Not a lot of students know what their general fees pay for, and not a lot of students know where the money for athletics comes from and where it goes. That's what this project is all about.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Breaking Down the Budget

The proposed Bowling Green State University Athletics budget for 2011 is $16 million — 9.32 percent larger than last year — but the additional funds still will not cover the projected $16.2 million in expenses.
To close that gap as much as possible, Athletics depends on ticket sales, donors, Title IX and merchandising. But nearly two-thirds of the Athletics budget consists of student fees.
For 2011, students’ general fees are projected to be $683 per semester, according to the BGSU Finance and Administration Department.
Half of that money is allocated to facilities (such as the Bowen-Thompson Student Union), Student Health Service and shuttle services. The other half goes toward Intercollegiate Athletics.
Including employee benefits, total salary expenses for personnel are projected to be $6.3 million in 2011, a 2.55 percent increase from last year, according to the budget. Operating expenses are expected to be about $9.8 million, a 6.77 percent increase. 
“You don’t generate that (much money) in ticket sales,” said Jim Elsasser, associate athletic director for Internal Affairs.
Most of what student fees cover are athletic scholarships, including tuition, room and board and meal plan for a majority of the student athletes, said Greg Christopher, director of Athletics.
 “In general terms, we get about $9 million a year (from student fees),” Christopher said. “About $6 million goes back to the university, and the largest form of that is scholarships.”
The other $3 million Athletics gets from student fees is used to pay for staff members, coaches, travel costs and some operating costs, such as “to keep the lights on in the building,” Christopher said.
But Christopher said most student-fee money is used to pay for salaries and scholarships, and the budget does include $9 million not dependent on student fees.
Elsasser said most Mid-American Conference schools are funded the same way.
“None of our sports make any money,” he said. “And that would be the case for 90 percent of Division I institutions.”
But Elsasser said BGSU uses less student-fee money to run its sports teams than most other schools.
And while student fees make up a majority of the athletic budget, those fees can’t pay for the entire budget because the amount of money generated from students fluctuates each year.

Title IX Adds Funds to Athletics

Each year, the federal government gives Bowling Green State University $201,000 for “Title IX Support,” according to the Athletics budget. All BGSU does to get the money is follow the law.
Title IX, which was passed in 1972, requires gender equality in every educational program that receives federal funding, according to
In the minds of many, Title IX and women’s athletics go hand in hand. But the law was originally intended for academics, said Nancy Spencer, an associate professor in BGSU’s Sport-Management department.  
“[Title IX] was passed to look at positions in education and said that all educational opportunities had to be equal for women as well as for men. It was almost an afterthought that sports would be included in it,” she said.
Still, Spencer said, Title IX tends to get blamed for budget cuts in athletics, and it puts BGSU in a tough position when it has to cut sports. Normally, she said, a school would cut whichever sports lose the most money. But because of Title IX, BGSU doesn’t have a lot of leeway when it comes to cutting women’s sports, even if they are less cost-effective than some men’s sports.
Title IX is a three-pronged piece of legislation, said Lesley Irvine, associate athletic director and senior woman administrator at BGSU. In order to receive federal funding, schools only have to meet one of the three criteria.