Athletics budgets 27 percent increase in revenue, record ticket sales, higher fees

DES MARKS | Daily Evergreen File

A new budget plan released by WSU Athletics on Thursday counts on student fees doubling by fiscal year 2022 to help address the more than $60 million deficit facing the department.

The plan, released ahead of next week’s WSU Board of Regents meeting where the group plans on addressing the deficit before the end of June as required by state law, said the department will erase the annual debt by fiscal year 2023 but the cumulative deficit will reach $84.9 million by then. The plan also said the department will have a surplus of $200,000 at the end of that fiscal year.

Joan King, WSU’s chief university budget officer, said after athletics achieves a balanced budget they plan on building up their reserves and repaying the university’s central reserves.

In the plan athletics will present to the Board of Regents next week, the department highlights four principles to “building a fiscally sound athletics program.” The first principle states, “the WSU community must solve the challenges.”

King said the department plans on implementing a mandatory student fee with approval from ASWSU. However, she said there is not currently a plan for how much the fee would charge each student per semester.

“We are anticipating that we will work with our students to implement a new fee that has not been determined of course,” she said. “Of course, we will have to work with our students before that could be implemented.”

The ASWSU Senate would have to pass a resolution to put the fee to a student vote, which if passed, would make the fee mandatory. In February, the ASWSU Senate struck down a proposal by Athletics to put a referendum on the ballot to make the $265 student sports pass mandatory.

“We are not here to make excuses,” Director of Athletics Pat Chun said in a news release. “We are here to move forward, take fiscal responsibility and provide a world-class student-athlete experience.” 

The plans relies on increasing revenue by 27 percent by fiscal fear 2023 “while continuing to contain expenses,” according to a WSU news release. However, Chun did not name a specific area the department would look at to decrease expenditures.

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