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Hey DCVOL, fellow JHU alum!!
Just my two cents, but this all seems pretty standard.
- When things were going well, the UTAD did what most profitable programs do and gave money to the school. Common practice.
- When things were going bad, the school gave the UTAD a three year break from making payments. This makes sense, because it would be a disaster for the AD to drop below the reserves and have to take money from academics.
- The above got bad press, because the academics side is losing money due to the struggles of the AD. This looks bad to non-sports fans.
- In a response to the bad academic press, the school released a statement clarifying how the the school will not be giving anything additional to the AD. They had to deliver the message strongly, or else naitonal UT looks like a joke academically. You can't layoff teachers to hire a WR coach.
Quite possibly this is saber rattling from the administration in advance of the legislature convening in January.
The Tennessee legislature is not a Mensa convention by any means, and the talk lately that academics is “bailing out” athletics will be taken by some of the Nashville solons as meaning state appropriations are being redirected from academics to athletics.
In fact, all that has been done is the administration has agreed to let UTAD stop donating $6 million a year for the next three years. Its the same argument the government makes over tax cuts. Allowing people to keep their own money is not the same as giving them money.
UT has never done an adequate job of explaining that UT’s sports programs are not funded by state taxpayers. I ate out a Vandy fan in Nashville years ago when he was sitting in the stands bitching about his tax money paying for the Pride of the Southland Band.
I hear you TnBear. I did run across one article that hinted that there was a little feud between the President and the Chancellor. It did not expound on the details.
When I was looking for information on this stuff, I saw where Cheek was hired in 2009. Not sure if that's enough time for one man to screw things up, if you know what I mean. I do remember tidbits of information from the late 1990's that suggested there was a riff between the academics and athletics. I guess the most questionalbe thing for me right now is that you hear there's a problem, but not one reporter has actually done a story on it. It just doesn't pass the smell test...... at least to me.
I have heard, from what I consider a reputable source, that this feud, in one form or another, goes back as far as 1982. I can't confirm that.
Thanks - Always good to hear from JHU folks. I understand the exchange of funds scenario. It is just that the university is not "giving" money to the AD. They simply are temporarily not taking as much $$$ from AD. So - the vice chancellor is not telling the truth (to my knowledge - to be fair) when he says that the academic side is not "giving" the AD anymore money. They never were giving the AD money (to my knowledge). Also, if reports are true, the AD (including the historically good football team) is struggling because of academic requirements placed on them that are over and above NCAA reqs and apaprently more than at least some other SEC schools (true or not - I don't know). In other words, they helped create the present situation. If prospective coaches are asking about this in interviews, it is likely a pretty big deal. Don't get me wrong, I am all for academics. what you learn in school helps in life. However, I also think that - if the football program slides a whole lot further - fewer students will want to come to UT - and you will end up laying off more teachers (if any have been laid off). I think it is a valid point that a great many students choose to come to UT based, in part, on the atmosphere of going to UT athletic events (particularly football games). Remove that attraction, or lessen it greatly, and UT becomes just another (much smaller) choice of (good) schools among many. Hope all is well.
This post was edited by DCVOL 19 months ago
I can believe it. Sounds like a lot of drama. If anyone knows the whole story, they could probably make a ton of money by writing a book. I can also see where there might be quite a few people that don't want any information to come out..... speaking politcally, of course.
And knowing you, I bet you enjoyed every second of it.
Saw that one too. Wasn't quite sure how to respond.....
That's an understatement
I have a question...if folks believe that all athletic departments should raise enough revenue from donations, tickets, merchandise sales etc to cover expenses why is that not true for MTSU, University of Memphis, Tennessee Tech, ETSU, AP, UTM and UTC?
UT not only has transferred $6.0million yearly to the University general fund they have been paying the debt service for recent constructed parking garages used by students attending class and professors and administrative staff of the University.
You took the words out of my mouth Ma, but that probably is no surprise to you! UT is one of VERY few schools where the athletic department is not subsidized in some way. That doesn't mean a change is needed. The UT budget and AD budget are separate, but intertwined nonetheless. One can argue how it ought to be -- either way -- but that doesn't change what it IS. The university giving up the $6 million per year was a MAJOR concession, and I think the Vice Chancellor is saying that's as far as they plan to go. The AD needs to be accountable to that budget level in their plans. If athletic revenues continue to go south, look for the university to pick up costs such as parking garage payments rather than cutting a check to the AD to cover a loss. Much more palatable, and would raise very few eyebrows. However, the AD will have to make cuts as well. Neither side can ignore the other, and they will have to find a way to make it work.
Cimino is either severely mistaken in his remarks or is covering up the truth. The University hasn't given money to the AD in decades. For the last 10+ years, the UTAD has been one of the few departments in the country to generate a profit. However, unlike other profitable athletic departments who keep those profits in-house, the UTAD was forced to give the academic side funds as a result of some issues that happened in the early 90s (I think that's the right timeframe). This $18M figure being tossed around isn't the academic side funding the AD, it's the academic side giving back the funds that originally came from the AD in the first place. Outside of the whole HC situation, Hart's biggest contribution to UT so far (in my opinion) is finally making Cheek recognize that the practice of using AD profits to fund academics was putting the athletic department at a competitive disadvantage when compared to the rest of the SEC.
I don't think people are saying that athletic departments everywhere should raise enough revenue to cover expenses, clearly they can't. The issue is that UT is the first, to my knowledge, school that was independent and giving money to the school, and then not only stopped giving money but is also in RISK of running over budget and having insufficient reserves to cover the tab.
Tnoak - maybe I am reading the article wrong, but I don't think Cimino is saying that. He is just clarifying that despite the budget problems of the AD, we have enough money in other accounts where the school will not be forced to step in to bail out the AD.
Also, there is clearly an academic advantage to the AD being strong and putting out good teams. 100% agree. The problem is that for all of the expenditure in athletics, there has not been an ROI.
Spot on tntoak, especially your last sentence.
Only problem is that the administration is not "giving back $18 million." No money is passing from academics to athletics. Athletics is keeping its own $18 million.
We have all got to say this right or it's going to cause political/budget problems for UT and UTAD for years. "Giving money to athletics" sounds like Tennessee is misappropriating education funds, and that is not what is happening here.
I agree with you on the language being really important here.
I am just saying from a PR perspective, UT could never give back any of the money they have received from UTAD because it would be seen as academics being sacrificed for athletics.
But is the problem that the AD is overspending, or that in relations to other SEC schools looking to be powers in football, that the UTAD is giving more money to the academic side than those other schools? This is a question - not a statement - I don't know the answer. I have read (and perhaps the sources I read from are not valid) that the UTAD gives much more money back to the academic side than Alabama and other SEC powers. If that is true, then I don't think people should have a problem with the AD keeping some of that money right now when there is a crisis. Also, if that is the case, then the university needs to clearly explain that this is the case and not make these types of statements which make the AD seem like the bad guy when they have , in fact, given above and beyond the ADs from their competing SEC schools. That stated - maybe what I have read about the ADs giving to the school has been wrong.
There's an axiom that bad times don't kill businesses, it's good times that kill businesses. When business is good, costs can be added with no worries, underperforming personnel can be carried , and so forth. Then when business dips, those mistakes become apparent and often doom the whole enterprise.
And that's what happened at UT. In the 1990s and early 2000s Tennessee football was at its peak and flush with cash. This coincided with a decline in state appropriations and a presidential leadership crisis that affected private giving. Among other things, many of UT's aspirational peers were well into billion-dollar endowment campaigns while UT was operating a revolving door in Andy Holt Tower.
Simply stated, UT was broke and UTAD was comparatively rich. And so the raid on UTAD's resources began.
And here we are.
Your comment on the ROI is true up to the point that the ROI is negatively affected by the 6 million a year to academics. Like many folks in this world the admin/academic side think money happens in a vacuum and requires little if any investment or strategy. It's just a gimme' mentality that's both thoughtless and at the least intellectual laziness.
What a smug attitude by academia. There was nothing that said the atheletics dept had to give 6 mil a year to the Academic dept as a matter of fact most schools don't do that. The Academic side makes like they are giving Football 18 mil over the next 3 years. Thats not accurate. I would advise the Academic side to lose the attitude or you may never see the 6 mil per year or the new SEC TV revenue.
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