Athletics Report Due Dec. 6

The plan to restore the eight sports is said to be predicated on the athletic department's ability to sustain recent increases in football revenue, and supplement those revenues by increases in the funds generated by baseball and basketball ticket sales

The Tulane University Board of Administrators meets Dec. 6 to hear the report of the Board's Intercollegiate Athletics Committee on the status of the school's athletic program.

Like almost all of the other components of the university, athletics suffered great damage from the flooding in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in August of 2005. After Katrina the fall semester at the uptown campus was cancelled, and the schools athletic teams were dispersed to other college campuses in Louisiana and Texas.

At the end of the fall semester in December, 2005 Tulane announced the suspension of a total of eight intercollegiate sports.

The report due next week is said to primarily address the athletic department's plan to restore the sports suspended in the aftermath of Katrina. The NCAA and Conference USA, of which Tulane is a founding member, require schools to sponsor a minimum of 16 sports in order to maintain Division I-A membership. Because of financial issues caused by the effects of Hurricane Katrina, the NCAA granted Tulane a five-year waiver from meeting those sports sponsorship criteria.

The committee is chaired by Doug Hertz, a Tulane alum, a member of the Board of Administrators, and a resident of Atlanta, Ga. Hertz, who was named the Georgia Fundraiser of the Year in 2005, is CEO of United Distributors, a large liquor distributor based in Smyrna, Ga.

The athletic department plan is expected to set a timeline for the complete restoration of the eight suspended sports - men's and women's golf, men's and women's tennis, women's soccer, men's track and field and cross country, and women's swimming and diving - in stages before the expiration of the waivers in 2010.

The golf and tennis teams are expected be the first of the suspended sports to be restored.

The plan to restore the eight sports is said to be predicated on the athletic department's ability to sustain recent increases in football revenue, and supplement those revenues by increases in the funds generated by baseball and basketball ticket sales.

The concept adopted by the committee required investment in upgrades to Turchin Stadium and Fogleman Arena that would result in new revenues, resulting in an increased level of sustainable financial support for Tulane athletics.

Renovation could result in a reorientation of the court alignment in the 75 year old arena, which presently runs parallel to Freret Street. One possibility would turn the court 90-degrees to run parallel to McAllister Drive.

The new revenue is expected to come from the sale of premium class seating in both facilities.

Financing for the Fogleman projects would come from a recently completed capital fund raising drive which reportedly raised more than $20 million in new money. Work is expected to begin after the end of the 2007-2008 basketball season.

Much of the balance of the money would cover cost increases in the Turchin Stadium project, where work has already begun, but whose price tag has grown from $5 million to $12 million and may still go higher.

Much of the groundwork for the recent fundraising successes, which reportedly increase included at least one $10 million gift, was laid by the Perpetual Wave Committee, which itself is an outgrowth of the 'Think Green' campaign that was mounted by pro-athletics forces in the wake of the athletics review in 2003.

The Perpetual Wave steering committee was led by co-chairs George Shinn and Pat Denechaud.

Announcement of the Fogleman renovation project, which has an early-stage budget estimate of $15 million, is expected in the weeks following the Dec. 6 board meeting.


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