UConn Athletic deficit totals $43.5 million

Connecticut guard R.J. Cole (1) saves the ball against Butler during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021, in Storrs, Conn. The University of Connecticut’s athletic department’s deficit now totals $43.5 million, the highest among Division 1 programs in the country. (David Butler II/Pool Photo via AP)

The University of Connecticut’s athletic department had a $1.2 million increase in its deficit over the 2019 – 2020 fiscal year, raising the total to $43.5 million, according to AP News.  

UConn released the annual fiscal report to the NCAA on Wednesday, Jan. 20. The report covers from July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020, according to AP News. This report does not include the losses from the football season cancellation or refund of basketball tickets.  

The $1.2 million increase was due to an increase in university tuitions – which lead to higher scholarship costs – as well as declines  in ticket sales by $1.4 million, payouts from Learfield IMG College and league revenue, along with additional factors, according to the Hartford Courant

UConn’s deficit remains the highest among Division I programs in the country, according to the New Haven Register.  

In a statement from the university, UConn said it is working towards its goal of reducing the deficit.  

“UConn Athletics continues its work toward financial self-sufficiency, staying the course despite revenue and expense challenges posed to its programs and the university as a whole by the COVID-19 pandemic,” the statement said. “ It also continues to provide top-quality educational and athletic opportunities to its student-athletes and an exciting, uniting experience for alumni and Husky fans worldwide.”  

“UConn athletics continues its work toward financial self-sufficiency, staying the course despite revenue and expense challenges pose to its programs and the university as a whole by the covid-19 pandemic.”

The report does not include the projected savings from eliminating men’s cross country, men’s swimming and diving, men’s tennis and women’s rowing, according to AP News. In the statement from the university, it said that the athletics department was directed to reduce its amount of university support “by 25 percent annually by 2023.”  

“By making the difficult decision to reduce sports and decreasing operating expenses in necessary ways, the department is on track to reduce its subsidy to a level more in line with its peers,” the university statement said.  

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted revenue, including the loss of the American Athletic Conference and NCAA tournaments in 2020, according to the New Haven Register. In 2019, UConn received approximately $707,000 from the men’s and women’s NCAA tournaments.  

“Like other institutions’ programs, UConn Athletics is operating under fiscal and logistical circumstances no one could have foreseen and, above all, prioritizes the health and safety of its student-athletes, fans and employees,” the university statement said. “It will continue to do so in the most fiscally responsible manner moving forward.”  

According to AP News, the report does not include the $26.4 million donated and pledged after UConn announced it was rejoining the Big East Conference.   

“Our return this year to the big east will also play a positive role in our long-term fiscal future”

“At the same time, athletics-related philanthropy was outstanding – totaling $26.4 million donated or pledged in FY20 – and donors continue to strongly support team facilities, financial aid and other needs to underscore the programs’ value to the larger community,” the university statement said.  

According to the Hartford Courant, UConn will be paying the American Athletic Conference exit fee until 2026. After paying the $3.5 million entry fee to join the Big East, UConn’s revenue should increase gradually.  

“Our return this year to the Big East will also play a positive role in our long-term fiscal future, particularly once college athletics can once again welcome fans to games after the pandemic and UConn can offer full schedules of competitive matchups against our historical rivals and others,” the university statement said.  

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