Budget news brighter for Maryland athletic teams

COLLEGE PARK — Last summer, Maryland's athletic teams were facing budget cuts.

The revenue-producing sports of men's basketball and football were not spared. Each sport was cut by about 3 percent, and the football team needed financial help from private supporters to avoid having to take a bus to several games instead of flying.

This summer, the budget news is brighter. Interim athletic director Randy Eaton said in an interview Monday that the football and men's basketball budgets have been restored to prior levels.

Unlike last football season, there is no discussion of sending the football team to games by bus -- at least not for budgetary reasons.

The team will charter flights to games at Miami, Boston College and Clemson. The players will bus to games at Virginia and West Virginia, but Eaton said that's for logistical reasons rather than economic ones.

Eaton was interviewed after the announcement that he is the university's interim athletic director. Debbie Yow, the athletic director for 16 years, is leaving to assume the same position at N.C. State.

Maryland's budget news is not all good.

Eaton said budget forecasters have assumed that football season-ticket sales will slip again. Season-ticket sales went from 28,661 in 2005 to 22,804 last season.

The team is coming off a 2-10 season.

"Unfortunately, we have to make [budget] assumptions long before final numbers are in," Eaton said.

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