I admit to being struck by the juxtaposition between UAB cancelling its football program because of finances, per its president…
The president says this wasn’t the outcome anyone wanted but the numbers are the numbers. The athletic director who led the strategic study gets a new job title and is nowhere to be found. Reporters grill the president on what this really is all about and when the decision was made.
UAB said it already subsidizes $20 million of the roughly $30 million annual athletic department operating budget. The university cited continually spiraling athletic costs in college sports, including cost of attendance stipends to players. UAB’s strategic report by consultant Bill Carr listed UAB’s cost of attendance figure at about $5,442 per scholarship.
Carr’s report forecast UAB’s expenses with football increasing from $30.2 million in 2015 to $38.5 million in 2019 while generated revenue is expected to grow by less than $1 million. UAB is committed to providing institutional support of $14.5 million annually, along with student fee increases of 3 percent per year, the report said.
Carr calculated the cumulative net deficit at $25.3 million over the next five years. Without football, Carr predicted a five-year net revenue of $2 million and the difference in operating expenses would be $27.3 million over five years with football.
On top of that, UAB determined it needed an incremental capital investment of $22.2 million in football facilities (outdoor practice field, multisport indoor practice facility and a football administration building) to sustain competitiveness. In other words, UAB argued, it needed to invest about $49 million over the next five years to be competitive in Conference USA.
… and Auburn preparing itself to back up the Brink’s truck to pay Will Muschamp whatever it takes to become the next defensive coordinator, in spite of numbers.
And the trend didn’t stop when Malzahn hired his first staff at Auburn. The Tigers’ initial salary pool ranked fifth in the nation, a number that may rise after Auburn assistants received raises that added $900,000 to the pool following last season’s trip to the national title game.
Auburn’s ability to pay its assistants top-dollar hasn’t changed despite the $865,994 deficit the athletics department reported for the 2013 fiscal year, along with the buyouts still owed to four coaches.
Auburn is still paying former head coach Gene Chizik $209,457.84 per month, according to open financial records, through the 2015-2016 fiscal year, owes former basketball coach Tony Barbee $1.875 million in monthly installments that end in June of 2017, assistant coach Ryan Miller $15,833 per month through May of 2015 and now former defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson $850,000 per year through June of 2017, a figure that will go down if he gets another job.
Auburn owes all four coaches a total of roughly $7.1 million through June 2017, although the yearly total obviously drops as coaches come off the books at different times.
Those numbers likely won’t deter Auburn from its pursuit of Muschamp.
Sure, Auburn has greater resources to pull from than UAB could ever dream of. But that didn’t stop the Tigers from losing money last year. It’s really a story of if there’s a will, there’s a way. And it seems there’s no will in Birmingham.
UPDATE: How can you not love this quote? “Auburn apparently is prepared to spend at least $1.2 million per year for Muschamp’s services, though it’s unclear how comfortably the athletic department can foot the bill.”