Nevada Breaks Even In FY21 With $ 17 Million Shortfall With University Donation


The Nevada Sports Department recorded a COVID-19-induced shortfall of $ 17 million in fiscal year 2021, but still managed to break even through cost-cutting measures and to a $ 10 million giveaway from the university.

Wolf Pack athletic director Doug Knuth told Nevada Sports Net on Friday that UNR President Brian Sandoval had agreed to cover the fiscal year 21 deficit. In May, NSN announced that the UNR had allocated up to $ 12 million for athletics for fiscal year 2021.

“President Sandoval took the position that it was not our fault, something that we could not control and so he and the university administration were able to step in and help us to the tune of 10 million dollars. , which is amazing, ”Knuth said. “We lost about $ 17 million in revenue last year. Ticket sales were the biggest without fans. Our TV partnership was scaled back because there were so many COVID cancellations, so our distribution to Mountain West was below par. College football playoffs were below par as there were no fans at the PSC Championship game or semifinals. It took about 20 percent down. C “was at all levels. The Mountain West tournament had no fans. There’s a cut there. You name it and there was a cut last year. This is all a loss of revenue. of $ 17 million that we would normally have. “

Nevada has taken cost-cutting measures in an attempt to prepare for the major loss of revenue. Last August, the Wolf Pack laid off 20 non-coaching staff and cut spending across the department while cutting staff resources. He cut travel budgets. All of this added up to $ 7 million in saved expenses.

“We have done our best throughout the year to reduce our expenses,” said Knuth. “We cut team travel and recruiting trips a lot because we weren’t allowed to travel for recruiting. Team trips, there was less, because we weren’t playing games. non-conference. and all the jobs that were open, we had to leave vacant for the year. We did a pretty good job and saved around $ 7 million in expenses, mostly on team travel, recruiting travel and staff. It’s $ 17 million in lost revenue, we cut our expenses by about $ 7 million, and at the end of the day that left a gap of about $ 10 million.

The Wolf Pack have run a deficit in eight of the past 12 years (see graph at bottom of article), but nothing as big as last year. COVID-19 has taken its toll on college athletics departments across the country, particularly at the power conference level. Texas A&M, for example, lost $ 84 million. Knuth said the university’s $ 10 million came from federal money. For the record, he said most schools in Mountain West used grants to cover sports debts rather than taking out loans. Knuth said not having to defer this debt is a huge boon to the wolf pack.

“It’s amazing for us,” Knuth said. “To think that if we were to carry this as a loan and pay the loan back over the next 10 years, that would be very difficult for us to balance. I am incredibly happy and lucky. Incredibly grateful to our university administration who understands that this is n It wasn’t something we can control and we did our best to manage our expenses throughout the year.

The $ 10 million giveaway doesn’t solve all of Nevada’s financial problems. After a $ 2 million deficit in fiscal 2020, Nevada owed the university $ 5.9 million in accumulated debt, even after the president’s office took more than $ 8.25 million historical debt / deferral in fiscal 2019. But that figure of $ 5.9 million is more manageable than it might have been possible to have. received last year’s COVID crises. Knuth said one of the bright spots over the past year was that Wolf Pack donors stepped up as fundraising remained steady.

“We had a lot of fans who really stepped up to help us because I think they saw the same,” Knuth said. “It was out of our control. We were still playing and still functioning without fans in the stadiums and arena. But our fans saw that we were still training and competing and playing and fundraising. was pretty solid last year. He didn’t take a huge dive. It was pretty close to a normal year.

Knuth said he hopes the impact of COVID-19 on the Wolf Pack is in the past, although infections have increased with the multiplication of the Delta variant. Knuth plans for normal exercise, although that can change at any time. Nevada has accepted full capacity for its short-term stadiums, but that could change as well. One of the perks of the year is Nevada football and men’s basketball looking ready for the big seasons, which should help boost attendance and interest in the 2021-22 season.

“Right now we are projecting, predicting and hoping for a ‘normal football season’ in quotes with the fans,” Knuth said. “It can change from week to week. Right now we’re forecasting a pretty normal earning year because we think we’re going to be pretty darn good. Our two big earners, football and men’s basketball, we think we’re gonna be really good this year. We can sense it from our ticket renewals and our ticket orders for the year to date. These aren’t extraordinary numbers, but at least it looks like a normal year in terms of ticket sales and income in men’s football and basketball.

“If it was a normal team coming back we might have a little drop, but there is so much excitement for Coach (Jay) Norvell and his team and Coach (Steve) Alford and his team in the big two. income generating, almost to the tune of $ 9 million a year, there is so much excitement in the community for these two teams. I think it will be pretty close to normal. But it’s today, August 20. I don’t know with the new restrictions, there is so much going on in the air, we don’t know what’s going to happen between now and September 11 when our first home football games arrive. .

Knuth has said he expects a “special year” for the Wolf Pack as he plans to celebrate two big anniversaries that could help the Wolf Pack make last year’s financial deficit a year.

“It will be a really special year for us in so many ways,” Knuth said. “There are three or four converging things happening that are quite special. One is the anticipation and the hype around the two big-income sports of football and men’s basketball. But this year, 2022 is also the 10th anniversary of our time at the Mountain West Conference, and it is also the 50th anniversary of Title IX, the 1972 amendment to the Civil Rights Act. terms of fundraising and campaigning around these big elements. This should be a pretty special year for us. I hope our community will support us and get excited about our teams. “

Wolf Pack exercise results

The Wolf Pack had a COVID-induced budget deficit of $ 10 million in fiscal year 2021 which was covered by the university. Here’s a look at Nevada’s profits / deficits in each of the past 12 fiscal years.

2010: – $ 750,000

2011: – $ 450,000

2012: + $ 50,000

2013: – $ 500,000

2014 : – $ 39,450

2015 : + $ 115,000

2016: + $ 135,000

2017: -2,000,000 $

2018: – $ 900,000

2019: + $ 216,678

2020: -2,000,000 $

2021: – $ 10,000,000 (covered by the university)

Source: Wolf Pack Athletics

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