January 28th, 2013 at 5:25 PM ^

It's surprising how far apart Tennessee is from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and LSU.  Their recruiting class only has one four star I believe.  Even Sparty shakes his head at that.


January 28th, 2013 at 5:42 PM ^

I don't have any exact numbers for Florida, but I know they have been having attendance problems also - something like down 2 percent from 2011 to 2012.  I watched a couple of their games where there were significant sections of the stadium which were empty.  It depends upon who they are playing.

I thought this had been posted here before, but here is a piece on college football attendance, and it isn't good:…


January 28th, 2013 at 8:17 PM ^

This announcement from last summer has the most recently available financials. Some of the breakdown of the debt service includes over $1 million for several parking garages as well as the   following facility improvements:


Thompson-Boling Arena $1,558,825

Lindsey Nelson Stadium $26,129

Fleming/Siler Properties  $215,012

North End Zone Expansion (1996) $1,126,588

Thornton Center Building $168,752

Neyland Stadium Skyboxes (2000) $2,002,323

Regal Soccer Stadium $348,716

Allan Jones Aquatic Center $943,894

Neyland Stadium (2005-10) $3,902,730

Sherri Parker Lee Softball Stadium $200,941

TOTAL (for facilities) $10,523,881

There are other items in the announcement, including taxation and so forth, but long story short, the Volunteers are paying  for, well, quite a bit. 


January 28th, 2013 at 6:17 PM ^

They got completed overshadowed by all the S-E-C going on because they haven't done a thing in years. I forget they're in the SEC sometimes because you never here about them unless it's about Derek Dooley's hotseat or how buggered they still are about Lane Kiffin. Kind of fascinating how far they've fallen


January 28th, 2013 at 6:25 PM ^

This article is misleading and its shocking how people automatically think debt is bad or how finances work for large organizations. Michigan's AD debt for 2012 was 206.5 million dollars. UTk AD's finances aren't very healthy but they still have 2 million in cash, have been paying 7 million dollars a year to the university(which it mentions they will temporarily suspend), have already made a move that will save a projected 5 million dollars, and have pretty incredible assets. 


January 28th, 2013 at 8:37 PM ^

Without seeing the entire financials, it's hard to assess their position. Here are some observations:

1. Revenue is down. Losing roughly 15,000 tickets at average cost of $350 would be $5.25 million. That is if average attendance was the same as tickets sold.

2. LSAClassOf2000 noted debt service of $10 million, but the article says debt payments were $20 million. Not including coach buyouts. So is the extra $10 million going to principal? If reserves are low, why throw money at principal unless there is another reason (see speculation below)?

3. What is considered to be a healthy amount of reserves for an athletic department? A lot of what is affecting the reserves at UT are one-time payments. They have made a lot of moves to increase reserves very quickly, plus additional TV revenue will help a lot.

4. This is the speculation part: I almost get the impression that some of this maneuvering is a ploy to end the "amusement tax" on UT.

So, my take was that they are not really in very bad shape at all compared to most athletic departments. They have a great brand and if they start winning and the stadium fills / merchandising sells, they will be back minting money in no time.


January 28th, 2013 at 9:59 PM ^

I think it is more of a ploy by the sensationalist author to generate more pageviews. If you notice, many of the quotes from administration officials note that they need to make some changes to improve their financials. This author takes those quotes, puts in the amount of debt, and claims their financial situation is dire, when in fact they are actually doing well compared to all the programs out there, though poorly for UTk. 

State Street

January 28th, 2013 at 7:46 PM ^

When your football stadium seats over 100,000 with a rabid following and you find yourselves this much in debt, that is world class incompetence to a ridiculously unfathomable level.


January 28th, 2013 at 10:36 PM ^

Thanks for being so reasonable. Yeah, UT athletic department has some pretty bad money issues, but its just a matter of time before they get through it. If I remember right, the three biggest payout commitments will be off the books in two years (Dooley excepted). Futher more, Dave Hart actually has a functioning brain, so UT should be back into a better position money-wise pretty soon.


January 28th, 2013 at 10:43 PM ^

The $200 million debt isn't so much the issue but the deficits are. They  have depleted their reserves from "close to $30 million" to just under $2 million in the past 5 years (according to the OP's link).


January 28th, 2013 at 11:54 PM ^

Clearly they were just blinded by that obnoxiously bright orange everywhere.

But on a more serious note, Tennessee can get through this. The have an existant fanbase unlike other schools with money trouble (obligatory picture of Maryland's empty football stadium goes here), their stadium is big enough that they can sell a volume of tickets, they just need to start winning some games again. I'm sure I'm on the unpopular side of this as I have some Tennessee ties so I really want them to get back so I can wear some bright orange shamelessly (or as close to it as possible given that obnoxious color) again.