Part 2 of 3 in a series regarding the finances for UVU Athletics
Kyle McDonald | Sports editor | @kylesportsbias
Many fans would have you believe that whichever team in a university athletic department generates the most revenue or has the most fans would have the biggest budget. At Utah Valley University, that just isn’t the case.
There is a hierarchy at UVU as budgets for the athletic teams are based upon need such as how many athletes are on the team, equipment needs, travel expenses etc. Take for instance the UVU track and field teams. There are around 100 athletes combined between the men’s and women’s teams. They might not generate much revenue because they only have one home meet per year and the rest of the time they are travelling across the country to compete. However, they don’t get more or less than what they need just because of that. The UVU baseball team is the same way. They have to travel to play games and they have a solid fan base that generates some revenue at home games. But the money they earn through ticket sales, merchandise sales and concessions goes into the general athletic fund that is then split amongst the athletic teams according to what the needs of other teams are.
“There is another misnomer that the teams that have the largest crowds or generate the most revenue also get the most money budget wise,” UVU senior associate athletic director Jared Sumsion said. “That just isn’t how it works. Budgets are based off of what the team needs. The baseball team will get more than the golf team because they have 30 student-athletes compared to just eight for the golf team. The baseball team needs more money for travelling, equipment, etc.”
This isn’t to say that a team can’t obtain more money but it would have to come by way of a donor rather than out of the general athletic budget. A donor can give money to the university’s general athletic fund, which will be spread out by way of scholarships or other things that the athletic department needs. But that same donor can also declare that they want their money go toward building a new softball stadium or upgrading the soccer facilities.
“If a donor comes in and says ‘I want this money to go towards building a new softball stadium’ that money will go towards building a new softball stadium,” Sumsion said. “But if it’s not specified where the money is to go to, it goes into the general athletic fund and then we use it for scholarships and other financial needs within the department.”
Corporate sponsorships are another form of generating money within the UVU Athletic Department. They partner with the university for advertising and marketing benefits while the university gets the monetary benefits that also go into the general athletic fund as another way to fill scholarship and budget needs.
Some of the money that comes from corporate sponsorships or donors can go towards building new athletic facilities as well. In fact, there is even a rumor going around that the university is in talks to build a new basketball practice facility and potential weight room, as well as an indoor soccer facility with weight room. This is all speculation, of course, but it is what donated funds and sponsorship funds go toward as well as scholarships, travel budgets, equipment, and upgrades to facilities.
“We might not be the biggest school or the most well-known,” Sumsion said. “But one thing we do want is to stay within our budget while also making decisions that will help us grow as a department and help us with recruiting and put us on the map. It may not happen right away but the dividends are starting to pay off.”
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