Athletic department reorganizes budget

The athletic department is beginning a two-year process to reorganize its budget so that $500,000 in staff salaries will no longer come from other departments.

As listed in the 2009-2010 university budget, 19 head and assistant coaches receive half of their total salaries working as tutors in the Academic Success Center while around 12 other coaches and staff receive a part of their salaries from part-time teaching, training, recruiting or administrative positions.

Athletic Director Brad Teague said funding within the department can be controversial, as budgeting and funding methods often differ from the rest of the university due to state restrictions on how much education-and-general revenue can be spent on athletic programs.

“The [Arkansas] Department of Higher Education has asked that we have our coaches out of the Academic Success Center,” Teague said. “We’re not sure how we’re going to come up with [the $500,000 in salaries coming from the tutoring center].”

Jim Purcell, director of the state’s Department of Higher Education, said last week that it is not uncommon in state universities for coaches to receive part of their salaries from other departments, but being listed in the budget as working part time is not always what happens.

“The key is if they do have an assignment outside of athletics that the coach is doing, for example, administrative work also, and that they get paid correlated with the department they work in,” Purcell said.

The 2009-2010 budget shows the athletic department receives $4.1 million in student athletic fees, $1.1 million in transfer student fees and $100,000 in private gifts.

Teague said the department and the UCA administration are looking into ways to make up the $500,000 in salaries now needing to come from the athletic department budget.

Additional fundraising programs and raising the student athletic fee are both potential methods of increasing the department income. However, Teague said, that cutting sports programs or eliminating additional coaching or staff positions are not options in the two-year plan of gradually adjusting the budget. Decisions to increase student fees would be made during the May board of trustees meeting.

Purcell said he is confident the two-year plan will help keep the university on track to resolve funding disputes within the Athletic Department.

“President [Allen] Meadors has done a great job of identifying the remaining issues,” Purcell said. “It’s just very important the university stay at $1 million [of using education-and-general revenue].”

The donation of the $100,000 Alumni Scholarship Endowment Fund announced last week for football scholarships is not earmarked to supplement salaries in athletics, Teague said, but the $5,000 earned in interest every year will be used for scholarships.

Teague said the department saved $40,000 last year when salaries were redistributed after the football program went from nine to eight full-time coaching positions. After former defensive coordinator Denzil Cox retired in February, the department saved $30,000 of his remaining salary.

Both defensive and offensive coordinator positions were open at one time last year, and were filled from within, Teague said.

Recently, two football coaches – receivers coach Jerry Mack and quarterback coach Buster Faulkner – resigned from UCA to take jobs elsewhere. Teague said inside applicants will not fill their positions.

Last semester Teague announced he was eliminating in July the position of associate athletic director held by Kyle O’Quinn. O’Quinn’s $61,200 salary will not go to any other staff members.

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