UT 411

Bowl Games, budgets and Offensive Coordinators - Oh My!

UT's Bowl Goal: Don't Lose Money
            If Tennessee makes it to a bowl, the financial goal is to break even.

            Tennessee men's athletic director Mike Hamilton said that when you play in a bowl that has a payout less than the Capitol One's $5 million, you won't pocket a profit.

            Whether Tennessee plays in the Music City Bowl in Nashville or Independence Bowl in Shreveport, UT gets $800,000 and a mileage allowance.

            UT would incur less expenses by playing in Nashville than Shreveport because of travel. UT also would sell considerable more tickets.

            The Independence Bowl payout is $1.2 million with a ticket allotment of 12,000.

            The Music City payout is just under $1 million with a ticket allotment of 10,000.

            The SEC will cover up to 3,000 tickets if a school doesn't fulfill it's allotment, Hamilton said.

            If UT becomes bowl eligible, the Vols will play in Nashville if the SEC sends just one team to the BCS. If the SEC has two BCS bowl teams, UT is going to Shreveport.


New O-Coordinator Won't Have Buyout

            Hamilton expects to give UT's new offensive coordinator a two-year contract, but he won't attach a buyout in case the new coach wants to leave.

            ``I wouldn't want to inhibit coach (Phillip) Fulmer's ability to hire the guy he wants,'' Hamilton said. ``The main thing I'm concerned with his Coach Fulmer having the latitude to hire the guy he wants. I realize there's a risk (without having a buyout). But at this point, you want to get the right guy to turn the program around.''

            Some have argued that Fulmer shouldn't hire David Cutcliffe because he might leave after a year or two to become a head coach. But that would hold true for almost any offensive coordinator Fulmer hires.

Athletic Department Budget Update

            Hamilton said the athletic department might pay off the $1.39 million loan to the University - borrowed to buy out men's basketball coach Buzz Peterson - in less than three years.

            The athletic department has already paid off $400,000. A seventh home football game next year might generate enough revenue to retire the loan sooner.

            Hamilton said he has made strides to cut expenses as much as possible. He said the operating budget for the men's athletic department has been reduced by $3.5 million over the last 24 months - from $24 million to $20.5 million.

            Hamilton said he also is budgeting bonuses for coaches. Last season, UT coaches received more than $900,000 in bonuses. Of UT's 20 sports (track counts as three sports - indoor, outdoor, cross country) 10 made postseason last year; men's basketball didn't. And 18 sports were in the top 15 (men's basketball and men's cross country were not).

            The athletic department's most recent budget took a hit when debt for Thompson-Boling Arena, the Thornton Center and Gibbs Hall went $470,000 over budget.

            One other budget item: UT's final payment of $200,000 will be made Jan. 1 to former men's basketball coach Jerry Green, now basketball operations director at Oklahoma.

Inside Tennessee Top Stories