The department's revenue was $77,706,696 during the 2012-13 fiscal year, compared to operating expenses of $73,501,593, leaving a positive margin of $4,205,104.
A year ago, the department posted a deficit of nearly $13 million, but much of that was due to the one-time exit fee paid to the Big East conference, as well hefty chunks assigned to facility depreciation and other non-cash items.
Interestingly, the largest source of income in the past year's revenue stream came from contributions, rather than ticket sales. Given WVU's rather disappointing seasons in its two cash cow sports, football and men's basketball, the increase in donations is somewhat surprising.
"Now that our budget numbers are in, I want to say how very pleased and proud I am of our entire athletic department," WVU Director of Athletics Oliver Luck said. "And, I cannot say enough about the job turned in by our Mountaineer Athletic Club staff to reach record-breaking fundraising numbers for the second straight year. I also want to thank the MAC members, who rallied around us and the many fans who purchased tickets to various athletic events. We all know how important it is to have a self-supporting athletic department, and that goal has been reached once again."
The three largest sources of revenue for the department came from Mountaineer Athletic Club contributions ($23,916,171), ticket sales for all sports ($21,411,615) and conference revenue ($10,354,499).
While the department has turned something of a corner, this doesn't mean that it's all clear sailing from here. Rising costs of tuition, travel, housing and the like will require more money in each succeeding year, as will hoped-for improvements to West Virginia's facilities. For example, turf replacement at Mountaineer Field and the grass practice field will likely be in the $2 million range, and that's just the first in an action list that includes renovations to fan areas at both Mylan Puskar Stadium and the Coliseum, as well as an expansion or replacement of the Natatorium. West Virginia's take from the Big 12 conference will also continue to grow over the next three years until it reaches full share status, but those big ticket items will chew up much of that increase.
Still, there's no doubt that WVU, headed by Luck and President Jim Clements, made the right call in getting West Virginia into the Big 12. While there were, and still are, short term hurdles to overcome, WVU would have been in no position to proceed with any facility enhancements had it not made the move to the Big 12, and would have been facing athletics marginalization had it wound up in the American Athletic Conference, as some of its former Big East conference mates did.
The upshot of the financial picture is one, therefore, of cautious optimism. While costs continue to rise, West Virginia should have the wherewithal to meet those demands, and also continue on a measured course of facility improvements and expansion. West Virginia isn't in the same financial stratosphere as Texas or Oklahoma, but it does appear to be on the path to solid financial footing. That's the first step in being able to compete on the field with other big 12 schools, and while it's certainly not the only factor, it's one that no school can win without in the long run.
Other statements from WVU's release: