UTC To Lose At Least $2.5 Million From Cancellation Of Fall Sports; Deficit Of At Least $700,000 Is Projected

Friday, August 14, 2020

UTC Athletic Director Mark Wharton said the cancellation of the falls sports season by the Southern Conference means a revenue loss for UTC of at least $2.5 million.

He said the university, anticipating the possible cancellation, earlier made some $1.7 million in cuts.

However, he said there is still a projected deficit of at least $700,000.

He issued this statement:

Dear Mocs Fan,

Yesterday, the Southern Conference Council of Presidents met to discuss the fall athletic season. After much deliberation the decision was made to postpone fall conference competition, allowing for non-conference contests if so desired by the institution. It is the intention to move fall sports’ regular-season competition and championships to the spring.

"For Chattanooga, this decision will impact football, indoor volleyball, women’s soccer and men’s and women’s cross country.The decision to postpone fall conference competition was made with the health and safety of our student-athletes as the top priority. While we continue to support the needs of all our student-athletes through this time, these decisions do not come without significant financial implications for our athletic department.

"My commitment to you is to be as transparent as possible, so I am sharing with you the financial impact of COVID-19 to-date.

"Fiscal Year 2019 (FY19), the last budget year without a COVID-19 impact, our annual department revenue and expenses balanced out to slightly over $18 million. These funds were generated through various revenue streams, often tied directly to sport participation, and helped us provide our student-athletes with the resources they needed to compete in the classroom and on the playing surface.When the winter and spring seasons were cancelled in March, our staff began to work on budget projections for the Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21) in preparation for the impact of any possible future season cancellations and decline in revenue. Our staff worked diligently to identify temporary solutions which provided the greatest savings while minimizing the impact on our student-athletes. Following many discussions with staff and coaches, we were able to identify areas of savings for FY21 that helped us lower our expenses for this year to an estimated $16.2 million. When compared to our last fully budgeted year, this was savings of approximately $1.8 million.

"The total financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on generated revenues and the postponement of fall sports is difficult to quantify at this point in time. However, we currently estimate a loss of revenue of at least $2.5 million.

"Some examples of areas where reduced revenue may occur are:

Fundraising and Corporate Sponsorships

Football Ticket Revenue

NCAA & Conference Distribution

Western Kentucky Football Game Guarantee

"After applying the saving measures for this fiscal year, the initial estimate of the gap is at least $700,000 between revenues generated and expenses incurred. This gap could widen further if additional seasons are cancelled or postponed.

"As mentioned previously, our conference is exploring any opportunity to participate in a spring season for those sports that were affected by the postponement of the fall athletic season. As this option is reviewed and decisions are made, we will notify all season ticket holders immediately.

"In June we released information regarding our football season ticket refund policy. Season ticket holders who have purchased tickets for the 2020 season will receive a call from a customer service representative next week to review this policy further and to discuss desired next steps.

"All season ticket holders have the opportunity to retain their 2019 seat location regardless of which option they choose, assuming we are at 100% capacity.Each season ticket holder has the following options to consider:

Option 1: Transfer your ticket purchase to a 100% tax-deductible gift to the Mocs Fly Together Fund, a newly formed fundraising initiative to support student-athletes in the classroom while remaining safe and healthy during this pandemic. This fund will directly support our student-athletes in the following ways:Scholarship Funding to ensure ability to take courses necessary to stay on track to graduateAcademic Enhancement Center ProgrammingHealth & Wellness Initiatives

Option 2: Apply a credit to your ticketing account that will go toward a spring season, if possible, or a 2021 season ticket.Option 3: Request a full refund to the original method of payment. (Please note: All Mocs Club donations are non-refundable.)Tickets purchased for Seats for Service are credited towards the next season. These tickets provide local members of the military, veterans and first responders the ability to attend our annual Military Appreciation game.

"The Hometown Heroes Initiative, which recognizes essential front-line workers, will move to the 2021 season at a game to be selected once the schedule is released. The complimentary meal, provided by Jack’s to an essential front-line worker, and the donation to the Jack’s Family Fund to help families in our community, will both be fulfilled this academic year.Since the COVID-19 pandemic halted our in-person activity in March, much has changed in our community and we are all experiencing these changes together. Many of you have asked how you can help. Please consider making a gift to our Mocs Fly Together Fund.

"As new developments occur for our programs, we will be certain to communicate these with you as quickly as possible. As of now, we plan to participate in our winter and spring sport seasons, and we look forward to seeing each of you in the stands cheering on your Mocs, when safe to return.

"I hope that you and your family remain well through all that you are facing. Please remember that Mocs Fly Together, and together we will get through these unprecedented times.

"Go Mocs!"

Sincerely,

Mark Wharton

Vice Chancellor/Director of Athletics


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