Heavy budget shortfall for Tech

The Georgia Tech athletic department has taken some medicine this year, more than a million dollars’ worth.

Lower-than-expected ticket sales in football and men’s basketball, along with heavy expenses involved in the football team’s trips to the ACC Championship game and the Sun Bowl, will leave the athletic department with a net loss of $1.8 million for the fiscal year that ends Sunday.

The losses will be covered by the department’s fund-balance account.

“I think there’s a lot of factors that contributed to where we ended up,” Tech athletic director Mike Bobinski said at an athletic association board meeting Thursday, the final session for the academic year.

Ticket sales generated $9.2 million in revenue, $1 million less than budgeted. The ACC Championship game and the Sun Bowl cost $376,000 and $325,000, respectively, as the department was required to purchase unsold tickets out of its allotment. Total expenses for the year were $54.9 million against revenues of $53.1 million.

Associate athletic director and chief financial officer Frank Hardymon said that the department could have covered the loss with a draw off the endowment, which grew by about $6.6 million to $96.5 million, but chose not to do so in order to preserve its long-term financial health.

The proposed budget for the upcoming year will be $66.9 million, a 14.9 percent growth over the concluding fiscal year, despite conservative projections on ticket revenues. The department still expects stronger sales because the home football schedule includes games against Georgia and Virginia Tech.

The board also voted to acquire a parcel of land that the school foundation office has allowed the golf team to use as a practice facility. The foundation and department have had discussions about a purchase for several years. It will be bought for $9 million. The golf team has received $4.6 million in pledges thus far.

Institute executive vice president for administration and finance Steve Swant offered an affirmation of perhaps the meeting’s most important matter relating to Tech fans. Construction on Bobby Dodd Way on the north end of Bobby Dodd Stadium is expected to be largely completed by the start of the football season.

“People should be able to come and go to the stadium with ease,” he said.

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