Originally Posted by Jimmy Demaret
I can only speak from what I've seen from UAH, from the now-infamous athletics review last summer that was done to fit Dr. Portera's decision to cut hockey. The bulk of the "revenue" from the 2010-11 report for hockey was "direct institutional support" -- the money from the university to the hockey program to make up the difference between revenues and expenditures. I would at least consider that all the other schools that are showing as "even" are doing the same thing -- counting what the school is kicking as "revenue" to the hockey program.
Incidentally, one of the conditions for UAH to keep hockey (besides securing a conference spot) is that the university will supply $650,000 toward the program -- still a decent amount but less than what the school supplied in the past. Because this is a flat rate and no longer based on how much the hockey program spends, I would think UAH will no longer be shown as "break even."
I looked through the site and I'm pretty convinced that the numbers reflect some regulatory sweet spot for most programs. There's no way that they could all share such similar financials, particularly given the wide range in attendence and cost of doing business for each school. These are simply the numbers released to the NCAA by each school. They may well reflect the way each college needs to structure its financials for legal/regulatory reasons, but they don't reflect the actual costs and revenues for each program. For example, Wisconsin makes way more money from ticket sales and merchandising than Michigan Tech does. I also expect that Wisconsin spends a lot more to play at the Kohl Center than MTU does to play at the JMac. However, I would guess that both teams have about the same actual expenses per player if you limit it to equipment, travel and game related expenses. As such, I think these numbers do tell us something, just not anything particularly interesting about differences between programs.
I think the numbers do give a pretty accurate representation of who is making money, who's not, and just how hard it is to maje a D1 hockey program profitable.
I think these numbers probably give a general overview of how things line up, but to a degree the accounting isn't the same from school to school. Just as a simple example, UCONN sponsorships don't show up as "program" income, but as Athletic Department general income. Same with memorabilia. So if AT&T donates 10,000 to sponsor UCONN Hockey, it is technically income to the athletic development fund, not UCONN Hockey. Other schools have a different method of treating these sponsorships and at some others, the same sponsorship donation would show up as income to the hockey program. Schools also ahve different ways of treating direct school support. Some places treat the University contribution as income, others have a different way of booking it. So it might be possible for two schools to have similar income and expense totals, but one is made up of tickets, tv, and donations, while the other is student fees and university contributions. I owuld suggest that those are very different types of programs. So unless you dig deeper into the specifics, it is difficult to really compare programs. A similar thing can happen on the expense side, though it isn't usually as big a difference nor as common. But occassionally schools include operating costs of certain facilities, the rink is the best example, as a program cost (or maybe split it between mens and womens programs). others don't put those costs to a specific program on the theory that it is a university facility just as the Physics building is.
I agree Jim. I think it's a "best effort" approach to comparing the revenues and expenses of programs at different schools who probably have different accounting practices. I think it gives us a general ida of who's making money, who isn't, who needs to work on generating new revenue streams, who needs to work on minimizing expenses, etc...
These numbers are a total joke, and are virtually useless in nature.
Firstly, in accounting, you don't just throw up round numbers and hope no one notices. You also will never see an income statement with just "revenues" and "expenses", as it is completely - COMPLETELY - useless.
Furthermore, while the revenues may be somewhat accurate for direct revenue (accruable as others mentioned), I can say with near certainty that the costs are not.
Why is this?
Because the purpose of these numbers has nothing to do with accurately representing these numbers. The inherent function of academia, is to criticize every department but your own (I work in academia..), and to try and acquire new forms of revenue for your department, while avoiding cuts. With roughly half of these programs showing "break-even" type numbers, they are deflecting any criticism from academic areas that money is being spent on athletics that is being lost. Academics tend to hate athletics spending more so than plagiarism, wikipedia references, and criticism of their research area.
By showing the numbers as they are, I suspect that the universities are more so attempting to deflect criticism for the amount of money they are spending, than accurately depicting their actual financial state. With the nature of cost allocation, it is easy to "prove" the expense numbers, just by being somewhat creative. (I could get deeper into this, but don't want to put anyone to sleep.)
The point of your post that bothered me was the assertion that the new WCHA is going to suck from a "profit" standpoint.
A fundamental question needs to be asked: Is the purpose of college hockey programs, or universities for that matter to provide a profit? In the case of the new WCHA teams, that question is certainly "no". These schools are division-2 in nature, and are using these programs for their peripheral benefits, not their financial benefits.
For example, according to the numbers, Ferris State lost $13k this year. But, if you take into account the attention, press, and expanded brand they acquired by having a good year, you could describe the function of the team as much more one of marketing and promotion, than simply revenues and expenses applied to the athletic department.
Kudos to you for looking into numbers, but you stopped at the point of organizing them, and didn't really look into them deeper and find out some of the more interesting things they could yield; for example, looking deeper into why ND numbers were so bad, or analyzing how average attendance effects revenues, which would be a much better assessment of how accurate the numbers are (as we have an idea of ticket prices).
Sorry for the long post. This is both "business" and "hockey", two of the nerd realms I occupy on a daily basis.
B.S. NMU 11'
M.B.A. Marquette University 13'
Finally somebody gets it.
To add to this, the reason these numbers are developed and published is not to compare programs to each other, but merely to compare the expenditures within an athletic program to itself, i.e., to compare the proportion of funds dedicated to women's teams to those dedicated to men's teams to ensure title ix compliance.
These numbers are nearly useless in determining who's making money and who's not, because they aren't designed to make that comparison...it's apples, to oranges, to grapes, to lemons, to 54 other fruits.
Lots of sour grapes because people are finding out that their programs aren't nearly as successful financially as they thought they were.
If you think the numbers aren't accurate for the program you follow, then do your due diligence and see if you can find a source that disputes the numbers listed here.
Looking at the numbers, it seems like the revenue numbers are more accurate than the expenses. Which makes sense because there are multiple ways you can report expenses and all are accurate. For instance, with Wisconsin, there are obviously costs associated with changing the Kohl Center from basketball to hockey or vice versa. Are they reporting all of those expenses as hockey expenses, basketball expenses, or a combo of both?
Revenues look pretty accurate IMO.
Can anyone tell if debt service is included in the numbers? Often the biggest expense a business has, and for schools with newer rinks, that number would be significant, though I suspect many schools have foundations set up for this kind of overhead expense.
Fight the good fight.
"The game of hockey, though much in vogue on the ice in New England and other parts of the United States, is not much known here."
--The Montreal Gazette, March 4, 1875.
And you're right. The Gophers probably could spend a little more on hockey. Mariucci is getting older and needs updates (especially video board and sound system).
Problem has been, they just built a new football stadiumand Tubby is demanding a new practice facility for bouncy ball. I heard the updates for mariucci are coming soon though.
Mecca is already slated for updates.
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