Insights From Fresno State's Athletic Corp. Financial Statement

Fresno State Athletic Corp. financial statement shows a $1 million dollar gap in the red, but as always the bills will get paid.

The Fresno State Athletic Corp. board in September approved the 2017-18 financial statement. The report is now posted on the Athletic Corp.’s website.

Total revenue: $36,446,550. Total expenses: $37,483,053.


There was a time in my reporting career when I would have made considerable hay of the $1 million in extra spending. No longer.

Fresno State athletics has grown to become a public trust for the region. Intercollegiate athletics for a mid-level program like Fresno State is always full of financial challenges. For the most part, though, the public wants Bulldog sports. So, the public will have Bulldog sports.

A $1 million gap? I’ve seen them before. I’ll see them again. Somehow, the bills get paid.

That being said, here are several takeaways from the statement:

  1. The 2017-18 budget called for revenues of $32.42 million. Actual revenues were $4.03 million higher than expected. This despite $350,651 less than expected in contributions. University service fees ($2.72 million) and NCAA/Conference revenue (nearly $1 million) had the biggest increases over the budget prediction.
  2. On the other side of the ledger – expenses – the biggest increase over budget predictions came in team expenses. Those were $2.86 million more than predicted.
  3.  The statement says: “Game revenue and conference revenue were higher than budgeted due to the Football team’s success. Additional conference revenues of $970K were received for participating in the Hawaii Bowl.
  4. The statement says: “As the result of increased program costs, the University provided additional service fees.”
  5. The statement says: “Various factors contributed to the $525K budget overage in salaries and benefits. Football salaries exceeded budget by $475K which is primarily attributable to the head coach contract bonuses.” That statement notes that $180,000 was saved when the men’s basketball program changed head coaches (Rodney Terry out, Justin Hutson in).
  6. Game operations spent $100,000 more than expected to provide extra security for alcohol sales. However, this was more than offset by SMG, which runs the Save Mart Center, waiving about $430,000 in event-related and practice expenses for men’s and women’s basketball, volleyball and wrestling. (I hope City Hall is taking notice of SMG’s generosity to the University; I understand SMG’s contract with the city-owned Convention Center is up for renewal next year.)
  7. Says the statement: “Post season expense exceeded the budget by $1.5M primarily due to the football team participating in the Hawaii Bowl.” Travel expenses also were higher than expected, “partially attributable to men’s basketball charters (of) $180K.”
  8. Says the statement: “Salaries and benefits increased $2.5 million attributed to paying the previous football head coach contract $550K and $1.3M in contract bonuses.” The previous coach was Tim DeRuyter. The sentence’s construction isn’t clear, but I’m assuming the bonuses went to current Head Coach Jeff Tedford and his staff.

I close with events of the last week. The Bulldogs football team beat San Diego State 23-14 last Saturday to clinch the Mountain West Conference’s West Division for the second year in a row, and beat San Jose State yesterday to improve to 10-2.

Said Jeff Tedford, via the Athletic Department’s website, on making the MWC championship game for the second straight year: “It is our goal going in, all the time. There is a lot of hard work that goes into it. We told the team all week this week that we only get one opportunity to do this and all the time we have invested in this, all the 5:30 a.m. workouts and all of the investing we have in this, to have an opportunity like this doesn’t come around all the time. We were fortunate to be in the position we were going into this game but we knew it was going to be a really hard fought game and sure enough, it was. It was a four quarter battle with two good football teams. We were fortunate enough to come out on top of this one.”

Looks like this year’s financial picture is facing the same pressures as last year’s. I’m guessing the bills will somehow get paid.

Public trusts don’t wither easily.

1 comment
  1. Interesting. Doesn’t jibe well with the CSU audit that showed a $7.6 million operating deficit last academic year along with no rainy day fund (because apparently it’s been raided to help balance past years). The rainy day fund news reminds me of Al Bohl secretly aiding the endowment when he was athletic director to balance the books.

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