UK to pour additional $3 million into football program

To those who question whether the University of Kentucky sufficiently supports its football program, Director of Athletics Mitch Barnhart has a new multi-million-dollar response.
UK plans to pour an additional $3 million into its football program in the next school year, the school announced Tuesday when it unveiled a proposed athletic budget for 2013-14. The budget, which was formally approved by UK’s governing body for athletics, the University Athletics Committee, called for expenditures of $12,587,627 for football this coming school year. That’s an increase of about 33 percent from the $9,498,752 spent on football this past year.
When asked why now was the time for such a dramatic increase in UK’s financial commitment to football, Barnhart said, “To get the coaching staff we wanted.”
Of that increase of $3,088,875 for football, about $2.4 million involves higher salaries for new head coach Mark Stoops and his assistants, Barnhart said.
UK expects the Stoops hire to pay off next season in ticket sales. The athletic department budgeted an additional $2 million in expected ticket sales.
In the next school year, football will nearly match the commitment Kentucky makes to its signature sport: men’s basketball. UK budgeted $12,888,205 for John Calipari’s program for 2013-14.
The increase in football expenditures comes in the midst of multi-faceted upgrades in facilities in recent years. Since 2005, Kentucky has:
— Built a new locker room and meeting rooms in the E.J. Nutter Training facility. That includes new practice fields served by the building.
— Installed a new artificial surface and lighting in the Nutter Field House, the indoor practice facility next to Commonwealth Stadium.
— Built a new locker room and erected new video screens and a sound system for Commonwealth Stadium. The upgrade includes a new natural grass playing surface.
UK also plans to begin construction late this year on a much-discussed recruiting room (or as Barnhart prefers to call it, a “multi-purpose room”) in Commonwealth Stadium. That upgrade will also include improvements in restrooms, concessions and club seating, plus a new press box.
UK hopes the multi-purpose room will be operational by 2015. Besides serving as a place to welcome prospective recruits during seven home games each season, UK officials have not decided on other uses for the room.
The overall idea behind the investments in football is to “look like a SEC school in terms of facilities for recruiting,” Barnhart said.
Even with a record $104,414,800 budget for 2013-14, Barnhart said Kentucky remains in the “middle of the pack” among Southeastern Conference athletic departments.
Elsewhere in the 2013-14 budget, UK expects:
— a record $4 million in revenue from licensing deals on memorabilia. The athletic department splits licensing revenue 50/50 with the school.
— To pay an additional $450,000 in guarantees to opponents in so-called guarantee games.
— An increase of $1,175,000 in revenue from men’s basketball ticket sales. That reflects an additional home game. Plus, as part of its deal to play a game in Brooklyn next saeson, UK will receive gate receipts from the game in the Barclays Center.