Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Skip navigation

Teamwork now. DOme later.


Teamwork now. DOme later.

Looks like it's all coming together. Even the student leaders knows how to play the game.. ;D


FAU seeks $330 fee hike to finance debt-ridden sports teams

By Jennifer Peltz & Ted Hutton
Staff Writers
Posted March 17 2005

Determined to stop relying on loans and other lifelines that have floated its sports teams into multimillion-dollar debts, Florida Atlantic University says it's poised with a plan to afford its athletic ambitions.

The plan, which trustees will review March 29, hinges largely on raising student sports fees. They already are among the highest at any Florida public university.

The sports program still faces considerable debts, though they recently eased when FAU's fund-raising foundation agreed to an $800,000 repayment. The foundation once estimated it was owed $4.5 million.

Besides the foundation debt, the athletics program must repay $1.2 million in loans from student housing and other campus money-makers, which may be tapped again to cover potential sports losses of more than $1.7 million this year.

Still, FAU officials see the developments as significant progress.

"We believe that, with cautious projections … we can sooner than later get to a balanced budget in our athletic department and get this program on the rails," FAU President Frank Brogan said.

FAU aimed to become a player in college sports when it launched a football team in 2001, and it has made an impressive entry. The Fighting Owls made it to the Division I-AA semifinals in 2003, started a two-year process of qualifying for Division I-A last year and have been invited to join the Sun Belt conference this coming season.

But the university has strained to support the team's success. Despite efforts to economize – moving home games from Pro Player Stadium to less expensive Lockhart Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, for instance – expenses have risen. Largely because of the added scholarships, higher coaching salaries and other costs of bidding for Division I-A football, the athletics budget this year increased 13 percent, to $10.1 million.

Meanwhile, ticket sales have fallen short of projections, for a $150,000 gap this season. An early burst of donations for sports has fizzled. FAU expected to log about $2.2 million in contributions and corporate sales this budget year, which ends in June. At the halfway point, on Dec. 31, it had taken in about $179,000.

Given that, trustees made it clear last month they wanted to stem the flow of red ink.

Athletics Director Craig Angelos says administrators are close to having a plan to do it, with a budget for the next three years that calls for limited spending increases and sizeable hikes in revenue. They include higher payments for taking on very competitive opponents, from about $250,000 to $900,000 next year, he said.

The plan also includes hiking student sports fees from $11.75 to $13.75 per credit, or $330 a year for a full-time undergraduate load of 24 credits. By comparison, students pay $1.90 per credit at the University of Florida, where television and other revenues help pay for sports.

UF students pay separately for football tickets, however, while FAU students get them for free.

An FAU student-staff committee is considering the $2-per-credit increase, which would generate about $1 million a year. It would need their OK, as well as trustees' approval.

Student leaders want the committee to consider shaving other fees, such as parking or health, to offset the potential sports-fee hike, student body President Alvira Khan said.

"If we can help athletics and save money at the same time, I think it's a win-win situation," she said.

The proposed budget would repay over 10 years the $1.2 million in loans from student housing rents, food service and other campus money-makers, Angelos said.

The foundation, meanwhile, will recoup its $800,000 loan to sports in May 2002 by claiming 5 percent of future donations to sports.

Another $1.5 million in foundation support for sports during 2002 and 2003 will be considered a gift, Brogan said.

The money came from general accounts available for a variety of campus purposes, not from donations specifically to sports.

Also, the foundation alone will bear responsibility for repaying the $4.8 million balance of a loan that helped pay for the Tom Oxley Athletic Center, a training facility.

Foundation leaders recently agreed unanimously to the arrangement, Chairman Armand Grossman said.

"I think everybody recognizes that [sports] is something important to the university," he said. "… it's just a catalyst that people can focus around and get excited about, and it brings a lot of acclaim to the university."

Jennifer Peltz can be reached at [email protected] or 561-243-6636.

Back to the top


Teamwork now. DOme later.

Having Armand Grossman in the position he is in is ideal, this guy is a sports type of guy, with an academian in place, I gauranteed this would not have gone over to well.

Everyone appears to be on the same page for the common good, there is harmony in Owl Land.
Back to the top


Teamwork now. DOme later.

I dont mind paying extra few bucks a credit esspecially if its a means to an end with the stadium deal. I say go for it. A small price to pay for months of saturday fun. Students will spend more than that on beer on saturdays.
Back to the top


Teamwork now. DOme later.

I dont mind paying extra few bucks a credit esspecially if its a means to an end with the stadium deal. I say go for it. A small price to pay for months of saturday fun. Students will spend more than that on beer on saturdays.

If I may add to your sentence….."saturday mornings on the way to the stadium. ;D
Or some may start the beverage runs on Friday night. 8-)
Back to the top