Monday, December 21, 2015

Miami Beach Bowl May Prove Costly for USF's Athletics Budget

The USF Athletics Department was thrilled to accept their first bowl bid in five years...but they may pay for it.

Because today's Miami Beach Bowl requires each participating school to sell 7,400 tickets each, USF and Western Kentucky must pay out-of-pocket to buy empty seats they cannot unload themselves.  And it looks like they may have paid a lot:
When I reached out to USF just before they took off (by bus) to Miami last week, they had only sold 4,700 of their 7,400 tickets.  That included the 500 that head coach Willie Taggart bought for students at the $20 discounted rate.

The school had hoped to sell more tickets right up until game time, but they didn't yet know what the "break-even" point would be after all their expenses from traveling to Miami Beach were totaled.  A spokesman said the school had hoped to break even financially.

Thank goodness USF wasn't traveling to the Boise Bowl; the bowl landscape is littered with teams that spend more on travel and unused tickets than they receive in royalties.

And USF has enough budget problems of its own.  Its annual operating deficit has only grown as the mid-major program tries to compete with the NCAA's "big boys."  A potential new stadium would add tens of millions of debt.  And USF just extended the contract of head football coach Taggart to include about a million dollars a year more for him and his assistant a country club membership, two SUVs, and a luxury box at all USF home games at Raymond James Stadium.

Just don't ask what USF athletes are getting paid.

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