Lady Vols finish in black

I don't know if I'd call it a raging debate, but there has been some discussion about the finances of women's basketball at the University of Tennessee.

Do the Lady Vols make money or not? What are the revenues? What are the expenses? What percentage of the budget goes to coaches' salaries?

We have some of those answers. But, as you might expect, not everything is spelled out in black and white.

You can do a lot with numbers. That's why we've tried to make an apples to apples comparison with women's and men's basketball. The results are intriguing.

For 2007-08, the Lady Vols are projected to have a profit of $988,659 if you include all of the $1.4 million donated to the Boost-Her Club.

Take out the $1.4 million and the Lady Vols lose more than $400,000.

But it's reasonable to assume that at least 80 percent of the $1.4 million in donations are made because of women's basketball. Therefore, it's reasonable to designate about $1.1 million directly to women's basketball.

That would generate a profit of about $700,000.

The Lady Vols generated $2.5 million in tickets and luxury suites (not counting $280,000 in taxes), $806,000 in luxury suite/loge seat donations, $320,000 in concessions and $50,000 from SEC basketball television. They got $25,000 for the SEC Tournament and nothing for the NCAA Tournament.

The $4.8 million in total revenues is outstanding for women's basketball.

The $3.86 million in expenses is not. It includes $2.9 million for operations and post-season, $390,000 for scholarships, $100,000 for recruiting and $475,000 in bonuses, mostly for coaches.

The expenses exceed more than 90 percent of the women's programs. The amount given in bonuses alone exceeds the combined salaries for many staffs around the country.

I don't begrudge Pat Summitt playing a demanding schedule from coast to coast, but when you've got the highest paid staff in the nation, you shouldn't be so liberal with the bonus structure.

How does that compare to the men's program?

The men's surplus was $6.3 million. That includes $1.4 million in VASF donations to match what the women count.

The men have over $4 million in tickets and luxury suites, $1.85 million in anticipated NCAA tourney distribution, $1 million in SEC basketball TV revenue, $800,000 in luxury suite and loge seat donations, $500,000 in concessions (Bruce Pearl sure can sell that popcorn) and $250,000 in anticipated SEC tournament distributions.

The expenses: $4.1 million. That's $3.35 million in operations and post-season play, $345,000 in scholarships, $140,000 in recruiting and $280,000 on bonuses.

None of this includes revenues from the Vol Network.

Pearl made $1.3 million in salary last year. Was he worth it?

Let's see: The men's program netted about $3 the year before he arrived.

Yes, he was worth it.

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