NKU’s Athletic Department is working with a $10,689,991 budget, but that may not stretch out as far as one would think.
Revenue for athletics
According to the most recent budget provided by NKU Athletic Director Ken Bothof, the largest part of the athletic department’s budget comes from what is titled general funds, a fund that is supplied completely by the university. The recent transition to Division I has caused the university to make a larger commitment to athletics, a commitment that currently comes in the form of $9,095,680.
“Part of it is because the conference that we’re in, and the geographic location that we’re in, and having to travel much more,” Bothof said. “[With the biggest change being] the addition of some sports, and the addition of scholarships to those sports, that’s been the biggest change from a university funds point.”
Other forms of revenue for the department come from fundraising, ticket sales, sponsorship and licensing, guarantees and conference distributions, totaling $10,689,991 when added with smaller forms of revenue.
The second largest form of revenue for athletics is fundraising at $917,705, which is comprised of many aspects.
“What makes up our fundraising is several things,” Bothof said. “We do an annual fund drive, trying to get more members to support and give the athletics. Part of this is people purchase season tickets through the fundraising piece as well and we do several fundraising events.”
Bothof said the department also hosts a golf tournament to support men’s scholarships, as well as a walk that raises support for women’s scholarships.
As far as where the rest of the fundraising dollars go, it is purely up to the donor, according to Bothof.
“They might want it to go to scholarships for women, it might be scholarships for men, it might be scholarships for a specific program, we give people the opportunity to do them that way,” Bothof said. “Some of it is given through a general support for athletics. So we look at it different ways. We certainly look at it as where the donors’ interest[s] are, if they indicate where that is.”
At $312,000, guarantees are the third largest form of revenue for the athletic department. According to Bothof, the guarantees the school receive come about in different ways.
“With basketball, a lot of scheduling is done through different websites that are available, that schools can put out, ‘We’re looking for a home game and this is what we pay.’ So our coaches have access to that website, and they can go out and look at what schools are guaranteeing for games and what dates are available to see if it matches our schedule. So it’s done that way,” Bothof said.
Bothof added that other teams, such as baseball and women’s basketball, do receive guarantees, but they often come in smaller amounts often only covering the cost of travel and lodging.
NKU recently took a 5 percent cut across the board, including a five percent cut to athletics according to Bothof. However, the department has done as much as possible to minimize the effect that it has had on athletics.
“It impacted us in terms of some of the resources we had from a general fund,” Bothof said. “What we’re trying to do is raise additional dollars different ways, through more ticket sales, through more fundraising, through some additional guarantees, to sort of offset that.”
Bothof added that in order to prevent the cutting of personnel, the department cut back in other areas, mainly in facilities by not allocating for recently planned improvements.
Expenses for athletics
The main portion of expenditures for the department includes salaries and benefits, operating costs, scholarships, and capital and debt to make up the over $10 million budget when added with smaller expenditures.
A large part of the operations budget for athletics is travel expenses for teams because NKU is the northernmost school in the Atlantic Sun Conference.
Bothof said this plays a large part in the breakdown of a team’s budget.
“We look at where our teams have to travel from a conference standpoint, because that number is a fairly easy number to get to because now we’ve been in the league two years, so we can kind of estimate from that standpoint,” Bothof said. “We then work with our coaches on our non-conference schedules to try and schedule as many games as we can in a close geographical area.”
According to Bothof, one part of the budget that is always set is scholarships, saying that the university knows exactly how much those will cost every year.
Bothof added that with scholarships there are several different types because they can only give full rides to men’s basketball and women’s basketball, and other sports typically only receive partial scholarships, whether it be with academics, , with housing, or with books.
“[Scholarships] are looked at from the NCAA’s limitations on scholarship dollars,” Bothof said. “We’re set up to fund them at the Division I level in terms of scholarship dollars.”