STORRS, Conn. (AP) — UConn’s athletic department reported Tuesday that its budget deficit rose from from $43.5 million to $47.2 million in the 2021 fiscal year, the result of pandemic-related hits to ticket sales and other revenue.
The school released the figures as part of its athletic department’s annual fiscal report to the NCAA and covers the time period between July 2020 and June 2021. The gap will be made up through $42.6 million in institutional support and $4.6 million in student fees, according to the report. The school said it hopes to reduce the deficit, one of the highest in the nation, to $33.6 million during a more normal 2022 fiscal year. “UConn Athletics continues to work toward less reliance on institutional support and is on track to achieve a level more in line with its peers by the end of the next fiscal year,” the school said in a statement.
UConn said the deficit reflects issues related to COVID-19 during the 2020-21 academic year, including the cancellation of the football season and revenue lost because the men’s and women’s basketball teams were forced to compete in empty arenas. Those three programs generated $7.9 million in ticket revenue during the 2019-20 season, the school noted. Total ticket sales for the 2021 fiscal year for all sports totaled just over $106,000, according to the report.
The pandemic did lead to the school saving some money, including about $1 million in operating expenses at its football stadium and about $2 million in travel expenses, $900,000 of that from football, according to the report. The school said the report does not reflect what are expected to be savings from eliminating the men’s tennis, men’s swimming and diving, and men’s cross country teams, which played their final seasons in 2020-21. The school also planned to eliminate women’s rowing but settled with the team after a federal gender-equity lawsuit, agreeing to instead improve the program and keep it through 2026.
The report also includes a change in how the school reports the loss of revenue from scholarships, using the in-state tuition rate instead of the higher full tuition rate for athletes. As a result, school reported tuition as a $12.9 million expense in 2021, down from $17.4 million in 2020.