A Texas cheer squad member waves the Longhorn flag after a first half score against Oklahoma in the Red River Rivalry at the Cotton Bowl, Saturday, October 2, 2010. (Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News)

Football

Texas athletics back in black for 2014-15 academic year

Athletic department turns small profit one year after losing $2.8 million

Posted January 19th, 2016

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When Steve Patterson arrived in Austin, he quickly learned the Texas athletic department had an insatiable spending problem. The money pours in, but it quickly flows out.

Patterson was criticized for implementing tough spending controls, but the moves worked. According to an audit by Austin accounting firm Maxwell, Locke & Ritter, the Longhorns balanced their budget during the 2014-15 academic year and finished in the black — by a mere $458,367.

The school took in approximately $183.5 million in revenues, but racked up approximately $183 million in expenses, according to an audited statement obtained by the American-Statesman. Both are record totals.

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The Texas athletic department had a $2.8 million deficit for the 2013-14 academic year before Patterson arrived. It was the first time the Horns had finished in the red since the 1999-2000 academic year.

Athletics has a huge reserve, so any deficiency can be glossed over. The department’s current reserve totals sits at approximately $28.6 million.

Patterson, the former Texas athletic director, was fired on Sept. 15 after 22 months and signed a non-disparage agreement. New athletic director Mike Perrin took over after the 2015-16 academic year had begun.

So where does all of UT’s money go? The Longhorns spent $37.5 million on administrative compensation and support staff. Another $26 million was spent on game expenses and approximately $1.4 million on recruiting. Scholarships, usually the biggest line item expenses for smaller athletic departments, cost UT athletics just $10.6 million.

Fans blasted Patterson for raising football season ticket prices an average of 6 percent across the board for the 2015 season. Next year’s audit should reflect a bump in ticket prices.

As it stands, the Longhorns pulled in nearly $35 million in football ticket revenue for the 2014 season, Charlie Strong’s first with the Longhorns. Texas had $34 million in football ticket revenue in 2013, Mack Brown’s 16th and final season.

The football program reported a net profit of $94.9 million during the 2014-15 academic year, according to the audit. Buried in various line items, Texas spent $517,185 on football recruiting and Strong’s football camp netted $15,077 in profit.

Football’s overall surplus is used to pay for the rest of the athletic department. Men’s basketball ($6.4 million) and baseball ($1.6 million) were net positives, but all other sports lost money.

Texas also is one of the few schools nationally that transfers money back to the campus. The athletic department gave the university $9.8 million, a record-high.

Texas athletic director Mike Perrin will be tasked with growing that number. Former UT President Bill Powers pressured Patterson to transfer more each year, multiple sources said, and Patterson worried about where that money would come from.

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