SU Athletics reports increase in 2011 revenue; likely due to conference change, other decisions

Syracuse University Athletics generated close to $22 million more revenue during fiscal year 2011 than during the 2010 fiscal year, according to a recent government report.

But this increase is likely due to “atypical transactions” such as the Big East Conference buyout and fundraising efforts from the Campaign for Syracuse University, said Terry Donovan, executive senior associate athletics director and chief financial officer for SU Athletics.

“I think that’s why it looks really odd then over previous years, because we’re changing conferences and there are some decisions in there that moved the numbers around,” he said. “When we submitted it, I looked at the numbers and said, ‘Wow, it looks a lot different.”’

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Postsecondary Education and NCAA mandate the report, he said. However, it’s intended to look at the equity between men and women’s sports — not as a true financial statement that shows profit and loss for an athletic department. Fiscal Year 2011 ran from July 1, 2011 to June 30, 2012, according to the report.

SU Athletics collected $73, 287,687 in total revenue in 2011, up $21,853,847 from 2010— or 42.5 percent — according to reports. Of that amount, $59,469,346 was attributable to men’s teams and $11,849,228 to women’s teams. The remaining amount was not allocated by sex.

Basketball and football, two programs that Donovan said benefited from the fundraising efforts, both showed increases in revenue.

Men’s basketball revenue increased by $6,871,530 — or about 31.6 percent — to $25,888,761, according to the report. Football revenue increased by approximately 52.7 percent to $28,688,904, according to the report.

Donovan said the numbers include factors such as ticket sales, contributions and merchandise attributable to each sport. Other factors such as the number of home football games might account for differences year-to-year, he said.

Team performance also plays into revenue, he said, as there are more revenue opportunities with a postseason. The men’s basketball season had one of its most successful seasons in school history, posting a 34-3 record and making it to the Elite Eight in the NCAA Tournament. The football team finished 5-7, going 1-6 in the Big East, and did not make a bowl game.

Donovan said the NCAA audit team assured the department it was done correctly and that he expects the numbers to “settle down” next year.  From the 2006 to 2010 fiscal year, the reports show an average of $48,252,323.20 in revenue.

The Orange’s move to the Atlantic Coast Conference in July 2013 might also have an effect on the way numbers are shown in the report, he said.

Said Donovan: “As we go into the ACC, it will be different than the Big East — it’s really how the conference decides the revenue streams and what they’re attributable to.”


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