University of Hawaii athletic director David Matlin today is outlining to the Board of Regents a five-year plan for his debt-ridden department to reach a balanced budget.
Under the plan in a "deep dive" presentation at Windward Community College, athletics could balance its budget for 2020, Matlin said.
The department has operated at a deficit for eight of the last 11 years and expects a $4.2 million deficit for fiscal year 2015 on expenses of $38 million when the audit is completed, Matlin said.
Matlin told Regents, the, "current ‘self-sustaining’ financial model is inconsistent with collegiate athletics nationwide" with just 10 percent of 230 Division I schools operating balanced budgets.
He said UH is currently funded at lower levels than most of the schools it competes against in the Mountain West Conference, Big West Conference and elsewhere. UH generates 66 percent of its revenue, receiving just 33.92 percent of its direct funding from the institution, state and student fees.
That figure, Matlin said, ranks UH eighth in the 12-member MWC, where UH competes in football, and last in the nine-member Big West where it competes in most other sports, including men’s and women’s basketball, baseball, softball and women’s volleyball.
Matlin told the board, (the) "Challenge for Hawaii’s Team needs to be met by joint effort of UH Athletics and (its) partners."
In his presentation, Matlin lists four key areas to reach a balanced budget including:
A rise in the student athletic fee from $50 to $100 per semester beginning in 2017.
Direct governmental support from the Legislature starting at $5 million in 2017 and reaching $5.5 million by 2020.
Direct institutional support from UH of $2.3 million per year.
Improved revenue generation by the athletic department, including enhanced contributions and stringent expense management.
His presentation said the accumulated value could be worth $14.2 million to UH by 2020.
Matlin said UH faces $5.2 million more in expenses than its conference competitors due to travel costs, travel subsidies, scholarship costs and other areas. If not for that $5.2 million, Matlin said, UH would have operated at a $3.1 million net surplus in 2014.
Matlin claimed UH athletics is worth $7 million in State tax collection impact in addition to the value it brings to the state in media exposure, exceeding the $4.2 million deficit.