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Old 01-11-2015, 06:10 PM   #1
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UT athletics finished last year with $2.8M budget shortfall

Records show the University of Texas' athletic department finished the 2013-14 academic year in the red for the first time in more than a dozen years.

The powerful athletic program had a $2.8 million shortfall, which came a year after the department saw a nearly $10 million surplus, the Austin American-Statesman reported Sunday. The last academic year the department lost money was 1999-2000.

Fewer concerts at the Erwin Center and the cost of changing football coaches — going from Mack Brown to Charlie Strong — apparently eroded the Longhorns' financial cushion.

"I think we're still healthy," Texas athletic director Steve Patterson told the newspaper. "I'm encouraged with the ticket sales in both (men's and women's) basketball programs and volleyball. I think all things considered, we sold well."

An Austin accounting firm found the department had about $161 million in revenue and $163.8 million in expenses — both of which still lead the nation.

Football ticket sales remained the same, approximately $34 million from one year to the next. But revenue from men's and women's basketball and baseball ticket sales all fell. Patterson has not indicated whether football ticket prices will go up next season.

Brown got a $2.75 million severance package, but the payout is structured over four years. And the department also incurred a one-time charge of $4.375 million to buy out Strong's contract at Louisville. The money came from reserves and not the operating budget, Patterson said, dropping the overall reserve total to about $35 million.

A new expense could be added for 2015-16, as the NCAA is expected to pass rules at its convention next week that allow schools to pay athletes full tuition and for use of their name, image and likeness. Patterson has said he's budgeting $6 million to cover that expenditure.

Simple math alone shows that Texas football must succeed: The 100,000-seat stadium didn't fill up once this past season, during which the Longhorns finished 6-7.

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