November 16. 2009


B. Report from the Intercollegiate Athletics Council for Men (IACM).

Professor David Fowler (civil, architectural, and environmental engineering and IACM chair) acknowledged the following faculty representatives on the men’s athletics council: Professors Edmund (Ted) Gordon (anthropology and associate vice president of thematic initiatives and community engagement), Alba Ortiz (special education), Michael Clement (accounting), and Diana DiNitto (social work). Professor Fowler said an important part of the work of both athletics councils was to regularly meet with coaches regarding their teams’ and players’ academic progress. After reporting that there were approximately 260-270 men competing on for UT on men’s athletics teams, he covered the information on slides 25-56 of the PowerPoint presentation (See Appendix A.) Professor Fowler was quite positive about academic progress of the athletes, saying the UT average APR for each team was “a little higher, or in some cases quite a bit higher, than the NCAA average.” He said the athletic department had been strongly encouraging former athletes to return and complete their degrees, and there were twenty-nine of these students enrolled in 2008-09. He also pointed out the diversity of majors among the athletes and the extent of their contributions in extracurricular activities and community service.

Professor Fowler reminded Council members that the UT athletic program is one of the few in the country that is fully self-supporting, and he thought the athletic directors should be applauded for this accomplishment. The program operates as an auxiliary unit, paying approximately $2.1 million in annual overhead fees to the University. He said that athletics “contributed more than $16 million to the UT economy in payment for tuition, fees, housing, utilities, parking, police department, recreational sports--anyone else who assisted them gets paid.” According to Professor Fowler, the University benefits from the following revenue sources: approximately $500,000 in interest earned on cash balances that the athletics program generates; funding from the UT Club to support the University Libraries, which totaled approximately $71,000 last year; and varying amounts to the general scholarship fund from awards received, such as the Chevrolet Player of the Game. He also reminded the Council that athletics has contributed over $6 million to the UT administration during he last five years.

After saying he and Professor Steinhart were uncertain there would be enough time at the current meeting to answer questions because some were “pretty detailed,” Professor Fowler said he had asked Chair Staiger to receive any questions that Council members wanted answered, and he and Professor Steinhart would gladly return to a future meeting to answer them. Chair Staiger said that any questions requiring data gathering and research would be answered at a future meeting. Professor Molly Cummings (integrative biology) said she wanted to know what percentage the $2.1 million paid by athletics for overhead to the University was of the overall athletics budget. Chief Financial Officer Kevin Hegarty responded that athletics pays “the same rate that every other part of the institution pays for their services.” After acknowledging that athletics was not the same as academics, Professor Cummings said she was curious to know how the rate paid by athletics for overhead compared to the 52% in overhead she had to provide the University from her research grants. Mr. Hegarty said for academic grants, an all-inclusive rate for utilities, building costs, and everything else is charged. He explained that athletics pays those costs directly so their overhead is not actually comparable to the all-inclusive rate that academic grants are charged. However, when all of the costs paid directly by athletics were added together, Mr. Hegarty said he thought the effective overhead rate would likely exceed 52%. Professor Cummings said it would be helpful if a comparable estimate of the overhead rate for athletics could be determined and shared with the faculty.

After commenting that the data presented at the meeting implied that an audit or report existed, Professor Steve Friesen (religious studies) asked if the detailed financial document regarding income, costs, and benefits to the University were available on the web for faculty members to review. When Women’s Athletic Director Plonsky asked if Professor Friesen’s question pertained specifically to the $2.6 million, Professor Friesen said he would like to see a report that could answer the controversial issue as to whether athletics actually does or does not “pay for itself.” Mr. Hegarty said there was a published annual budget, but the “parts and pieces can be a bit complicated.” He said he would be glad to meet with Professor Friesen to go over the budget. President Powers said the budgets were published and audited by the state. Due to their complexity, President Powers said it would not be likely that one could “just go and click on the web” to see all the numbers. Regarding the question of the financial footing of athletics at UT Austin, the president said he would know if a check were written or funds were transferred out of other University accounts to athletics, and these transactions would show up in audited financial reports. He said this type of subsidization of athletics does not occur here at UT Austin, which is unlike the typical situation “at virtually every other university in the country.”

Chair Staiger said the PowerPoint presentation given by the athletic council chairs would be posted on the Council web site. She encouraged Council members to review the slides and send her their questions, which she would then forward on to Professors Steinhart and Fowler and the athletics department. After noting that there were some additional questions the Faculty Council Executive Committee had submitted that were not answered in the athletics reports, Chair Staiger said she realized the data collection and analysis as well as the preparation of the PowerPoint presentation took a great deal of time. She expressed her appreciation and thanked Professors Steinhart and Fowler and the athletics department staff members for their efforts in providing the annual report for the Faculty Council’s benefit.

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