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Sports Expansion Study
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Executive Summary of the Neinas Report
The University of Texas at Arlington disbanded football after the 1985 season. University administration said the program was hemorrhaging nearly $1 million a year and was propped up by the university's auxiliary enterprise income, or "flexible money." Average attendance the final season was 5,600 (UTA's student body was 23,100). The other 14 sports were under-funded, as football accounted for half the total athletic budget.
Students in April 2004 voted by a 2-to-1 margin to increase their student athletic fees by $2 per semester-credit hour should the university reinstate football and begin women's golf and women's soccer teams. University President James D. Spaniolo retained Neinas Sports Services, Inc. to evaluate costs associated with expanding UTA's athletic programs to include these sports.
The Neinas report examines costs for all three sports over a two- to five-year period. Given its relative ease of startup, a women's golf team could begin competing one academic year after making the announcement. Women's soccer would take two years. Football could play its first game in four years and join the Southland Conference in five years. Additionally, the university would need to construct locker rooms, meeting rooms, coaches's offices, a training room, and strength and conditioning equipment and space. To support football, the athletic department would need resources to accommodate 130-135 more athletes. The total cost would be $13,780,000 to $17,455,000 over five years.
UTA's athletic budget would need to increase about $2 million a year to sustain all three sports. The student athletic fee increase would cover $1,250,000 of the total cost. The remaining money would come from fund-raising, playing guaranteed games, or from the NCAA and Southland Conference. At a minimum, UTA would need $500,000 in ticket sales, donations, and sponsorships to complement student fees and NCAA allotment.
President Spaniolo has posted the Neinas report in its entirety here. For 30 days, faculty, staff, students, alumni, and community leaders may submit comments. President Spaniolo will also schedule several public forums to allow face-to-face feedback.