Athletic department thrives amid campus budget deficit

Central Michigan University is pouring in more than $1 million in additional subsidies for the athletics department this year, despite cutting back on allocations for almost every academic college on campus.

The athletics department is operating with about $200,000 less in revenue this year, compared to last year (from $6.85 million in 2012-13 to $6.59 million in 2013-14), but the department's expenses are expected to increase from roughly $23.82 million in 2012-13 to $24.64 million in 2013-14. The university will be transferring $18.05 million to the department this year in an attempt to break even, up from $16.97 million from last year.

That comes despite most colleges, save for the new College of Business, finding themselves with significantly fewer allocated funds to work with.

Associate Athletics Director for Business Operations Brad Wachler said despite the enrollment decline and the resulting budget declines, the athletics department has remained immune.

"The enrollment issue affects everybody," he said. "We have not, up to this point, received a cut or reduction, but at the same time we will always continue to operate as efficiently as possible."

Although Wachler said the department attempts to operate on a break-even budget model utilized by most schools in the NCAA, athletics receive a majority of their funding allocations from the university, which is only slightly supplemented with revenue from athletic events and fundraising.

Its funding is a fairly concrete amount that is not affected by the student credit hours on-campus.

"All MAC teams receive an allocation from their university. We're running on a very similar model to all of our peers," said Interim Director of Athletic Communications Rob Wyman.

Any increases in funding are only to keep up with inflation and costs associated with scholarships, according to Wachler.

A majority of the revenue comes from football, which has brought in $2.3-2.5 million over the past five years.

"We get an allocation from the university of about $18.2 million that is balanced out with revenue that we generate on our own as well," Wachler said.

University Editor Kyle Kaminski contributed to this report.


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