The Eagle at Bryant/College Station reported that Texas A&M University is expecting to being to receive repayments on a $16 million loan to its athletic department in 2005. According to the report, the athletics department was provided access to that credit for four years and then would have 10 years to repay the money without interest, with the first year of the repayment beginning in 2009. The credit was used to pay anticipated deficits from 2004-2009, including expenses for major contracts to football and men’s and women’s basketball coaches, and significant facility upgrades, including track and field facilities.
Although the line of credit had not been previously disclosed in the media, the Eagle obtained the information through an open records request. The university president, Elsa Murano, stated that “it is imperative that a business plan now be developed and implemented by athletics, to ensure that expenditures are kept in check and that strict adherence to the budget is realized.”
According to Dan Fulks, an accounting professor at Transylvania University,” “This is, as far as I know, very unusual. I think I might understand why they do it because they would rather call it a loan than a subsidy. We have a lot of people feeling like institutions are not doing very well and we shouldn’t be spending a lot of money on athletics. I understand why they might be doing it.”
Athletics Director Bill Byrne stated that the investment has helped with athletics success at Texas A&M: “In the past three years, Texas A&M has brought home 17 Big 12 championship trophies. Since 2002-03, A&M has 26 Big 12 titles. In the first six years of the league, only 14 championships were won by Texas A&M.”
President Murano stated the positive return on investment in athletics: “I like to say that sports are our calling card,” she said. “Athletics gives us an opportunity to showcase our great university in front of millions of people around the world who might have never known about Texas A&M.”