COLLEGE PARK -- Maryland's football team hasn't been to a postseason game since 1990, but its athletic department has still reaped the benefits of the Bowl Alliance.
A year ago, Maryland balanced its budget for the first time in a decade, and yesterday athletic director Debbie Yow announced an operating profit for fiscal year 1996 of $594,440.
The new upper deck at Byrd Stadium helped the Terps to the biggest attendance increase in the nation, but much of the nearly $1 million in additional football revenue was attributable to the Atlantic Coast Conference's profit-sharing of bowl payouts. From the 1994 season to 1995, Maryland's share of ACC bowl money nearly doubled, from $467,283 to more than $900,000.
Under the ACC's profit-sharing plan, Maryland and Wake Forest made as much money off the Orange Bowl as did Florida State, which turned over its $8.33 million payday from the initial year of the Bowl Alliance to the conference.
"The Bowl Alliance for a program like Maryland was fantastic," Yow said, "but there were other factors that helped us cut into our deficit. Last year's surplus was symbolic, but this year's really began to cut into the deficit. Ideally, we'd like to have it paid off in seven years."
Balancing the budget was a priority when Yow was named athletic director two years ago and inherited a deficit of $6.8 million. In her first year, the operating profit was $35,600. This year's profit and an annual university contribution of $500,000 that was negotiated last year have dropped the deficit to $5.72 million.
Maryland's budget for the coming year will increase 7.4 percent to $22.17 million, and Yow is expecting another profit of $500,000. Additional TV payouts from the ACC will keep football revenue constant. Maryland will bring in more money from student fees and spend less on scholarships, thanks to an out-of-state tuition waiver.
Maryland had $1.68 million in football ticket revenue in 1994, when it averaged 28,762 in attendance. With the completion of renovations to Byrd Stadium and an attractive home schedule, average attendance was 42,121, and ticket revenue jumped to $1.95 million.
The Terps visit border rivals Virginia and West Virginia this year and moved their home game against Florida State to Joe Robbie Stadium for a guaranteed payout that will net Maryland at least $500,000 more than what it would have made off the game at Byrd Stadium.
Despite complaints from alumni about a watered-down home schedule, associate athletic director for external operations R.D. Helt said that Maryland is ahead of last year's pace for season ticket sales. Maryland had 16,381 season-ticket holders last year, and has sold more than 15,000 this year.
Approximately 22,000 full-time students paid an athletic fee of $175 last year, but that will increase to $201 this year, providing nearly $600,000 in additional revenue.
Savings will come from a plan adopted last year by the Board of Regents, which waived the difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition for all athletes and some other students on full scholarship. The program began last year with a 50 percent waiver, and Maryland saved $371,000 on approximately 125 out-of-state athletes.
It's now a full waiver, so the scholarship savings at Maryland and throughout the state system will double.
Additional revenue is needed to meet the demands of gender equity. Maryland awarded the equivalent of 69 scholarships to women in 1994-95, 89 last year, and expects to award 102 this year.
Pub Date: 8/08/96
Revenue totals for Maryland's athletic department for the fiscal years 1995 and 1996 (in millions, rounded off):
.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. '95 .. .. '96
Football .. .. .. .. ... $4.58 ... $5.58
Men's basketball ... ... $5.42 ... $5.62
Student fees . .. .. ... $3.72 ... $4.06
Foundation-a . .. .. ... $2.82 ... $2.83
Other-b ... .. .. .. ... $2.25 ... $2.54
Total .. .. .. .. .. .. $18.79 .. $20.64
Expenditures . .. .. .. $18.76 .. $20.04
Excess . .. .. .. .. .. . $.03 .. . $.59
a-Terrapin Club, U. of Maryland Educational Foundation, M Club b-corporate sponsorships, licensing, concessions, other sports