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Iowa athletics budget grows past $80 million

Scott Dochterman, CR Gazette –

IOWA CITY — Iowa’s athletics department budget will grow to more than $80.6 million for the 2013 fiscal year, Iowa Athletics Director Gary Barta confirmed Thursday.

The department’s budget size increased by more than $5.3 million from fiscal year 2012, which ended June 30. The athletics department — which receives no state funding — generated a surplus for 2012, and the money was used to pay down the department’s debt service, Barta said. Final numbers will be disclosed next month after 2013 budgets officially are approved by the state Board of Regents.

“Obviously one of the things I’m evaluated on as athletic director is making sure the finances work,” Barta said. “Fortunately again this coming year, we’ll present a budget to the Board of Regents in September that balanced last year.”

Iowa has budgeted nearly $14.6 million in debt service for projects like the Kinnick Stadium and Carver-Hawkeye Arena renovations and the newly constructed football training complex. Outside of football ($18.1 million budgeted), debt service is Iowa’s largest expense.

Barta said 10 years ago, Iowa’s capital investments constituted 5 percent of the budget. Now, facilities snag 18 percent.

Despite the increase, Barta said Iowa’s budget ranks seventh among Big Ten institutions. In fiscal year 2011, Iowa’s athletics revenue ranked fifth according to NCAA documents disclosed by 11 Big Ten schools to The Gazette via state open-records laws.

Athletics officials have budgeted to receive more than $25.1 million from the Big Ten/NCAA and $22.86 million from football this year.

Iowa has two more facility projects under way. Barta said he plans to bid the second phase of the $53 million football facility project this winter with construction beginning within the school year. He said the project should be completed by the 2014 football season.

“Ultimately it’s designing it and making sure we can pay for it before we move forward,” he said.

A $1.8 million indoor practice facility at Finkbine Golf Course should be completed in February.

Barta also is looking beyond those projects. He said it’s “still a possibility” the women’s and men’s gymnastics teams could re-purpose the current football facility as a training area. Barta also said the department will conduct a future study to determine if the baseball, softball and track facilities should remain at their current location or migrate to Hawkeye Campus in west Iowa City.

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