April 27, 2011
This is a reposting of the Wildcat Wednesday weekly email sent by Athletic Director Greg Byrne to all the wildcat fans around the country. If you would like to sign up to receive the email directly please sign up here.
WILDCAT MOVEMENT IS ON THE ROAD
We're on the road this week -- as you read this, in Yuma -- with Mike Stoops, Sean Miller, and members of our marketing and Wildcat Club staffs. It all started on Monday evening with a trip to Douglas, then to Sierra Vista and Nogales on Tuesday. Today, we enter the southwest corner of our state, tomorrow and Friday in Prescott, Flagstaff and Phoenix. The bottom line is our effort to meet you -- our alums, fans, ticket holders, would-be ticket holders, donors and potential donors, casual observers and diehard Wildcats. You all are important to us, and we hold your communities' support close to our hearts. We won't sit by and watch someone else do this, and we're in it for the long haul. Follow us on Facebook. It's a movement and it's gaining momentum!
50 STATE CHALLENGE
The Wildcat Movement is sweeping across the nation, with donations from 30 states so far—we need your support in recruiting members from the remaining states. Let’s turn the whole map red with Wildcat pride and get participation from every state! If you want to turn your state red and be a part of the Wildcat Movement, donate today at www.wildcatmovement.com
PROJECT GAINS MOMENTUM WITH MAJOR GIFTS
of a combined $25.5 million dollars toward our $72.3 million north end-zone football facility. An anonymous Wildcat couple pledged $11 million, Jeff and Sharon Stevens upped their previous $10 million gift by an additional $2 million, and Tucson automotive leaders Jim and Vicki Click pledged a gift of $2.5 million. The Stevens' and anonymous gifts rank as the top two in our history and the Clicks is the sixth-biggest, in addition to previous support which resulted in our Jim Click Hall of Champions. This kind of leadership in this area will go a long way toward helping us reach goals that will enable us to present a plan to the Arizona Board of Regents. Pending approval from the Board, our goal is to break ground on the needed facility as soon as possible once it's approved. We shared some architectural renderings with the media, and here's one view, from the north looking south:
PAC-12 MEDIA RIGHTS ARE NOT A SOLUTION
The soon to be negotiated Pac-12 media rights fees have received a lot of media attention recently, and will provide much needed relief for some of our financial issues. But, they do not represent every answer to our future.
ICA faces numerous financial challenges currently and in the years ahead. From a business standpoint, intercollegiate athletics presents a difficult business model in that we basically have two sports (football and men's basketball) that produce a net profit each year, and 17 sports that do not. Thus, the ability to fully fund each of our 19 programs at a “top twenty” level each year depends almost solely on the success of those two revenue producers.
Substantial increases over the past several years for budgetary expenses such as salaries, medical insurance, facilities repair and maintenance, scholarships, student support (room, books, board, fees), game management, travel, equipment and uniforms have put additional pressure on our ability to balance our books and still stay true to our mission statement of providing the best possible experience, both academically and competitively, for our 500 student-athletes. We have not posted a negative fund balance during the last 25 years and we take our financial responsibilities to the University of Arizona very seriously, making every effort to use our available resources effectively and efficiently.
We recently completed an exhaustive financial review of our 19 sports, support services and administrative areas and have trimmed approximately $1.3 million from our expenditure budget. In addition to our operating budget, we face significant facility challenges which I have mentioned over the past year. We receive no state monies for upgrading and renovating our facilities, but rather accomplish needed projects through our operating budget, which is minimal, or through private gifts from our donors.
Thanks in great part to the generous major gifts mentioned earlier in this email, we continue to make significant progress towards starting construction on a $72.3 million north end-zone complex that will house our football operations, provide an excellent recruiting venue, and provide club loge seating and upgraded fan amenities for folks sitting in the north end-zone. Fortunately, we have received several major gifts that make the construction of the NEZ complex possible.
Even with the north end-zone plans, we have many other facility needs. In particular, what our long-term plans are for the 40-year-old McKale Center, which lacks adequate locker rooms for our sports, and is woefully short on concessions points of sale and restrooms. We commissioned an outside architect to prepare a Facilities Master Plan which was completed last year. The Facilities Master Plan shows our needs are substantial (approximately $350 million) for all our venues and it is critical to continue to update and renovate each of them if we are going to compete in the top half of the Pac-12 in each of our 19 sports across the board.
The Pac-12 media rights fees will help, there is no question. The new media package will be in place for FY 2012-13 and will help cover some of the operational cost increases mentioned above, and assist in helping pay the debt service for the facility renovations we must complete in the near future. While the media rights package will provide a significant uplift in revenues, I must caution our own staff, university and fan base that it does not pay for all our needs moving forward. We will still need to be vigilant in controlling costs, be highly competitive in all our sports to meet projected ticket revenues, and continue to rely heavily on our donors for assistance with facilities upgrades and renovations. While the new media package will immediately help us pay operational costs and facility debt service, it will not be enough. It is imperative that we also increase revenues in all existing areas, while also developing in a number of other areas.
That's a lot of information, and I appreciate you taking the time to read it, but I want you to have a solid understanding of our business model and why your participation is vital to our continued success.
RENEWAL DEADLINE – MAY 2nd
Please don’t forget the renewal deadline is now less than one week away! We hope you will join us again next season and choose to renew your 2011 football season tickets and/or Wildcat Club charitable gifts (including men’s basketball priority). This revenue is critical to our department as we close out the year. Let’s show the new Pac-12 we have the best fans in the country! We’ve had a good number of you renew online, an option that will be available through May 2nd. Step-by-step online renewal instructions are available, or CLICK HERE to renew now.
A strong showing by our indoor track and field program pushed us up a notch in the Learfield Sports Director's Cup final winter standings, to No. 17. The UA is among four Pac-10 teams in the Top 25. The Cup measures programs by awarding points for final NCAA championships standings (and bowl appearances, in the case of football). It's not a be-all view of how to measure athletic departments' success, but it pinpoints some competitive strengths for sure... Softball and baseball are at home this weekend… Congratulations to women’s golf for its selection to the NCAA west regionals… Good luck to men’s golf and men’s and women’s tennis as they head off to the Pac-10 championships, and men’s and women’s track who travel up north for a Saturday competition… A recent New York Times story underscored a problem some schools may have. It's when fans and supporters and boosters (who by nature become 'representatives' of the institution's athletic interests) contact prospective student-athletes through social media pages (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) and encourage the recruits to attend their university. This is a potential bad situation and we encourage all of you to leave the official recruiting to our coaching staffs. The crux of the issue is that the monitoring falls to the schools themselves, and that's a huge task. Asking you to leave the contact to our people is the best way to approach this. Better safe than sorry…
Continue to do what you can to help Arizona Athletics and:
4) Get Others to Do the Same