2/18/2013: Back in 2008 Frohnmayer and Kilkenny were flashing around a consultant’s report predicting that Matt Court Arena revenue would be between $10M and $16M a year. But they were hiding a more substantial report with drastically lower projections: $6M to $8.6.
Frohnmayer and Melinda Grier sat on my public records request for month, and then told me it would cost $40 to see it. I paid the SOB’s. Then I gave it to John Chalmers and ODE reporter Ryan Knutson, who wrote this story:
“It surprises me that this is the first time I’ve seen it,” said professor John Chalmers, head of a University Senate sub-committee that analyzed the arena project. “This would have been helpful information.”
I also sent it to the Oregon legislature’s bond analyst, who then vetoed Frohnmayer’s scheme to finance the arena with tax-exempt revenue bonds: not enough revenue, the IRS would be all over us. Instead they had to sell regular taxable bonds. $235 million of them.
Five years later the ODE has another reporter, Sam Stites, who’s got a healthy sense of skepticism about big-time college sports, and a knack for making public records requests. As usual, Dave Hubin’s public records office tried to prevent the ODE from getting the documents, by trying to charge a student $109 for the data. Really Dave? Stites managed to get it anyway, and wrote this story, in the Emerald today:
The new ticket revenue projections for men’s basketball show a $900,000 difference between what was originally forecasted in December 2010 and now — down from $3.7 million to $2.8 million, with over $5 million in operating expenses for the team.
There’s a little extra revenue from monster trucks and cage matches, but basically they were exaggerating by about 300%. I particularly like this quote from Jamie Moffitt:
“All arena fund debt has been fully paid, on schedule, as planned,” Moffitt said. “The Athletic Department is an auxiliary operation. Like other auxiliary operations, such as Housing and the EMU, it is responsible for paying for all of its operating costs with its projected revenue streams.”
Sure the athletic dept pays all its operating expenses. I’ll have a motion in the Senate next meeting showing just how exaggerated that claim is too.
Then there’s this quote from the OUS VP for Finance, explaining how the $235 million in bonds has left UO unable to borrow money for academic purposes – those little niceties like classrooms.
“Our board has a policy on debt that we don’t want any one campus to have a debt ratio more than 7 percent,” Kenton said. “UO has 7 percent limitation and frankly are probably one of the highest in terms of being close to that threshold.”
Matt Court Arena – another one of Phil Knight’s gifts that just “keep on taking”. And don’t miss the report by Matt Walks and Aubrey Wieber on the disaster that is Paul Westhead, also in the ODE.