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Study: Income from UH athletics outweighs deficits

Updated: 
August 10, 2017 - 12:05am

The athletic department brings at least $2.5 million more to the University of Hawaii than it receives from the school, according to a study scheduled to be presented to a Board of Regents committee Thursday.

Athletic director David Matlin is to discuss the “value proposition of UH athletics” and how “athletics provides positive net benefits to UH” at the meeting of the Regents’ Committee on Intercollegiate Athletics.

According to the 14-page study “UH Manoa provides $10.4 million of funding to UH Manoa athletics” while, in return, “UH Manoa athletics provides or produces $12.9 million in revenues to UH Manoa and additional cash and non-cash value above that.”

The study did not place a value on marketing exposure through athletics events and media impressions or put a dollar amount on what the department termed, “(the) value of the athletics program in attracting students and as a ‘front porch’ for fundraising.”

The numbers do not include debt service or capital improvements.

Athletics was projected to run at a $2 million to $2.2 million deficit for the fiscal year that concluded June 30.

The study notes, “typically, departments within UHM are not responsible for maintenance of their facilities. Instead, maintenance is performed by UHM and is not a cost responsibility of the individual departments,” with the exception of so-called revenue-generating activities on campus such as student housing and the campus center.

But the study says, “UHAD is responsible for maintenance of all facilities on the lower campus including facilities used exclusively by UHAD and UHM and facilities used exclusively by UHM.”

The study said “UHM provides UHAD with $1.6 million as its contribution to maintenance of the lower campus facilities. Based on 2016 data, UHAD spent $1.7 million on maintenance of lower campus facilities including the facilities dedicated or shared by UHM.”

The report concluded, “without an athletics program, UHM would still incur roughly $1.1 million to maintain facilities on the lower campus (and) $600,000 of the annual maintenance is directly attributable to the UH athletics program.”

According to the report, “In addition to the funds UH receives from athletics for scholarship-related costs, UH receives additional funds directly from athletes.” It said, “of the student-athletes who are on scholarship, the majority are not on full scholarships and pay out-of-pocket portions of the cost of attending UH. Student athletes who are not receiving any scholarship support pay their full cost of attending (school) directly to UH.”

A 2015 study by UH’s Shidler College of Business, commissioned by the athletic department, said UH Manoa athletic events were responsible for bringing more than 20,000 visitors to Hawaii for 2013-14. Those visitors, it said, spent $31 million.

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