sinking while MSU’s is riding high. All that is actually happening is that UM is in some rough water right now while MSU is sailing on relatively smooth water. Their turn in the rough water is coming, sooner rather than later. The signs are there.
 
everyone keep in mind that the state doesnt determine how much athletics gets. each individual institution gets a lump sum and doles it out according to their needs.
I trust president Cruzado in her decision to give the ok for the stadium expansion. With that quick of fundraising to get it built it was a no brainer to build it. i'm sure if attendance keeps up, it will be paid off sooner than later.
Now as far as research grants, msu is science heavy university, um is a liberal arts university. it's only common sense that msu will have more funding. to say that burns or tester are the reason for the high funding is laughable. burns got money for the telecommunication center. last i heard, physics was the highest, or one one the highest grant earners on campus.
 
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