George Hostetter's 10 Takeaways On Fresno State's Athletic Department's 2018-19 Budget

Fresno State has posted online the athletic department’s 2018-19 budget. The Athletic Corp. board approved the budget on June 28. Fresno State President Dr. Joseph Castro always gives the budget a thorough review before it reaches the public domain.

Ten quick takeaways (remember – a budget is a best guess as to what’s to come; by way of context, the 2017-18 financial statement has yet to be released to the public):


  1. Revenues are expected to grow this school year – $41.45 million, a bump of nearly $870,000 (2.1%) over last year’s budget. Fresno State athletics somehow finds additional money every year. Got to if the Bulldogs are to keep up with the Mountain West Conference’s other top tier programs.
  2. Football gate receipts are pegged at $4.125 million, an increase of $240,000 (6.2%) from the 2017-18 budget estimate. The $4.125 million figure falls short of the 2014-15 actual gate receipts for football ($4.36 million). But it is a sign of rising optimism. The actual football gate receipts in the 2016-17 school year were $3.22 million. Second-year Head Football Coach Jeff Tedford is making a difference.
  3. The men’s basketball program has a new head coach in Justin Hutson (he succeeds Rodney Terry, who resigned last spring to take over the UTEP program). Fresno State sees brighter days at the box office. The Bulldogs men are projected to take in $332,500 at the gate, an increase of $80,100 over the previous year. That’s a 31.7% increase. Does Hutson have Tark-like magic?
  4. University support keeps the athletic program alive. This revenue line is slated to deliver $19.17 million this year, an increase of $1.28 million (7.1%). If I’m not mistaken, university support includes a slice of student fees. In the 2014-15 school year, university support was 37.6% of revenues. In the 2018-19 school year, university support is estimated to be 46.3% of revenues.
  5. When it comes to revenue from guarantees paid by other schools, the new budget is looking at less than half of what was expected last year: $1,048,600 in 2018-19 vs. $2,490,000 in 2017-18. If that means eliminating a road game against Alabama for your up and coming football team, maybe this dip isn’t a bad thing.
  6. On the ledger’s other side, the Bulldogs program is looking at $41.52 million in expected bills. That’s $910,885 (2.2%) more than last year’s budget. The 2018-19 budget at this point shows $59,100 in red ink. As they say in government, that’s a rounding error.
  7. The rewarding of young athletic talent (let’s not call it “paying”) keeps getting more expensive. Athletic aid this year is expected to cost $8.13 million, an increase of $451,200 (5,9%) over last year’s estimate. The actual bill for athletic aid in the 2014-15 school year was $5.59 million.
  8. Fresno State continues to invest more in new media/production services. This year’s budget calls for the spending of $234,500, up from $194,100 (20.8%) in last year’s budget. The actual bill in the 2014-15 school year for new media was $56,551.
  9. As to operational costs of individual programs, football is expected to spend $2.37 million this year, an increase of $364,500 (18.2%) from last year’s budget. Forty percent of the expected overall boost in spending between this year and last year is to be found in football operations.
  10. The 2018-19 Athletic Corp. budget that is now online runs to three pages of numbers. Previous Athletic Corp. budgets ran closer to 20 pages (once more than 30 pages). I could find no explanation online for this brevity.
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