“As we indicate every year, the NCAA Membership Financial Report is straightforward, but distinctly defines revenues to include non-operating funds related to capital projects and interest income from investments but excludes operating departmental contributions to the University and non-operating current capital project expenditures,” Georgia athletic director Josh Brooks said in a statement circulated to beat reporters Wednesday evening. “Therefore, the balance shown does not reflect the full financial picture.”
UGA’s revenue also includes $15.9 million made from interest income off investments. The athletic association also donated $4.6 million to the university, as it does annually, and committed $3.1 million to “deferred facility maintenance and equipment.”
The school deposited $5.7 million into its reserves, which are managed by the UGA Foundation. UGA maintains that figure is closer to its actual profit margin.
“We've got to thank our donors for stepping up in crucial moments during COVID when they turned potential refunds into donations."
- Georgia athletic director Josh Brooks
However the numbers are calculated, Georgia’s financial work during FY 2021 was impressive considering it came amid a global pandemic. The Bulldogs played only 10 football games overall and hosted only three home football games at Sanford Stadium, with attendance limited to 20,524 rather than more than 92,000. Hence, ticket revenue dropped from $38.6 million to $4.7 million.
However, Georgia’s expenses were reduced dramatically during the year. Recruiting expenses dropped from $3.8 million to $940,000 after the NCAA shut down in-person visitation. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs asked season ticket holders who decided not to attend games to convert potential refunds into donations to a COVID-19 relief fund. Donors responded, and that resulted in an additional $20 million in revenue.
“We’ve got to thank our donors for stepping up in crucial moments during COVID when they turned potential refunds into donations,” Brooks said during a meeting of the athletic association’s finance committee Tuesday. “That allowed us to keep operating. That’s the strength of the Bulldog Nation, and it can never be undervalued.”
At that meeting, Stephanie Ransom, UGA’s deputy athletic director for business operations, reported that Georgia is projecting a revenue increase of 8% for the next fiscal year, which begins July 1. That would mean an operating budget of about $162.5 million, based on UGA’s accounting, for FY 2023.
Meanwhile, Georgia is expected to reveal its FY 2022 numbers during its end-of-year athletics board meeting next week in Greensboro. Considering that the worksheet will include some of the windfall from the Bulldogs’ national championship run in football, expect those numbers to be eye-popping.
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