USC Football Bails Out Hoops Program
By Scott M. Reid, The Orange County Register
USC, bolstered by an eight-figure surplus in football, saw its annual overall athletic department budget grow to $80.1 million during the 2008-09 academic year, according to documents filed with the U.S. Department of Education on Thursday.
The budget was just over $76 million the previous year.
The Trojans' $35.2 million in football revenue allowed the university to overcome nearly $900,000 in red ink for the men's basketball program.
UCLA had a $66.17 million athletic budget in 2008-09, up slightly from the previous academic year ($66.08 million).
The sports budgets for UC Irvine and Cal State Fullerton also increased, according to Equity in Athletics Disclosure Act documents released Thursday.
UCI reported a $12.45 million budget, up from $12.09 million in 2007-08. Cal State Fullerton's budget was $9.58 million, an increase of approximately $320,000 from the previous year. The Titans' trip to the College World Series raised the school's athletic-related revenues and expenses, CSF associate athletic director Robert Scialdone said.
"Scholarship costs also went up, so did (employee) benefits," Scialdone said.
Scholarship expenses increased by $150,000 to $1.68 million, Scialdone said. Employee benefit expenses increased by more than $100,000.
All three public schools saw similar increases. One of the biggest drains on the USC budget was the men's basketball program.
The Trojans reported men's basketball revenues totaling $3.83 million while spending $4.72 million to operate the program.
The shortfall reflects a dropoff at the box office despite the Trojans' run to an unprecedented third consecutive NCAA Tournament berth and the Pac-10 Tournament title.
USC posted one of the nation's largest drops in home basketball attendance, falling from an average of 8,468 fans per game in 2007-8 to 5,618 last season.