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Another $2M deficit as UH closes books

Ferd Lewis

The University of Hawaii athletic department closed the books yesterday on what it hopes will be the last in a series of annual $2 million – or more – budget deficits.

Pending final audit, UH expects to come in at or slightly below $2 million in the red for the fiscal year on an approximately $27.6 million in expenses, associate athletic director Carl Clapp said.

UH had a $2.6 million deficit in the previous fiscal year on a $28.7 million budget.

With the exception of the 2008 fiscal year, which included the proceeds from the Bowl Championship Series appearance in the Sugar Bowl, the athletic program has run at a deficit every year since 2002 and is forecast to reach $10 million in accumulated net deficit.

At the Board of Regents’ February meeting, chairman Howard Karr told the administration, "We can’t continue at this $2 million to 2.5 million (deficit) clip" and urged the department to work toward a timetable to a balanced budget.

Athletic director Jim Donovan has pledged to be in the black for the 2012 fiscal year and begin paying down the net accumulated deficit.

The department hopes that cutting expenses in several areas, improved attendance and other revenue will bring it closer to a balanced budget for the fiscal year that begins today and concludes next June 30.

Donovan said 10 administrative positions have been left unfilled and believes the popularity of the Sept. 2 football season opener against Southern California, coupled with improved crowds at men’s and women’s basketball, will help slice the deficit in 2011. UH added $20 to the premium ticket price in some choice sideline areas for the opener against USC.

The online auction of parking passes for Aloha Stadium games is expected to raise income by approximately $200,000.

Meanwhile the Reno Gazette-Journal reported the University of Nevada faces as much as a $1 million deficit for the current fiscal year.

The Fresno Bee reported that Fresno State projects a $300,000 deficit and its nonprofit booster organization might have to dip into its endowment fund for as much as $1.5 million to help cover scholarship costs for the upcoming year.


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