Daily Emerald explains ~$5M in Duck subsidies to new UO students

ODE reporter Kenny Jacoby is back from a summer internship at NBC TV in San Diego, and he’s wasting no time getting to work. Today the Emerald has the most comprehensive accounting I’ve seen yet of the ~$5M a year in subsidies that UO’s academic side pays to Rob Mullens and the Ducks:

It’s the beginning of another school year, which means another round of tuition hikes for UO students. The damage this year is a 6.6 percent increase for in-state students (about $810 per year) and a 3 percent increase for out-of-state (about $945). It was nearly 10.6 percent for in-state students, but a last-minute influx of state support helped mitigate the increase. Tuition has gone up for the fourth straight year and roughly doubled in the past decade.

The Oregon athletic department, meanwhile, continues to thrive. According to its projected 2018 budget, it expects to make $113 million in revenue, up from $110 million last year and $40 million a decade ago. Each year, however, it spends every dollar it brings in. It recently paid to buy former football coach Mark Helfrich and his coaching staff out of their contracts and hire Willie Taggart and 12 new assistant and strength coaches.

Of the $113 million in revenue in 2018, about $5 million will come directly out of UO students’ pockets. Students, through tuition and fees, foot the bill for tutoring and advising services for student-athletes, President Michael Schill’s luxury seats at Autzen Stadium and Matthew Knight Arena, student tickets to football and basketball games and debt service on the basketball arena and parking garage.

Over the summer, the Emerald asked Schill whether he would consider pulling any money from the athletic department budget to mitigate a tuition increase for students. The answer was a resounding no. He said athletics is going through its own budget issues, and that he is “comfortable” with the the current level of subsidy.

Some big ticket subsidies from Jacoby’s story:

Jaqua Academic Center – $2 million

UO students pay roughly $2 million per year on tutoring and advising services available exclusively to UO’s approximately 450 student-athletes, financial transparency reports show. By comparison, UO spends about the same amount each year on the Teaching and Learning Center in the fourth of the library or basement of PLC, which offers free group tutoring services and paid one-on-one sessions to 20,000 undergraduates.

Matthew Knight Arena – $502,000

The most expensive on-campus basketball arena in the U.S. costs UO students roughly $502,000 a year in debt service, plus the cost of using the arena for school events. A decade ago, when Knight pledged $100 million to build the $227 million arena, the athletic department scrambled to find funds to buy the land on which to build it, which at the time was owned by a bakery plant. So in 2009, then-athletic director Pat Kilkenny made a deal with then-President Dave Frohnmayer that ultimately left UO students paying roughly a quarter of of the $1.8-million-a-year land debt payment. …

In addition to land debt service, UO students also pay money to use Matthew Knight Arena. Financial records obtained by the Emerald show UO has paid athletics more than $230,000 in the past three years on expenses on 27 school events at Matthew Knight Arena, including rent, audio/video technology, janitors, ushers and changeover (changing the venue from a basketball facility to accommodate different types of events). Using Matthew Knight Arena for Ta-Nehisi Coates’ lecture in February, for example, cost UO nearly $40,000 — not including the $41,000 in donor money it paid to Coates.

Student Tickets – $1.7 million

UO students pay athletics nearly $1.7 million a year in student fees for tickets to UO sporting events.

President Schill’s Luxury Seats – $412,000

As part of the 2009 agreement between Frohnmayer and Kilkenny, UO agreed to pay the athletic department $375,000 a year for use of the presidential suite, 80 club level season tickets, eight reserved season tickets and 11 parking spaces at Autzen Stadium. UO also agreed to pay for 20 men’s basketball season tickets and four garage parking passes at Matthew Knight Arena, which amounted to $32,456 last year. The seats are used “for donor engagement and fundraising activities,” according to athletic department spokesman Craig Pintens.

Parking Garage and Parking Revenue – $625,000

Also part of the 2009 agreement, UO agreed to finance a portion of the debt service on the underground parking garage at Matthew Knight Arena and allow athletics to keep the parking revenue generated during games, as well as outside events managed by athletics, such as concerts. This amounts to $521,000 a year for debt service and between $250,000 and $270,000 in lost revenue — minus roughly $150,000 that the athletic department pays the City of Eugene for parking enforcement — during Matthew Knight Arena events.

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12 Responses to Daily Emerald explains ~$5M in Duck subsidies to new UO students

  1. Conservative Duck says:

    “Share sacrifices”…

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    • Simplius Simplicissimus says:

      I disagree – the students are being robbed for services and activities they either do not need or do not all participate in.

      Jaqua Academic Center – $2 million: Should be $0 from tuition and be paid for by the AD budget alone
      Matthew Knight Arena – $502,000: Has nothing to do with students, and they have zero benefits from this. Should be $0 from tuition $$
      Student Tickets – $1.7 million: The AD should PAY students $1.7 million if they wanted their support at their games.
      President Schill’s Luxury Seats – $412,000: Of course he “feels comfortable” with the current level of subsidy. I am sure the suite is comfortable. Shouldn’t this be baid by JH budget? The “comfortable” response is, frankly, impudent.
      Parking Garage and Parking Revenue – $625,000: Seriously – for what? Do students even park there? ever? Let those who do use the parking pay a p[arking fee (which I am sure they have to on top of the tuition subsidy. Double dipping!

      Students should not be forced to pay for anything they don’t use or participate in. Tuition would be 50% in an instant.

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      • duckduckgo says:

        While I agree that students are getting exploited here, $5 million reimbursed to 20,000 students would be $250 each. We’ll need to find many other $5 million pots to eliminate to get to a 50% tuition reduction.

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        • uomatters says:

          There’s much more money than this available. Football brings in virtually all the $110M revenue, through tickets, TV, media deals, etc. There’s also some from the NCAA basketball tournament, and spare change like baseball tickets. Football operations only cost about $20M. Double that to cover Mullens, Helfrich, etc., and there’s still $70M in profits.

          The Ducks could continue their expensive effort to win the FBS championship, keep women’s softball, but run minimal mens and womens basketball programs, drop baseball, cut back on assistant golf coaches, recruiting travel, etc., and still have $40M, easily, for the academic side. This would be equivalent to a $1B endowment increase, since the endowment – now about $800M – pays out 4%. This would be huge. In comparison we get about $60M annually from the state, and about $360M in tuition.

          Why don’t we do this? I don’t know. It would cost AD Rob Mullens, who gets a bonus for the championships of minor teams like women’s tennis. But he’s not in charge of UO’s budget – is he?

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          • duckduckgo says:

            Oh, I agree. If the NCAA just set a few caps on salaries and facility expenses to counter the irrational exuberance of boosters and boards, every school in the country could use athletics to directly support academics, instead of academics supporting athletics for the very indirect touted effects of increased giving and student applications.

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    • what you heard is the well is dry says:

      What she said is they’ll drink your milkshake.

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  2. DWD says:

    The reporting on the parking garage and ‘lost’ parking revenue is not accurate. Debt service on the garage is paid by Athletics and the Parking department. Parking is a self funded auxiliary, meaning that the only people paying for the debt service on the garage are people who park on campus. Given that only 14% of students report commuting to campus by vehicle, it is disingenuous to suggest that the student body is the one footing the bill on the garage.

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    • uomatters says:

      So it’s mostly faculty and staff?

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      • DWD says:

        Proportionally more Faculty and Staff drive, yes. I haven’t seen a breakdown of revenue streams for Parking, so I couldn’t tell you for sure that they pay more as a group than students do.

        I think it is perfectly reasonable for those who park on campus to be outraged about the parking garage under MKA. Structured parking costs ~$20K to ~$40K per space, depending on whether you’re going up or down. I haven’t been able to tell from the publicly available documents on MKA what the cost of the garage vs the cost of the rest of the construction was, but given that it is underground I’m guessing it is closer to the $40K number. At current parking rates (at least as far as I can tell from Parking’s terrible website) the garage will never pay itself off through the revenue it generates alone, thus requiring subsidy from absolutely everyone else who parks on campus.

        I don’t know that this is an Athletics issue alone, though. The Knight Campus is an incredibly exciting academic venture… that will require at least 300 additional parking spaces (in addition to those displaced by the buildings). Current plans appear to suggest structured parking near the river. Unless some donor likes the idea of their name on a parking garage, that cost will be borne by those parking elsewhere on campus.

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        • uomatters says:

          Thanks. I assume that the Knight Campus parking will be paid for as part of the gift, but I haven’t actually seen the gift letter, and the history is not good.

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  3. CSN says:

    The real telling thing is the framing of Schill’s quote:

    “We’re not providing them with additional money to cover their problems across their budget issues, and they’re not providing us with money to take care of the academic budget issues,” Schill said. “Athletics is making its own cuts to deal with their issues comparable to our issues. It’s not like there’s this bundle of money sitting over there that is ready to be tapped for the academic enterprise.””

    We. They. Here. There.

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  4. uomatters says:

    Another subsidy: Free Jock Box parking for Mullens et al:

    http://uomatters.com/2015/12/mullens-lananna-lorraine-davis-get-free-jock-box-parking.html

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