Sports Matlin unveils balanced budget plan for UH By Ferd Lewis Nov. 20, 2015 Mahalo for supporting Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Enjoy this free story! Read more Mahalo for reading the Honolulu Star-Advertiser! You're reading a premium story. Read the full story with our Print & Digital Subscription. Subscribe Now Read this story for free: Watch an ad or complete a survey Log In Already a subscriber? Log in now to continue reading this story. Activate Digital Account Print subscriber but without online access? Activate your Digital Account now. The financially struggling University of Hawaii athletic program could balance its budget by 2020, athletic director David Matlin said in outlining his solvency plan to the Board of Regents on Thursday. The blueprint, unveiled during a "deep dive" briefing on the 21-team department, calls for an additional $14.2 million in funding from a variety of sources, including $5.5 million from the Legislature, $2.3 million from the University and a doubling of student-athletic fees. The department is pledged to come up with $4.7 million in new revenue and savings. Matlin said, "It is imperative that we look at every opportunity to increase our revenues and steward our resources. On the revenue side, we are pursuing new merchandising contracts, new apparel contracts, increasing our gate receipts, more corporate sponsorships, higher levels of contributions and increased revenue from our facilities." Regent Jan Sullivan said, "I’ve been asking for this (a plan) for four years. This is the first time we’ve gotten anything." Regent Michael McEnerney pronounced it "very impressive." "There are challenges, but it is definitely possible," Manoa Chancellor Robert Bley-Vroman said. "We are committed to the long-term viability of the program. Hawaii athletics is important to Hawaii and we believe Matlin has a plan that can work." The department has operated at a deficit for eight of the past 11 years, running an accumulated net deficit of more than $20 million. It expects a $4.2 million deficit for fiscal year 2015 on expenses of $38 million when the audit is completed, Matlin said. A $4.8 million deficit is expected for the current fiscal year that ends June 30, 2016, some of it attributed to plummeting football revenue. 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 levels below the vast majority of the schools it competes against in the Mountain West Conference, Big West Conference and elsewhere. In addition, Matlin told regents UH has $5.2 million in expenses "unique" to Hawaii, including higher travel and operating costs and the need to pay travel subsidies. If not for the $5.2 million, Matlin said UH would have operated at a $3.1 million net surplus in 2014. UH said it 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, rising $12.50 per year 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. 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. Regent Jeff Portnoy said the plan is challenging. "But, I think it is a challenge that needs to be met. I don’t think the amounts of money that we are talking about are extraordinary. But I think it is going to take a commitment from sources that have so far been reluctant." Portnoy said, "So, is it do-able? I think that’s the big question." UH BALANCED BUDGET PLAN (To be balanced by 2020) >> UH athletics initiatives: $4.7M >> Student fees increase: $1.7M >> Direct legislative support: $5.5M >> Increased UH institutional support: $2.3M >> Total: $14.2M Source: UH Previous Story Lawyers: NFL concussion deal excludes central brain injury Next Story As UH's season ends, Naeole stresses 'fun'