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Link: Barnhart keeps UK in financial fast lane responsibly

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As it happens every year around this time, the finances of UK Athletics have been the subject of public discussion this week with the approval of a new annual budget. Unsurprisingly, debate has arisen, with some saying the athletic department spends too much and should support the University more than it already does. Other still believe the budget isn't high enough.

This is a couple days old, but Eric Crawford - now of - thinks UK is right where it needs to be:

After a good deal of analysis, this was my conclusion on UK: It is a model athletic program in terms of its financial structure and practice. It does not take a dime of university money. Its student fee is modest and hasn't increased in a decade. It gives money back to university efforts -- including money that is not on the books (it splits merchandise revenue 50-50 with the school, even though estimates are that 90 percent of that revenue is athletics-generated, and uses $500,000 of its athletics media commercial time to promote university, rather than athletic, initiatives). The UK athletic department is not carrying a high debt load. It is truly self-supporting, and has become so without becoming overly commercialized or corporate in nature. It funds a broad-based athletic program that sponsors the most sports of any school in the Southeastern Conference.

This has not always been the case at UK. Much of what now is in place is the product of Barnhart and the administration he has built. Talk to him about UK athletic finances and you're going to hear the word "stewardship" a great deal. He's serious about it.

Against the landscape of College Sports Inc., with universities subsidizing their athletic departments or finding any number of ways behind the scenes to funnel money their way, UK has, in this area, what I would think most universities should aspire to.

Crawford goes on to address multiple viewpoints on the topic, but his thesis is that UK is doing the best it can given the challenging climate it has to deal with.

Link: Barnhart keeps UK in financial fast lane responsibly

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