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May 13, 2004

Amount of Subsidy Unknown

While its fundraising and other revenues are up, Pitt’s intercollegiate athletics program continues to be subsidized by the University, said Arthur G. Ramicone, vice chancellor for Budget and Controller.
But by how much? That’s uncertain, because the University has not yet produced an in-house study of athletics expenses and revenues for the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2003.
Pitt is no longer required by state or federal law to report publicly on its athletics program finances. Ramicone said his office plans to produce a report on athletics revenues and expenses for FY ’03 anyway, and to share it with the University Senate’s budget policies committee – but not until higher-priority projects are completed.
Pennsylvania lawmakers threw a wrench into what Ramicone ruefully remembered as his office’s “nicely synchronized” work schedule by delaying passage of Pitt’s FY ’04 state appropriation until last December, six months after the fiscal year actually had begun. Pitt then faced a January deadline for submitting its state funding request for the next fiscal year.
“Our whole work load got shifted, and now we’re busy working on next year’s budget,” Ramicone said. “We’ve put off the athletics report until we can get our heads above water again. I know a lot of people are interested in that report but it’s a low priority for us, relatively speaking.”
Pitt subsidized its athletics program by at least $7.4 million in FY ’02, the most recent year for which such data are available. That year, Pitt’s so-called revenue-producing sports – football and men’s basketball – actually generated more money than they cost the University. It marked the first time in years that the two teams helped to subsidize traditionally non-revenue-producing sports such as baseball, swimming, volleyball and wrestling.
– Bruce Steele

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