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Friday, February 26, 2010

College athletics shaken up

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While no massive temblors have been reported, ominous financial rumblings are creating cracks in the walls and shaking dishes off the shelves in college athletics these days. We’ll see a lot more wavy-gravy as struggling sports treasuries are further depleted.

So far we haven’t heard of personnel deletions or major operational cutbacks for Kansas University. If such is occurring, athletic director Lew Perkins and Co. are keeping them well under wraps. But I’ll bet there is more than a little dish-rattling in the Jayhawk nest, same as in other Big 12 Conference kitchens.

Item: Kansas State president Kirk Schulz announced a range of all-university cuts that will lessen the athletic department’s operating budget by 10 percent over the next two years, saving something like $310,000. KSU already has laid off some employees.

Item: Texas A&M; in July wiped out 17 positions in the athletic department, noting it is facing a $4.5 million budget reduction.

K-State, floating around in the middle of the league’s financial pond, currently has a sports budget in the $40-$45 million range. Texas A&M; is in the top five for the conference with about a $65 million outlay. It’s topped by Texas, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State (sugar-daddied by T. Boone Pickens). At last glance, the Kansas University sports outlay was in the $55-$60 million range.

What’s interesting is that K-State and A&M; at one point didn’t have enough activities to create scholarships for women under Title IX and had to set up equestrian programs to fill in all the squares. Imagine what costs those operations must incur, with stables, vet care and the like. How long can that last?

Texas not only tops the Big 12 with a $130 million budget package but its portfolio is No. 1 in the nation, more than Ohio State, Michigan, Alabama, all the other moneyed elite. Nebraska, Oklahoma and Okie State follow; A&M; runs fifth in the league.

About the time Texas boosted the annual salary of football coach Mack Brown to an astounding $5 million, Gov. Rick Perry ordered the school to submit a plan to cut 5 percent of the sports budget funded by state money. Then, sob, it was announced that the already-bonus-babied Longhorn football staff won’t get any raises at least until September. Again, cry not. Most UT aides were rolling in dough to begin with.

A lot of the budgetary activity by schools is being done quietly. Texas Tech saved $50,000 by not putting out a media guide, and staff members were told to drive rather than fly to any destination of 400 miles or under. Even the filthy rich schools such as Ohio State not only have cut down on jobs but have trimmed traveling crews and entertaining as much as possible. Don’t be surprised to see KU invading similar venues.

KU’s Perkins is clearly a master fundraiser through programs like the Adidas and broadcast setups. But he’s had to pull in his horns on that $35 million Gridiron Club, and will see funding sources weaken until the economy refuels and stocks and such rise again.

Are we going to see KU announcing budgeting diets and personnel trimming? That glorious legendary goose has stopped laying golden eggs for a lot of nest-keepers. It’s unrealistic to think KU isn’t going to hear a lot more shaking of its terra firma.

Don’t forget to turn out the lights. Every little bit helps.

Comments

100 12 years, 5 months ago

If this is true, Frank Martin is gone.

Mark Wooden 12 years, 5 months ago

Let's hope the Big 12 represents in March. Deeper everybody goes, more money for the conference.

Martin Rosenblum 12 years, 5 months ago

As long as Texas funds that PYT redhead that sits in the front row of basketball games, they can make whatever cuts necessary.

KSU, on the other hand, can save money by not providing those dumb-a$$ fake beards to their folks at games.

Ryan Richey 12 years, 5 months ago

K-State belongs in the Mountain West or Conference USA. We are the smallest state in the country with two BCS teams. If Darwin's Theory is correct...see ya K-State. Good news for us. More money, recruits, etc.

BCRavenJHawkfan 12 years, 5 months ago

As a Texas Tech employee (Amarillo TX campus) this quote got my attention: "Texas Tech saved $50,000 by not putting out a media guide, and staff members were told to drive rather than fly to any destination of 400 miles or under." If you have been to West Texas you quickly realize there ain't much within 250 miles of Lubbock. I also notice school administrators never learn the most basic lesson. It's not what you take in, it's how much you are able to keep.

frompekka2sasha 12 years, 5 months ago

Luckily Barry Hinson is shipping flat screens across the country rather than renting them each time. Gosh we are lucky to have someone as frugal as Barry around.

KUFan90 12 years, 5 months ago

Yawns. Newsflash : everyone is cutting back these days.

Mike Kendall 12 years, 5 months ago

How about a Final Four of all Big 12 teams?!!!! That would be sweeeeeet! If that happens, Dick Vitale can take an early vacation. If this happens, I can say the best thing to the Big East and ACC conferences: NOT THIS YEAR!!!!!

NebraskaJayhawk 12 years, 5 months ago

ProudKansas...you said "K-State belongs in the Mountain West or Conference USA. We are the smallest state in the country with two BCS teams. If Darwin's Theory is correct...see ya K-State. Good news for us. More money, recruits, etc"

Sorry, I don't think a proud Kansan would make any kind of a comment like that. K-State's a good school and I would hate to see them diminish as our in-state and conference rival.

Jayhawk444 12 years, 5 months ago

I also have never understood any KU fan's mocking/hatred of K-state. When I went to KU, the KU/K-State game was always a day to re-unite with high school friends who chose the "wrong" school, cheer feverishly for the "right" team during the game, and afterwards get together and hoist a glass to our schools and our great rivalry, whether it be in Aggieville or at the Hawk. I prefer to direct my mocking and hatred to the other side of our eastern state line....

hammerhawk 12 years, 5 months ago

Ah, texas....$$$$$ and football is king. It's warm in texas, too; right now today! But nothing beats the campus of the Universtiy of Kansas in the springtime and texas will never have that!!

tis4tim 12 years, 5 months ago

Well, maybe we should just tax only those "money elite" schools making over 100 million dollars and give the proceeds to the schools who can't afford media guides. That seems like the fair thing to do.

Ryan Richey 12 years, 5 months ago

I'm not saying I'm a diehard Wildcat fan but that is my opinion. It is not hatred or looking down at K-State. It's just a fact. Kansas is a very small state, that shouldn't have two BCS teams/schools. KU and KSU work against eachother. I think KSU could move to the Mountain West or Conference USA and dominate. I think KSU could easily be a Boise State, TCU or Gonzaga type school/team. That's not degrading at all in my opinion. Facts are facts...KSU is pushing as hard as possible right now and they are a bottom feeder in terms if BCS/Big XII programs money-wise. KSU also ranks low in conference academic rankings and endowment. There is nothing to be embarassed about...it's just what it is. I know everyone will point to "The Decade of Dominace" or this years basketball squad but realistically that is not sustainable over a long period of time at the BCS conference level in my opinion. I think if they moved it would be beneficial to both schools. Which would be best for the state of Kansas. You may disagree because you are a KSU fan or have a soft spot for KSU in your heart...and that's fine.

Dan Harris 12 years, 5 months ago

tis4tim- would that be the "change" everyone was looking for?

Dyrk Dugan 12 years, 5 months ago

"If Darwin's Theory is correct...see ya K-State."

thank God it's not.

the reason why K-state is in bad shape is because of out of control spending...giving multi millions in buyout money to their football coach...and paying an assistant basketball coach over 400 grand a year.

they only play 14 sports over there....they can't even manage what they have. this is why they are soooo insecure in grape land...they have no concept of bigger (revenues, number of sports) is better.

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