Posted January 28, 2013

Report: Tennessee athletic department is $200 million in debt

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Tennessee's athletic department is reportedly $200 million in debt. (Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)

Tennessee’s athletic department is reportedly $200 million in debt. (Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)

Like most athletic departments, The University of Tennessee faces monumental financial strain to remain competitive amongst the nation’s elite.

Their efforts to compete has led to nearly $200 million in debt and less than $2 million in reserves, reports the Sports Business Daily.

The Tennessee football program hired Butch Jones from Cincinnati after firing Derek Dooley in November after three seasons. The school still owes Dooley a $5 million buyout and $2 million more to his assistants.

Now, after staggering to losing football seasons in four of the last five years and seeing attendance drop to levels last seen in the 1970s, the Vols find themselves mired in more than $200 million of debt, the most in the SEC, with reserves of just $1.95 million, the least in the conference.

The athletic department spends a startling $21 million a year on debt payments, $13.5 million of which comes from the school’s stressed $99.5 million athletic budget and the rest from donations.

“We’ve got to get football healthy,” athletic director Dave Hart said. “That’s our economic engine. When that program is successful, everybody wins.”

That’s easier said than done. In the past three seasons, the football team went 15-21 overall and 4-19 in Southeastern Conference play.


11 comments
ShaneVanLaanen
ShaneVanLaanen

And, it being Tennessee, this surprises...who?

 

KatyaThresher
KatyaThresher

no AD Hart you have to get FINANCIALLY healthy.....football comes second.....way to teach a great lesson to those kids who already face so many obstacles in learning fiscal responsibility, you just told them that spending in debt is A-OK, way to go, job well done

mplrolltide
mplrolltide

Couldn't happen to a nicer group of folks. Karma baby! Fulmer and his lies have come back to haunt you. Roll Tide.... It's good to be king!

The_Hungarian
The_Hungarian

It all started when Tennessee fired Fulmer. Bad move in my opinion. Although his last season was not up to snuff, he held the program together.

bubbalooey
bubbalooey

Raise tuition, kids should pay $20,000 a year minimum............more if a professor is teaching the class.

MICHAEL64
MICHAEL64

Put a fork in our football program.  The glory days are over. People are more interested in our Pro football.  I am afraid we are the new bottom dwellers of the SEC for many years to come.  It is SAD!

tsavo
tsavo

I believe Dave HArt will get the job done and starting with the Jones hire.

ShaneVanLaanen
ShaneVanLaanen

To those of you who might have something to addy...please adjust the straps on your coveralls before replying and save us all the embarrassment of having to view any outline of your privates!

bieberhole69
bieberhole69

 @bubbalooey cram it in your ass, I just graduated from UTK last year and I saw tuition raise 20% over four years. Jimmy Cheeks raised his own salary every year and look at how well our program was doing. The students are already paying $5,000 plus each semester (~$10,000/yr). I got to see the worst four years of our football program, a stellar basketball coach get fired, and the worst football head coaching hires in the country. You should go blow the Haslams and Jimmy Cheeks. The problem isn't the money it's the administration.

dgr1000
dgr1000

@bieberhole69 @bubbalooey I saw tuition RAISE?