The committee did not mention the specific number for the budget, which will be presented to the full board next week. But, based on the revenue-and-expense statement shared at the athletic association’s winter board meeting in February, 8% would increase the FY 2023 budget by $12 million to $162.53 million.
Ransom said the association is requesting an additional 4% from its general endowment “for strategic investments into our programs.” The Bulldogs are budgeting for an “academic achievement award” that will be provided to all student-athletes for successful progress toward a degree. UGA is also putting more resources into “mental health and performance.
Ranson added that “compensation line-items have increased.” That’s expected to include a new deal for football coach Kirby Smart. Athletic director Josh Brooks and UGA President Jere Morehead confirmed in February that the Bulldogs are in negotiations with Smart’s agent, Jimmy Sexton, for a raise and contract extension for the seventh-year head coach. He currently makes $7 million annually.
The Bulldogs also hired new coaches in track, soccer, softball and men’s and women’s basketball in the past year and offered across-the-board, cost-of-living raises for association employees.
“It’s definitely a team effort,” Brooks told the committee at the close of the meeting. “We’ve got to thank our donors for stepping up in crucial moments during COVID when they turned potential refunds into donations. That allowed us to keep operating. That’s the strength of the Bulldog Nation, and it can never be undervalued.”
Georgia certainly hasn’t slowed when it comes to spending. Later Tuesday afternoon, the Bulldogs will dedicate their new $80 million football operations addition to the Butts-Mehre complex. That project and the two others that proceeded it totaled $175 million in new construction for football. That work has been funded almost entirely by pledges and donations from about 1,500 members of the “Magill Society,” which donates money in exchange for football ticket priority.
UGA football also ranks among the top spenders in the country when it comes to staffing and recruiting budget. Operating expenses for football last year were reported as more than $36 million.