Georgia received $2.163 million from its share of the NCAA distribution in fiscal year 2019 from the men’s basketball tournament, according to audited figures. That was 1.4% of its total operating revenues.
With the NCAA announcing this week it is slashing money that goes to Division I conferences and schools by about $375 million, a cut of about 62%, schools’ budgets will be impacted.
“I’m sure that’s not going to be the only line item that is going to be affected,” Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity said. “It’s just one of several. We just don’t know the exact number now. We know it will be less obviously. That will go into the information as we create the fiscal year ’21 budget.”
The NCAA will send out $225 million, not the $600 million scheduled before the NCAA men’s basketball tournament was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. The money will be sent out in June.
Georgia also received $42.3 million in the last fiscal year from its SEC revenue distribution. Arkansas athletic director Hunter Yurachek told trustees, according to the Arkansas Democrat Gazette, he expected schools to receive between $2 million to $3 million less this year from the SEC.
McGarity said Georgia is starting a list of “different buckets” that could be affected by the coronavirus crisis.
“Depending on football, obviously, that’s the big unknown now,” McGarity said. “We’re planning as if a football season is going to happen. If that doesn’t happen, that’s a whole another environment.”
Georgia’s football ticket revenue for fiscal year 2019 was $33.4 million, according to a figure provided to the athletic board.
The school also gets a guaranteed $11.5 million annually from its multimedia rights with partner IMG for advertising events that could be affected.
“Is your TV revenue somehow adjusted, are your ticket sales adjusted in some form or fashion?” McGarity said. “There’s a lot of areas that we know could be affected but we really don’t have any data at this point to really be able to comment on specifics.”
Comments from ESPN’s Kirk Herbsteit, an influential voice in college football, drew attention Friday.
“I’ll be shocked if we have NFL football this fall, if we have college football. I’ll be so surprised if that happens,” he said on ESPN radio, according to audio posted by the website Awful Announcing. “Just because from what everything I understand, people that I listen to, you’re 12 to 18 months away from a vaccine. I don’t know how you let these guys go into locker rooms and let stadiums be filled up and how you can play ball. I just don’t know how you can do it with the optics of it.”
Georgia is running the numbers if there were no football games this year “as a worst-case scenario.”
McGarity said he didn’t know yet what those figures were because of the uncertainty of how the SEC revenue distributions will be affected for fiscal year 2021.
“We’re hoping and praying that doesn’t happen,” he said. “We also have to be realistic if football was not part of that what does that mean with our reserves, how much of the reserve can we utilize to make us somewhat whole. That’s why we have a reserve, thank goodness. We’re probably in better shape than a lot of institutions because of our financial stability.”
Georgia’s athletic board was told last month that the Athletic Association had $64.9 million in uncommitted reserves. Georgia’s NCAA financial report for the most recent fiscal year showed it had $174 million in operating revenue and $143 million in operating expenses.
Georgia already extended the football season ticket renewal deadline to April 6, but will handle any “unique circumstances,” for any donors that need to work out a payment plan “if it helps ease the situation due to the economy right now,” McGarity said.
Fundraising for the expansion of the Butts-Mehre building stood at $54.2 million as of last week. The $80 million project includes a football operations center that will include a new locker room, coaches’ offices and an expanded weight room. The pledges can be paid over a 5-year period.
The Magill Society total fundraising stood at $144.6 million from 1,191 members.
Georgia already has taken some cost-saving measures due to the spread of the coronavirus.
“Only those absolutely essential needs with prior approval of our business office are being approved,” McGarity said. “Only if it’s dealing with the virus, only if it’s dealing with an essential operational piece of a program or a department. We’ve put a halt to that unless it’s absolutely essentially necessary.”
Programs in good shape on their budget in a typical year would usually be approved to purchase things like equipment for the next season or the summer, but now won’t be, according to McGarity.