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Athletics to see $1 million subsidy decrease

The University plans to drop $1 million from the athletics department's University-backed subsidy, one of the highest in the nation.

"Our goal from day one has been to stabilize and reduce University support to athletics. We will continue working to raise new revenues to further reduce University support," Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Tim Pernetti said in a statement.

The loss of $10.8 million from the University's expected budget — a result from when the Board of Governors approved a 1.8 percent tuition increase, one of the lowest in years — called for a drop in the approximately $27 million subsidy, Interim Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Richard Edwards said.

He said the department is in the process of settling their budget and reducing their expenses.

"Ideally, we wouldn't need to subsidize athletics at all, but it's valuable for the University to engage in these sports," he said.

Edwards said he expects all sports — including the University's 21 non-revenue generating sports — to remain.

"To my knowledge, there's no consideration of elimination of sports," he said.

President Richard L. McCormick said the decision was handed down to Pernetti a few weeks ago, so decisions have yet to be finalized as to what changes will be made.

"It has been a long-term goal to reduce the subsidy," McCormick said, noting that past efforts have been unsuccessful.

The subsidy has been in effect before McCormick assumed the presidency in 2002, and though it has not decreased, it also has not increased, he said.

Edwards said an athletics subsidy is a reality in similar institutions.

Seven schools with strong football programs did not give money to athletics in fiscal 2010, according to Bloomberg.

The subsidy of $26.9 million – 42 percent of the $62 million athletic budget — is the highest in the nation, and the University subsidized about $19 million or 1 percent of its budget during the 2009-2010 fiscal year, according to Bloomberg data. The remaining amount came from student fees.

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