K-State bringing in the big bucks

By Joshua Kinder

Kansas State is doing OK these days.

According to a report from ESPN, K-State had the most profitable athletic department in the country during the 2010-11 fiscal year, bringing in more than $23 million in net income.

K-State ranked ahead of Texas, LSU, Alabama, Florida and Michigan. Other Big 12 schools to report profits included Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas A&M. According to the ESPN report, which looked at 99 public schools that play football on the BCS level, only 19 athletic departments showed profit that year.

The $23 million reported by K-State is the difference between what the athletic department gets in revenue from donations, ticket sales, TV contracts and money from the Big 12 Conference and what the school spends on recruiting, salaries and other expenses.

“We’ve been successful because we’ve increased our revenue and managed our expenses,” Currie told ESPN.

And though K-State does have a surplus, the numbers in the ESPN report are actually a little skewed because of the way the university reports its donations, something that can vary from school to school. In K-State’s case, especially right now, the university is involved in two major facility upgrades — the basketball training facility and the renovation to the football stadium.

In a letter to K-State fans on Friday, Currie explained the ESPN story a little further by using an example of a $100,000 donation.

“If a donor pledged $100,000 to be given over five years at $20,000 per year for the basketball training facility, the (Generally Accepted Accounting Procedures) rules require us to include the present value of the entire $100,000 as current-year revenue, even though we actually only receive $20,000 in that particular year,” he wrote.

In K-State’s case, the athletic department received $26.5 million in donations, but some of those pledges are to be paid out over multiple years, despite being listed as fully paid one-time only donations on the fiscal report, making it look as if K-State banked about $23 million for the year.

The actual operating cash surplus for the 2010-11 fiscal year was really $3.67 million.

Using the $23 million in surplus that K-State reported — largely because of the increase in donations that were reported in full — the university’s operating revenue was about $70 million, an increase of 31 percent from the prior fiscal year, with expenses totaling about $46.5 million.

The $26.5 million figure ESPN reported showed an increase of 62 percent in contributions and donations in a year’s time, making it the university’s largest source of revenue.

K-State also reportedly received $14.4 million from ticket sales, $13.7 million from the Big 12, $3.59 million from TV contracts and just $3.3 million from student fees. On the flipside, K-State’s largest expenditures came from payments to coaches, totaling $9.2 million, as well as $3.2 million in travel and $2.17 million in marketing. Recruiting costs totaled $914,411.

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