Tennessee’s $111 million athletic budget in context

Vols AD Dave Hart (photo by Adam Brimer)

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Tennessee’s $111.6 million athletic budget is 10th-highest in the country and fourth-highest in the SEC.

That’s from the comprehensive USA Today database of athletic budgets released on Tuesday.

The survey also showed that the Vols’ have the seventh-highest expenses in the country and that its institutional “subsidy” of $12.4 million — or 11 percent of its budget — is highest in the SEC.

All these numbers are from the 2012-2013 fiscal year. You can click on the graphic to see the breakdown by category. (Here’s a link if you can’t see it below).

Tennessee’s 2013-2014 fiscal year will end in another month, and should produce some different figures in key areas.

Here’s some context to the current numbers:

* Most of the current subsidy comes from a $11.4 million transfer from the university that helped the athletic department plug a potential deficit caused largely by $7.97 million in “severance payments” to Derek Dooley and his staff.

Even though the money wasn’t all due immediately, buyouts must be accounted for in the current fiscal year.

* In years past, the athletic department has actually made an annual contribution to the main university fund. In the 2011-2012 fiscal year, for example, the athletic department sent $5.8 million to the university. Over the last 10 years, the department has given about $40 million to the university (for a net transfer of $30 million once student fees are considered).

* When Dave Hart was hired as athletic director, he asked UT’s administration if he could end the annual transfers. By giving excess funds away at the end of the year, the department struggled to build a reserve fund. And that could cause problems in years (like this one) when expenses increased.

* UT Chancellor Jimmy Cheek agreed to “reinvest” some of the athletic department’s contributions to the university back into the department’s budget over the next three years. The biggest payment came from the transfer described in this fiscal year.

* Where does the rest of the subsidy come from? That’s the $1 million in student fees billed to students. USA Today counts student fees in their subsidy total, and most departments — even rich ones — take at least a small bit of revenue from student fees.

Questions? Let me know and I’ll try to answer them. If I don’t know, I’ll try to find out.

Recruiting Kahlil McKenzie: Here’s something you don’t see every day

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — The toughest part of the college football recruiting game is finding something new and different.

It’s why schools pay artists to create individualized drawings to mail to recruits, why teams compete to see who can stuff more letters in a recruits’ mailbox and why every visit — official or unofficial — is now a well-choreographed show.

It’s also why Vols coach Butch Jones appears to be engaged in some sort of online scavenger hunt with elite defensive tackle prospect Kahlil McKenzie. See for yourself:


Kahlil McKenzie posted this message with the photo above: “Found the first bucket!! @UTCoachJones is counting down the days till July 10th different location everyday!!”

July 10 is the day McKenzie says he will decide between Tennessee and Arizona. Most expect the consensus five-star prospect to pick the Vols because of his family ties to Knoxville. McKenzie’s father Reggie, the general manager of the Oakland Raiders, is a Knoxville native and Vol standout. So is his uncle, Reggie’s twin brother, Raleigh.

But Jones clearly isn’t taking McKenzie’s decision for granted. That means 36 more days of this, presumably. Let’s hope Jones and his staff have some more ideas under his hat.

Adam ‘Pacman’ Jones speaks to Vols football team

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — NFL cornerback Adam “Pacman” Jones spoke to the Tennessee football team on Wednesday, according to a tweet from the athletic department.

Jones played at West Virginia, where Vols coach Butch Jones was once an assistant.

Pacman is one of several speakers the coach brings in during the offseason.

Considered one of the league’s top cornerbacks, Pacman might be better known for his off-field issues. But Butch Jones said that makes him a compelling speaker.

“It’s all about character education and really developing individuals to be men,” Butch Jones said to media earlier this month at a Tennessee caravan event. And really it’s all facets of life. I’ve known Adam Jones for a very long time. … I know every year he speaks at the NFL rookie symposium and has done a tremendous job. I’m very proud of how far Pacman has come.”

With QB a priority, Vols in battle for 5-star Torrance Gibson

Torrance Gibson (photo by 247Sports, a KNS partner)

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Riley Ferguson‘s departure has highlighted Tennessee’s need for another quarterback in the Class of 2015.

There are few bigger targets than dual-threat quarterback Torrance GibsonAuburn and Tennessee are leading the seven-team race for his signature. Helpfully, Gibson has been tweeting and blogging about the recruiting process.

247Sports recruiting analyst Ryan Callahan chatted about Gibson’s visit to Auburn in today’s installment of GVX Audio. Gibson could visit Tennessee as soon as this weekend, but Callahan said the race should continue for some time.

The Vols already have Jauan Jennings in the fold. He’s a four-star athlete from Murfreesboro who is being recruited by most schools as a quarterback. Many think he could also be an elite college safety.

Butch Jones on fans at clinic: ‘The women here, they know their football’ (video)

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — The 275 women who participated in Saturday’s women’s clinic at Tennessee not only learned a lot in classrooms, they worked hard on the field.

I got exhausted just watching the ladies run through drills at Neyland Stadium, but they held up well. (Better, I daresay, than a group of sports writers would).

Butch Jones, who hosted the event with his wife Barb, said he hopes to do it every year.

I’ll have a larger story and more photos on the event online on Sunday and in Monday’s News Sentinel.

Butch Jones wishes Riley Ferguson well, but focusing on current players

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — If there’s even a sliver of hope that quarterback Riley Ferguson will return to the Tennessee football team, coach Butch Jones is doing nothing to encourage it.

Asked about Ferguson on Saturday night, Jones said “We wish him well,” but that he preferred to talk about the players who were on the team.

That does not include Ferguson.

UT could choose to place restrictions on Ferguson’s transfer, but I’m told no decision has been made on that front yet.

Ferguson hasn’t made a public statement (or tweet) since news of his departure became public, but the assumption is that he would like to join his brother at the start-up football program at UNC-Charlotte.

Tennessee roster update: Walk-ons come and go, plus new numbers

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Tennessee has added several new walk-ons, including a Vol legacy from Bearden High School and a transfer receiver from Virginia.

Tennessee also deleted several players from the official roster and assigned numbers to others.

First, seven walk-ons who participated in spring practice are no longer on the roster:

* Linebacker Michael Cantwell, a fourth-year junior from Morristown.

* Cornerback David Priddy, a second-year player from Hendersonville.

* Receiver Jaye Rochelle, a second-year player from Norcross, Ga.

* Linebacker Nikolay Timoshchuk, a third-year player from Chattanooga. (Timoshchuk was added back to the roster on Saturday, so his deletion may have been in error).

* Long snapper Andrew Henry, a fourth-year junior from Gallatin.

* Punter Trevor Daniel, a second-year player from Dickson.

* Linebacker Gage Beeler, a second-year player from Knoxville.

* Senior running back Deanthonie Summerhill has been moved to the bottom of the roster and no long has a number. He could become a player-coach or a volunteer coach this year.

Here are the new walk-ons:

* Isaiah McDaniel, a defensive back from Knoxville’s Bearden High, and son of former Vol Terry McDaniel.

* No. 89 Adrian Gamble, a receiver who transferred from Virginia.

* No. 45 Jase Stubbs, a fullback from Covington, La.

* No. 35 Troy Waites, a punter from Hattiesburg, Miss.

* No. 30 Bryson Durden, a defensive back from McDonough, Ga.

Finally, here are the new numbers.

* Freshman Ethan Wolf has switched from No. 88 to No. 82.

* The 17 new enrollees have been assigned new numbers. You can check all those out here, on the master summer roster.