We've talked recently about the financial pressures on college athletic
departments, and also how that relates to the ACC and expansion.Â In the
N&O today there's a
long article about State's and UNC'sÂ woes and how they have reduced their
deficit - in the short term by moving the football grudge match to
State made 850,000 and UNC made 660,000, give or take. State got the most
because they were the home team, which will reverse this year.
We didn't know UNC took out a 10 million dollar loan for the football
facility upgrades (total: 50 million). At the end of this article, Baddour talks
about a sacred cow, at UNC, signage: "I hope we can hold out a long time on
that. It's part of the [athletics] culture that's hard to avoid these days, but we have no plans now to put signage in the Kenan Stadium or the Smith Center.Â
But with 28 sports ... at some point I'm sure we will talk about it. It's a huge issue."
This brings up a couple of points: 1) who in their right mind would spend 50
million when the Dean Dome regularly loses money? 2) UVa, NCSU, and UNC have had
problems with their budgets.Â Expansion has been promoted, by George Welsh
most idiotically,Â as a way the schools might balance the budgets, but at a
heavy price, since a) mega-conferences are proving unstable, b) transportation
costs for non-revenue teams will skyrocket, and c) why should more responsible
programs bail the others out? Maryland had as big a mess as anyone has had and they
worked it out - and they didn't build huge new facilities or push expansion as a way
to do it, either. They managed - and without help.
Having said that, there is a need for new revenue - but not because UNC or
UVa or State can't budget properly but more because women's programs need to be
Here are a couple of ideas we toss out on a regular basis, not that anyone
listens to us:
1) Time to bring back the (Winn) Dixie Classic.Â There's no reason why
Tobacco Road shouldn't host a premier pre-season tournament every year. If Duke,
UNC, State and Wake participated, and invited four other teams, that would sell
20,000+ per game, which would amount to somewhere in the neighborhood of 154,000
game tickets - and that's assuming no round-robin format - which would gross
about 3,080,000 - and that's not counting TV revenues, concessions, parking,
licensing, etc.Â If say Cincinnati, Arizona, Missouri and Kansas came, it would
generate a nice chunk of change, and it would keep everyone out of debt until
the next insane spending binge.
2) An ACC-SEC (or whoever) football challenge weekend. If the ACC and a
partner conference scheduled a weekend for inter-league games, it would be a
huge bonanza. The Challenge would dominate the sports news (and broadcasts), and
again, ticket, parking, concessions, etc. would be amazing.
The ACC is one of the few recognizable conferences left.Â That asset
should be capitalized on, not squandered in a mindless effort to bloat.