UGA athletics plans budget increase for next fiscal year
ATHENS – UGA athletics is set to have a budget of about $127 million for the upcoming fiscal year, an increase by more than $4.5 million over last year.
The finance committee of the athletic board approved the proposed budget on Tuesday, forwarding it to the entire athletic board, which meets next week in St. Simons.
The budget projection is for both revenue and expenses, beginning when the fiscal year begins July 1. So essentially the department is projecting it will spend that much – $127,590,041 – an increase over the approved budget last year of $123,049,705.
Actual revenue and expenses always change, of course, as the year plays out.
“Oftentimes your expenditures are going to come in differently,” said Ryan Nesbit, UGA’s vice president for finance. “You budget from a performance perspective, best-case, in other words all your teams are going to SEC championships and everything. So you’re budgeting your expenses at that level, and if that doesn’t materialize, your budget is going to be different.”
A major source of the revenue increase continues to be from the SEC Network payout. The SEC paid out around $40 million to each school for the 2015-16 fiscal year, an increase from $32.7 million the previous year.
Stephanie Ransom, the CFO for the athletics department, told the finance committee that the SEC distribution increase is “due to the success of the SEC Network.”
As for expenses, Ransom told the board that there were “moderate” increases in staff, as well as for recruiting and other areas related to student-athlete welfare.
As for the reserves, athletics director Greg McGarity said a presentation will be made to the full athletic board next week that “will go into great detail.”
“So everybody understands what exactly are the numbers,” McGarity said. “So there are not numbers out there that are not inaccurate or unsubstantiated and understand a lot more about it.”
Nesbit said after the meeting that UGA’s reserves at the start of the fiscal year were around $60 million, with $22 million in projects committed from that.
There is also $32 million as of June 2016, according to an audited tax return, that is in the UGA foundation set aside for “general support.” Ransom confirmed during a phone conversation in March that the number is separate from the reserve money that is referred to at athletic board meetings.
UGA athletics also has money invested in the UGA foundation on a short-term bond, which enables it to dip into when needed for projects.
“The short-term fund enables us to invest, but then to also have those available to then fund the project expenses as they’re being incurred,” Nesbit said. “When you commit X amount of dollars to a project that doesn’t mean that money is required immediately. So those are being invested more short-term, so we’re still able to realize some investment return, but also have them available when they’re needed to fund a project.”