Senate motion to cut athletic subsidies, for this Wed. meeting

5/6/2013: Sharon Rudnick and VPFA Jamie Moffitt have proposed $12M annually for faculty raises. The faculty union is asking for $25M. Rudnick and her team have made an impassioned plea for help finding $13M in recurring funds to make up the difference, stating that if UO can’t find the money in budget cuts, then we will have to raise tuition.

So, here’s a Senate motion I’m introducing at this Wednesday’s meeting. This will yield a quick $4.5M, by cutting back on a few of the athletic subsidies that the academic side is currently paying, and requiring a modest payment from the AD for academic scholarships, limiting the pain from any tuition increases.

Comments welcome!

Meaningful Contributions from the Athletics Department for Academic Purposes
Number: US12/13-20

Date of Notice: Wed, 02/13/2013

Legislation, Resolution, or Policy Adoption: Legislation

Current Status: 


1) Whereas in 2004 the UO Athletics Task Force, which included President Frohnmayer, Athletic Director Bill Moos, NCAA Faculty Athletics Representative Jim O’Fallon, the Senate President, and many Senate and faculty representatives, concluded a 3 year study of UO athletics with a report that stated as recommendation #1 that

The Task Force and the Athletic Department recommend a voluntary financial contribution by athletics to the Presidential Scholarship fund.[1]

2) and, whereas in 2008 the UO Senate passed a resolution titled “Revenue Sharing with the Athletic Department” which concluded

Be it moved that:

The Athletic Department, Administration, and Faculty work together to outline a mechanism that, under the appropriate fiscal conditions, would allow the Athletic Department to provide a meaningful proportion of their yearly revenues to the general fund to aid the academic mission of the university.[2]
3) and, whereas 9 years have now passed since the 2004 Task Force report, and 5 years since the 2008 Senate motion, during which annual operating expenditures by the athletic department have increased from less than $40 million to more than $90 million,[3]

4) and, whereas the athletic department is still not making any direct financial contributions to the support for UO’s academic mission, beyond a few small and intermittent donations to the library,

5) and, whereas UO’s academic side has been making a variety of new and increased payments in support of the athletic department, including since 2010 an estimated $1.8 million dollars per year for the tutoring services at the Jaqua Center for Student-Athletes that are available only to student-athletes,[4]

6) and, whereas UO’s academic budget has been paying $467,538 a year since 2009 to help repay the bonds used to purchase the Knight Arena land,[5]

7) and, whereas the athletic department solicits donations and ticket surcharges for the Duck Athletic Fund, totaling ~$30M for 2012-13,[6] with the statement that

The mission of the Duck Athletic Fund is to raise funds to offset the expenses of student-athletic scholarships and related athletic department support at the University of Oregon.[7]

8) and, whereas in the most recently reported data, 2011-12, the athletic department paid only $7 million from these DAF funds to the academic side for tuition.[8]

Moved: The UO Senate directs the UO Athletic Department to

  1. Pay from its budget the full cost of providing tutoring and academic support for student-athletes, beginning in AY 2013-14.

  2. Pay from its budget the full cost of the bonds used to purchase the Knight Arena land, beginning in AY 2013-14.

  3. Each year beginning with FY 2014-15 set aside from the athletic department budget a sum equal to 2% of the athletic department’s prior year spending on athletics, and redirect these funds towards UO’s academic purposes, including but not limited to scholarship and student support services for low-income Pathways Oregon students, and academic merit scholarships.
Financial Impact:

Cost neutral.

Tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Senate motion to cut athletic subsidies, for this Wed. meeting

  1. Anonymous says:

    love this. makes the point pretty clearly.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Love it !

    UO Prof. of Economics has a genius idea of how to fix this grossly imbalanced sports funding issue.

    Will there be a point in this meeting, where the powers that be, lament out loud, “who does this guy think he is–
    A professor of Economics?

    Damned right & about time. Maybe they will argue the need for a golf course??? Lacrosse field?
    What next? A state -of-the-art ping pong emporium??
    Special tutoring for athletes only- in it’s own special building?
    Can’t they see just how ridiculous that is?

  3. Anonymous says:

    Nice timing! – and shouldn’t they pay for their lawyers too?

  4. The Truth says:

    Shouldn’t be a big deal for the athletic department, they can just go to Kilkenny and Knight to make up the funding.

  5. Anonymous says:

    But according to the athletic department: “The University of Oregon Athletic Department is financially self-sufficient and does not receive any support from state funds.”

    Since the academic budget is supported by state funds, UOMatters obviously must have gotten something wrong.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Fishwrapper sez:

    According the USA Today, UO ranks #16 nationally in athletics income. For 2012, it reported $94,635,829 in revenue, and $89,709,350 in expenses, resulting in a $2,475,860 (2.62%) deficit requiring subsidy from the campus.


    On the other hand, head down the valley, where the state’s flagship institution shows numbers that give one pause for thought: $58,706,837 revenue with $57,819,032 expenses, but a total subsidy of $18,727,419 (31.90%). Seems to me one campus is a bit more transparent (read: honest) in reporting subsidies to the athletics operation. (Would tying up state bond authority count as a subsidy?)

    • Anonymous says:

      Fishwrapper sez:

      Oh, shit – I forgot to use my cuss word.

    • Anonymous says:

      Good point on the issue of state bonds. Our athletic department does consider any such issue a subsidy. We are also insuring them against the coming fallout from head-injury suits… not a subsidy. $1m for parking? Not a subsidy. The rent we pay to use the old arena, that we paid for? Not a subsidy. Etc., etc.,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.