Texas Athletic Director Mike Perrin smiles as he speaks to reporters after the first day of the Big 12 conference meeting Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016, in Irving, Texas. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

Football

Texas athletics generated $6.5-million surplus for the 2015-16 academic year

Texas AD Mike Perrin oversaw an athletic department with $188 million in revenue, $181.5 million in expenses and transferred $10 million back to academics

Posted January 10th, 2017

Story highlights
  • Texas football generated an eye-popping $99.2 million surplus to fund the other programs.
  • Football, men's basketball the only two programs that finished positive in 2015-16.
  • Longhorns continue to see rising costs in scholarships. Severance payments will go up.

For a semi-retired trial lawyer, Texas athletic director Mike Perrin sure knows his math.

Texas, one of the nation’s wealthiest athletic programs, finished the 2015-16 academic year with an eye-popping $6.5-million surplus, according to audited figures obtained by the American-Statesman through an open records request.

Just two years ago, this was an athletic department that was $2.8 million in the red. It was the first time UT’s athletic department had lost money since the 1999-2000 year.

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During the 2014-15 academic year, the program got back in the black with a $458,367 cushion. Now, the department is full steam ahead toward former AD Steve Patterson’s long-range goal of reaching $200 million in annual revenue.

Gregory L. Fenves, Tom Herman and Executive Senior Athletic Director for UT Austin and Athletic director Mike Perrin poses as the show the hook’em sign after the press conference in the Carpenter-Winkel Centennial Room of the Belmont Hall on Sunday, November 27, 2016. RICARDO B. BRAZZIELL/AMERICAN-STATESMAN
Texas athletic director Mike Perrin, left, oversaw a strong year financially for the Longhorns during the 2015-16 academic year as UT generated a $6.5-million surplus.
RICARDO B. BRAZZIELL/AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Texas brought in almost $188 million in revenue and had $181.5 million in expenses, according to a report generated by the Austin accounting firm Maxwell, Locke and Ritter. And that includes transferring a record $10 million into the university’s coffers.

Only a handful of schools transfer anything to the academic side. Most athletic programs balance the books with subsidies.

In August, the Statesman reported that UT was on track to finish with a microscopic surplus of $1,241. “We are on sound financial footing,” Perrin said at the time. “It’s something that I remain concerned about all the time, both on income and expenses.”

According to the audited totals, UT’s football program alone brought in $127.9 million and spent only $28.7 million — leaving $99.2 million to fund the school’s other 19 varsity sports. That should be music to coach Tom Herman’s ears. He has strong ideas about expanding the football staff and renovating the Moncrief-Neuhaus Athletic Center.

Men’s basketball was the only other sport to generate a surplus ($8.4 million). Baseball usually finishes in the positive, but the program showed a $97,775 loss during former coach Augie Garrido’s last season.

Overall, this report should be well received by UT President Gregory L. Fenves, someone who trusts and still has high confidence in Perrin, according to UT sources.

Previous reports indicated that Fenves had begun looking at possible replacements for Perrin, who took over for Patterson on an interim basis in September 2015. That morphed into a full-time role. However, one source said Tuesday the process has not started in earnest.

Texas saw dramatic jumps in ticket sales during the 2015-16 academic year. The Longhorns had $37.4 million in football ticket sales compared to almost $35 million the previous year. Men’s basketball ticket sales were up $854,321 and women’s basketball sales were up $231,335. Volleyball ticket sales were up almost $150,000.

Overall, the Longhorns had $60.9 million in ticket sales across the board. Last summer, Perrin broke the school’s contract with The Aspire Group, a 32-person outbound sales calling team that charged UT a monthly fee of $26,666. Perrin has said he believed UT was better off by bringing those ticket-selling operations back in house.

The department saw a $3.16 million jump in revenue from program, novelty, parking and concession sales. Patterson began charging UT season ticket holders an additional fee for parking prior to the 2015 season, a stunning move that caught virtually all fans by surprise.

The Statesman reported in December that UT netted $1.3 million off alcohol sales at Royal-Memorial Stadium during the 2016 season. This report, however, does not reflect that revenue; it will show up in next year’s final report.

As for expenses, UT is not immune to rising tuition costs. The Longhorns spent $11.7 million on scholarships, compared to $10.6 million the previous year. The school also paid out almost $3.5 million in severance, a figure that may skyrocket next year after UT pays off the guarantees required in former coach Charlie Strong’s contract and those of his assistants.

Contact Brian Davis at 512-445-3957. Email bdavis@statesman.com.

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