Athletics Makes Donation

Almost everyone who follows Alabama athletics knows about the Crimson Tradition Campaign, the athletics department's drive to raise some $60 million as part of a $110 million capital improvements project. Meanwhile, The University is well along on a $500 million campaign, about half of it for general scholorships. On Thursday the athletics department made a substantial gift to the academics side.

Alabama Athletics Director Mal Moore cited excellent ticket sales and other revenue streams in 2005-06 and a larger-than-expected share of Southeastern Conference funds when he announced that the athletics department has made a $1 million donation to The University's "Our Students, Our Future" campaign.

Moore pointed out that while all the sports selling tickets did not make a profit (only football and men's basketball do that), that the other sports–baseball, softball and gymnastics–had generated greater revenue than usual for the department. He said that Bama being one of only six schools in the nation to have its football team in a bowl game, its men's basketball team in the NCAA Tournament and its baseball team in the NCAA Tournament all played into the successful year financially.

Moore said, "When we were in a tough spot a few years ago, our students stood behind us, as did our alumni. And so we are proud to be a part of this $500 million campaign and to make this gift."

He noted that there is a history of the athletics department supporting the academics side of The University, going back to Paul Bryant as director of athletics making substantial donations.

Moore said this is not necessarily a one-time gift, but it is also not necessarily possible that the athletics department will be in a position to make a gift every year.

The "Our Students, Our Future" campaign's $500 million goal includes $250 million for student scholarships. The remaining funds will be used for faculty support, facilities, and priority needs. The campaign has raised more than $299 million since 2002.

UofA President Dr. Robert E. Witt expressed his appreciation for the donation. He said, "These scholarship funds will fuel our momentum in becoming a 'university of choice' for the best and brightest students."

He noted that The University had received over 10,000 applications for freshman enrollment prior to the 2005-06 year and that more than 12,000 have applied for freshman enrollment this year.

The president pointed out that the athletics department has been important to the "Our Students, Our Future" campaign other than with its $1 million donation. Dr. Witt said that athletics keeps the name of The University of Alabama in front of the public. And, he said, athletics is the bond of alumni. He said those factors were important in Alabama being 60 per cent to the $500 million goal before it was ever announced to the public.

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