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July 13, 2009 - Colleges doing everything from eliminating sports, cutting scholarships to save money

An article published by the Associated Press shares many of the cost-cutting measures being employed at college athletic departments across the country in an effort to save money.  Among the items noted in the article:

  • The Atlantic Coast Conference won't hold its baseball championship at Fenway Park next year, choosing a North Carolina venue over Boston.
  • The University of Michigan, Ohio State University, and the University of Wisconsin aren't printing media guides.
  • The University of Miami will be busing its football team to the University of  South Florida in Tampa and the University of Central Florida in Orlando to save $140,000.
  • The University of Washington expects to save $1.2 million by eliminating swimming
  • The University of Cincinnati will no longer offer new scholarships for men's cross country, track and swimming, a move expected to save $400,000 a year.
  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) is asking its teams to try to travel no farther than two states away for non-conference games to save $50,000.
  • The University of Notre Dame is asking its coaches in sports other than football to schedule games with opponents closer to home.
  • UNLV plans to save about $50,000 by doing away with some chartered flights for its football and basketball teams and instead will fly commercial. UNLV also plans to save $75,000 by not providing primary insurance to walk-ons and another $10,000 in lighting costs and staff overtime by scheduling more daytime practices and games.
  • The Big 12 Conference has eliminated the majority of its coaches' meetings and instead will hold them via teleconference, saving schools the travel costs.

In May, the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics said declining athletics revenues have been unable to keep up with a "runaway train of spending." In the five-year period through 2008, only 18 of 119 Division I athletic departments operated in the black, according to preliminary numbers compiled by Dan Fulks, an accounting professor at Transylvania University in Lexington, Ky., who has been an NCAA consultant for 20 years. Those numbers were before the economic downturn.

A more comprehensive list of cost cutting measures at higher eduation athletic departments, with 38 "athletic budget cut updates" posted to date, is available at the Ultimate Sports Insider blog.