YSU dollars and athleticism – Business Journal Daily


YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Youngstown State UniversityThe baseball team raises between $ 40,000 and $ 60,000 in additional income each year through four major fundraisers and other efforts on campus.

Without these efforts and the support of the community, the baseball program would not be able to provide its athletes with the level of experience expected in an NCAA Division I institution.

In fact, all of the 21 NCAA sanctioned sports on the YSU campus rely heavily on fundraising to support their programs.

The baseball team raises funds through a First Pitch breakfast, two golf outings and a 100-end intra-team Wiffleball game. To start the upcoming season, the team will travel to Florida, Texas, Louisiana and Tennessee.

The funds are in addition to what the sports department is budgeting to help with travel, equipment and new uniforms, YSU baseball head coach Dan Bertolini said.

“We’re trying to do our best to give our guys the best student-athlete experience possible,” says Bertolini, who had a budget of over $ 500,000 in fiscal year 2019-20.

“I think our sports department is doing a great job funding our program. We’re very fortunate to have the budget we have for our travel and equipment, but there are always things that arise that you need.

Ron Strollo, the university’s executive director of athletics, annually provides a variety of financial information to the institution’s board of directors, which oversees all departments on campus. Its report shows income and expenses as well as how the sports department compares to other league affiliated universities and the like.

The YSU Board of Directors approved a budget for the school’s sports department of $ 17,790,127 for the 2021-2022 fiscal year. This budget includes scholarship expenses, salaries for 80 to 90 employees, operations of the school’s 21 NCAA sanctioned sports for more than 500 student-athletes, and departmental administrative expenses. The budget has three equal categories: scholarships, salaries and operations.

There is a big change from the 2020-21 athletics budget of $ 15,483,627 – up from $ 2,306,500 – but the change more reflects the sharp reduction in spending due to the pandemic in 2020-21 than it does. an increase in athletics spending.

The sports department laid off or failed to fill vacant positions totaling 22 of its staff in the 2020-21 budget to deal with declining revenues in large part because few tickets were allowed to be sold for matches at the height of the pandemic. But revenue will grow 14.9% in the current fiscal year to reach a more normalized figure. As a result, most of these 22 posts have been reinstated.

Strollo says his ministry has made the self-imposed cuts to permanent and temporary employees, along with employee benefits of nearly $ 1.4 million due to uncertainty as fiscal year 2020-21 approaches .

However, total budgeted revenue increased by $ 1.4 million during the year.

Strollo is aware of the 26 academic programs and faculty positions that will be phased out by fall 2022 as part of YSU’s cost-cutting efforts.

“We are part of this institution and we play a variety of supporting roles,” says Strollo. “One of the most important is to attract students to YSU who would not have participated without the sports we offer. We take this role seriously. Hopefully, with the data we provide to the YSU Board of Directors, we show that we are getting there.

“There are always tough decisions to be made in any organization as well as here on campus and I have no doubts that these decisions are not made lightly or without data to back them up,” he continues. “Our role is to play our role to the best of our ability. “

Ticket revenues for football and basketball games increased by more than $ 430,000 with the lifting of fan restrictions, while $ 840,000 came from guarantee games – monies paid by major schools to get schools like YSU to play them to fill their stadiums and arenas and possibly lock in a victory for the biggest university.

YSU did not receive any money from the warranty sets during the COVID year.

These two factors, as well as program sales, royalty commissions, program advertising sales and recognition, marketing / exclusive rights to beverage and miscellaneous companies, football hatchbacks, and board advertising. boards for football and basketball all increased, accounting for $ 2.28 million of the $ 3.95 million in revenue.

Concession commissions remained at $ 45,000 as well as lodge rentals at Stambaugh Stadium at $ 519,973. Much of the income generated by athletics comes from the university’s corporate sponsorship programs.

“If you combine everything our corporate sponsorship team does, that equates to over $ 1 million in revenue per year to support our programs,” Strollo said.

The only budget cuts came from the fact that athletic coaches billed medical insurance companies for the treatment of student-athletes. [$50,000 to $45,000], NCAA Revenue Sharing [$1,150,000 to $1,050,000] and income from radio and television [$100,000 to $10,000].

YSU added men’s swimming in 2019-20 and women’s lacrosse in 2021, and doubled the size of the school’s cross-country team roster. Football, basketball, women’s volleyball and tennis offer the most comprehensive scholarships to its athletes.

Those who are non-scholarship athletes pay their own tuition fees. Only a small percentage of the over 500 student-athletes receive full scholarships, with most receiving a small athletic scholarship or no scholarship at all.

“We wouldn’t have added these sports if it hadn’t brought in a lot of new students and had a positive financial impact on campus,” Strollo says of men’s swimming and women’s lacrosse. .

Athletics has more than 60 on each of its men’s and women’s teams, making it the most profitable program with a combined net surplus of nearly $ 1.5 million in fiscal year 2019-2020.

Only basketball, tennis and women’s volleyball performed in the red due to the number of players with full athletic scholarships.

Football makes profit [$318,737 in 2019-20 fiscal year] due to the more than five dozen non-scholarship or partial scholarship recipients and the external income generated by the program.

The budget of $ 17,790,127 covers expenses arising in the sports department with transfers and the study of institutional work.

These expenses are: $ 5,868,461 (scholarships), $ 4,746,731 (operating), $ 4,616,175 (permanent staff), $ 2,046,550 (social benefits), $ 482,210 (temporary staff) and $ 30,000 ( transfers and institutional work for students).

“I think we’re unlike any other department on campus where our scholarship spending budget shows up in our results,” Strollo says. “The university as a whole has an entirely separate scholarship budget.

“So if the university increases tuition fees, you will see a corresponding increase in the budget for sports scholarships. The result is an increase in the overall sports department budget, as scholarships are such a large part of the overall department budget. This is why you will see athletic department budgets across the country increasing because tuition and fees are increasing at such a high rate nationwide.

Student-athlete scholarships show up in the budget as an expense for the athletic department – but also as income for the university, as it receives the tuition and fees of these student-athletes.

In fiscal year 2019-20, YSU’s sports spending was well below the average spending for other schools in the Missouri Valley Football Conference, Mid-American Conference, and Horizon League.

The YSU soccer team participates in the Missouri Valley Football Conference, while all other sports except women’s lacrosse and bowling are part of the Horizon League.

Sports expenses for YSU were $ 16,292,051, more than $ 13 million lower than the Mid-American Conference average and about $ 4 million lower than the Missouri Valley Football Conference.

Strollo says that even spending much less than its peers, YSU offers more sports and has more student-athletes than these other institutions.

“Financially, we want to run the most cost effective and efficient program in the country,” he says. “We also want to generate more income than the average of our peers, and we have been able to do so.

“We want our teams to be competitive, to win championships and to represent our city and the Mahoning Valley. This was backed up last year by our bowling team which made it to the NCAA Final Four only in its fifth year of existence and we won the school’s first All-Sports Horizon League Trophy. But more importantly, we want our kids – when they graduate – to feel confident that choosing YSU was the best decision they could ever make. “

Copyright 2021 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.


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