UH athletics department aims to continue to reduce budget deficit

Next week, the University of Hawaii athletics department will update the Board of Regents on their plan to close its budget deficit by 2020 and make it more self-sufficient.

The department will present its financial improvement plan to the board on Wednesday, Nov. 2.

This year’s deficit was $3.2 million, compared to $4.2 million in 2015.

We spoke with athletics director Dave Matlin by phone Saturday and he said they have made some forward progress and they are looking at the football program in particular to help continue to move them in the right direction.

“I think basketball last year obviously helped a lot, and I know advanced ticket sales were pretty good this year, and football is definitely trending in the right direction with better crowds,” he said.

Matlin said they hope to bring down the deficit by another one million dollars in 2017.

“We thought it was going to be $4.8 million, but we ended up getting about $800,000 from the NCAA and another $800,000 in improvements, so we thought it was going to be worse than ’16, but because of the other improvements, it kind of outweighed the coaching staff turnover costs,” referring to the football transition from Norm Chow to Nick Rolovich.

Here’s the breakdown on how the athletics department plans to eliminate its own red ink by 2020:

  • An additional $4.7 million from merchandising, ticket sales and fundraising
  • $1.7 million from student fees
  • $5.5 million from government support
  • And $2.3 million from institutional support.

In reference to the latter, Matlin said “I think that’s one area where we have to try to rely on less on as we move forward …  We get academic support from the institution in the form of scholarships for our student-athletes, which is kind of similar to other departments at the university.”

According to UH’s financial assessment, only 10 percent of NCAA Division I public schools generate enough funds to cover expenses.

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