Greensboro — Good morning from Lake Oconee, where the UGA Athletics Association board of directors convenes today for its spring meeting.
Among the expected items of business: the 2009-10 athletics budget and the long-discussed major expansion of the football facilities at the Butts-Mehre building.
The Butts-Mehre project has been been on the drawing board for more than a year, with plans calling for expansion of the training facilities and weight room and construction of new offices and a large multi-purpose area.
“That is something that will be contemplated at the board meeting,” athletics director Damon Evans said.
The spring meeting also is the point at which the next fiscal year’s budget is submitted for board approval. While many college athletics programs are making significant cuts amid the recession, Evans said Georgia has held up relatively well.
“I would say this: If people want to use that term ‘profit,’ we’re not going to have as much ‘profit’ as we have had in the past,” he said. ”But we’ll still be in a pretty good position.”
In the black?
“No doubt,” Evans said. ”We’re not even close — nowhere close — to operating in the red. I think we have been fiscally prudent all the way along.”
Evans acknowledged some revenue streams have suffered. As previously reported, contributions tied to football season tickets are down about $2.5 million-$3 million from last year’s record level of about $26.5 million. Another revenue stream that has taken a hit, Evans noted: investment returns on endowment funds.
“We have had to make some adjustments, but not in a way where it has had any impact on how we overall operate and how we do business,” Evans said. “I know a lot of institutions around this country are losing funding, cutting sports, cutting back travel. We’re monitoring expenses even more closely than in the past because of where we are in the economy, but we’re not in a bad position at all.”
The athletics association has had no layoffs, he said.
At a board meeting in February, it was projected that the association would finish this fiscal year, which runs through June 30, with a profit of about $4 million, half as much as the year before.
“I’m always mindful of what’s going on with the campus,” Evans said. “Even in times in which things are OK with us, I think perception-wise we need to be aware and be sensitive of what’s happening with the campus. So I don’t want to be out here flying willy-nilly, just doing whatever because we may have some resources. Because I understand the campus is in somewhat of a struggle right now.
“That is one of the reasons we made the contribution we did –- because we want this institution to know we’ll help,” he said, referring to the athletics association’s pledge in February to give $2 million per year for the next three years to the university.
More after today’s meeting. . . .