UT may save money by sitting out bowl season

University of Tennessee netted about $80,000 from the football team's trip to the Music City Bowl last year in Nashville. This year, with a 5-7 record, they will pocket nothing. Pictured are programs from the last five bowl games in which the Vols played. (Paul Efird/News Sentinel)

Photo by Paul Efird

University of Tennessee netted about $80,000 from the football team's trip to the Music City Bowl last year in Nashville. This year, with a 5-7 record, they will pocket nothing. Pictured are programs from the last five bowl games in which the Vols played. (Paul Efird/News Sentinel)

As two conference peers prepare to suit up for an all-SEC national championship showdown, Tennessee is spending its postseason on the bench. But while the team's ego may be bruised, its pocketbook could be thicker.

UT has recorded a financial deficit from trips to three of the last four bowl games its played. Last season, when the Vols went to the nearby Music City Bowl in Nashville, was the exception.

This year the team will likely see an uptick in its Southeastern Conference bowl share thanks to the success of others and will record no expenditures for the postseason trip.

"This year we'll get our pool money without having any expenses of having gone to a bowl," said Chris Fuller, senior associate athletic director. "Obviously, we would have preferred to have gone to a bowl for a number of reasons, but financially the equal revenue distribution in the league protects everybody."

Last year's payout from just the combined conference bowls was $2.53 million, and having two teams in the top bowl game could up those numbers this year.

UT expects to see between $17 million and $18 million in conference revenues, which includes the bowl payouts and television contracts. Last year's projections hovered around $15 million, and next year's could increase even more with the addition of Missouri and Texas A&M to the conference.

BALANCING BUDGETS

As for its own postseason success, over the last four bowl games — one trip each to the Music City Bowl and Chick-fil-A Bowl and back-to-back appearances at the Outback Bowl — UT has made as much as $80,608 and lost as much as $344,005.

That may be a small blip in a $100 million budget, but when money is lost in the bowl, it has to be made up somewhere else. For UT Athletics, it means shifting resources to provide bonuses to coaches and staff during a winning season.

Last year's bonuses totaled $276,260, which were similar to bonuses over the last four winning seasons — save for 2007 when UT won the SEC East and the bonuses topped out at $458,340.

"We plan for a deficit including bonuses," said Bill Myers, chief financial officer for athletics. "We know how much money we're going to receive from the bowl, from our allotment, from our travel allowance and we say, 'Look, we're just trying to break even.' If we can come in and make a little money, then great. But that's not our goal."

Revenue from a bowl appearance comes in like this: the school gets a allotment, a mileage allowance for travel, and occasionally a ticket guarantee from the conference. The SEC also gets a portion of each bowl payout, which it then pools and divides into 13 equal shares — one for each team and one for the conference.

For the Music City Bowl, UT received $1.125 million in its distribution from the bowl, $76,076 from its share of the SEC payout and $36,000 in mileage.

The team saved money over previous bowls by driving instead of flying, and by staying at the hotel five days instead of the required seven at the Outback and Chick-fil-A bowls.

"We have a meeting and say the band is going to stay here this many nights, and the team is going to this many nights, and the official party is going to come in on this day," Myers said. "We have contracts. People don't realize that the bowl controls the contracts — you're going to stay at this hotel this many nights, you're going to buy this many tickets and if you don't sell those tickets, you still owe us."

In Nashville, the team racked up $291,262 in team hotel expenses; $74,227 in player meals and per diems; staff travel and per diems for $98,571; and $92,053.65 in band travel and expenses.

There were bowl gifts to players — $325 gift cards to Best Buy — for $42,550; complimentary tickets the department purchased for $115,780; and $15,312 for media guides.

In all, the athletic department spent $1,156,467 to send its football team to Nashville.

The money left over went into the athletic department's general fund.

INTANGIBLES

Not going to a bowl has implications beyond the payout, of course. There's the exposure, marketing, licensing — though UT officials insist the latter is negligible.

"The only winning that impacts you is winning huge, like national championship huge," Fuller said. Licensing from last year across the entire UT brand was $3.15 million, about 40 percent of which goes to the athletic department.

Last year, from jersey sales in every sport totaled $68,000. "It's nickels and dimes," Fuller said.

Fuller also downplayed the marketing value of having the team on television for three hours during the game and in the postseason conversations running up to it. Tennessee has played in 49 bowls, third nationwide behind the universities of Alabama and Texas.

"The exposure has value for sure and Tennessee is typically a program that rates very high when it comes to television," Fuller said. "I don't think necessarily missing one bowl season impacts you tremendously from an exposure or prestige standpoint."

Mostly, he said, it's disappointing for the players and it's a letdown for a restless fan base that expects its team to play in the postseason. It also means there's no head start for next season.

"Obviously from a competitive side, we'd have, I think, another 15 days of practice which really helps you get started on next season," Fuller said. "But your time as a competitive student athlete, your time is so short, so that's where it registers for me is those guys have worked so hard, and they've endured a lot with our coaching changes and transitions, that we would have loved to have the chance for those seniors to suit up one last time."

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Comments » 78

SummittsCourt writes:

There you go, that's putting a positive spin on a injury plaqued, brutally scheduled 5-7 season that ended in a big thud.

tnfanincali writes:

Wow!! This is some thrilling stuff!!!
Seriously though, aside from national signing day, spring practice, and the occasional bar brawl, this is all we have to look forward to for a few months. Maybe one of our offensive linemen will get arrested for waving his arms or something haha... Anybody remember that one from a few years back?
How about some articles about recruiting. Who we are after, what our chances are, who is still available, you know investigatory journalism...

SummittsCourt writes:

in response to tnfanincali:

Wow!! This is some thrilling stuff!!!
Seriously though, aside from national signing day, spring practice, and the occasional bar brawl, this is all we have to look forward to for a few months. Maybe one of our offensive linemen will get arrested for waving his arms or something haha... Anybody remember that one from a few years back?
How about some articles about recruiting. Who we are after, what our chances are, who is still available, you know investigatory journalism...

Good thoughts, but nobody that writes for KNS has ever heard of journalism, let alone something meaningful like recruiting.

lomas98 writes:

Funny how the NCAA will allow a bowl to give players expensive gifts, but someone can't give these kids $20 for a dinner or they are ineligible. It's no secret that most schools lose money on bowl games.....I have heard a lot of the schools in the bcs games lose a lot more unless playing in the championship. Maybe Dooley was trying to save the school some money by losing to ky??

BigVolinCarolina writes:

The obvious solution: aim high and get into one of the higher-paying bowls so as to offset expenses in greater proportion. Your expenses on a bowl trip are going to be similar no matter where bowl is; therefore, win more games and get to a better payout--helps the conference overall and, ultimately, the Vols financially and recruiting-wise.

Voltillyafall writes:

Wow...what a compelling article. By all means, let's not go to any more bowl games. There is nothing more important than the bottom line.

Signed,
Mike Hamilton

CityVol1 writes:

in response to 10seVol85:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I can't imagine a more brutal way to spend NYE: In Memphis watching Cincy-Vandy in a bowl game. Will there be 30,000 there?

dvols writes:

i will save money....

and that is a definate plus!

been totally screwed the last few bowls!!!

and what happens to me is what is most important!

wigmeister writes:

What a relief! We are saving money! Hallelujah! Finely something is going right with the major sports programs! Let the good times roll!!! Doesn't get any better than this!

JimmyJoe writes:

Hey if it means we save money... I'm for just staying home every year!

nocleats writes:

So spend the savings trying to find some mean nasty dirty stud Dtackles!!

oldster writes:

If UT is eager to save money, then perhaps they should cancel all their home games next year, especially those vs. non-SEC opponents. How many people will attend those games?

oldster writes:

in response to Voltillyafall:

Wow...what a compelling article. By all means, let's not go to any more bowl games. There is nothing more important than the bottom line.

Signed,
Mike Hamilton

Bullseye!

UT-fan-in-New-Mexico writes:

in response to tnfanincali:

Wow!! This is some thrilling stuff!!!
Seriously though, aside from national signing day, spring practice, and the occasional bar brawl, this is all we have to look forward to for a few months. Maybe one of our offensive linemen will get arrested for waving his arms or something haha... Anybody remember that one from a few years back?
How about some articles about recruiting. Who we are after, what our chances are, who is still available, you know investigatory journalism...

You can get the recruiting info by PAYING for the 24/7 they SELL you from KNS or from ESPN insider where you can keep up with every team in the country.

justafan4ut writes:

It's funny that the staff spent more than the band, doesn't the band have many more people than the staff? Just thinking. That's probably my problem. Huh????????

Pullingguard writes:

Now we know why we lost to KY...It was a saving money procedure..No Win...No Bowl.. Save Money....

volmeat writes:

Most teams lose money from going to bowl games, but they also get two extra weeks of practice. Considering how young the Vols are, that's an even bigger loss.

GloryDays writes:

This is a good example of a "losers mentality".

born2ride writes:

Another moral victory.

NottaVol writes:

in response to volmeat:

Most teams lose money from going to bowl games, but they also get two extra weeks of practice. Considering how young the Vols are, that's an even bigger loss.

I bet if Dave Hart petitioned to the SEC for Tennessee to be allowed to practice like they were going to a bowl that no other coaches or AD's would object. Lord knows they need it. Exposure has no price tag. But on the other hand Tennessee has been exposed enough for one year.

blackoutcuffem1592 writes:

This is an absolutely pointless article. In this girls defense I guess there really is nothing else to write about but I do know this is not it.

dirislr#209355 writes:

in response to SummittsCourt:

Good thoughts, but nobody that writes for KNS has ever heard of journalism, let alone something meaningful like recruiting.

You don't have to read this stuff.

THEKIDWISCONSIN writes:

That's supposed to make me feel better? Why would you even waste the time to write an article like that?

Yep, crazy thought...don't suck & you actually go to a bowl game that makes you money!

And as for an article on recruiting...no, no silly...the KNS would have you pay for that information via their 247-site where you can read the egotistical ramblings of one Wes Rucker...of course, all that recruiting info is out there for free if you take a little time to look for it.

volaholic45 writes:

I'm watching or channel-surfing by bowl games and thinking "There's two teams that made the grade the Vols couldn't." Each game one more little body-blow or jab for Vols fans.

The left upper-cut will be seeing Vandy go against Cinci, the only two bowl teams that the Vols beat in the regular season, and the knock-out punch will be seeing LSU and Bama, two teams that beat our brains out, in the NC.

VOODOOley-2011 (Inactive) writes:

I know as a fan, I'm saving money by not going to a Tennessee Bowl this year; spending a lot of money, and watch them just go through the motions like they were playing Kentucky all over again.

arkyvol writes:

"UT may save money by sitting out bowl season"

not to mention saving face.

keep double d long enough and UT may end up as one of the more valuable programs.

crmcm44#321757 writes:

The only reason to lose money on a bowl trip is all the VIP free loaders that tag along. A great deal of the football revenue has been lost due to extremely poor decisions made by people who are management wonks.

Sir_Spanky writes:

in response to GloryDays:

This is a good example of a "losers mentality".

"The Vanderbilt Paradigm"

JayTee writes:

in response to crmcm44#321757:

The only reason to lose money on a bowl trip is all the VIP free loaders that tag along. A great deal of the football revenue has been lost due to extremely poor decisions made by people who are management wonks.

BINGO!!! We have a winner.

sec_fan writes:

in response to Sir_Spanky:

"The Vanderbilt Paradigm"

Isn't Vanderbilt in a bowl game. I am sure Coach Franklin is showing that bag of swag and the trip to Memphis to his recruits.

NashvillePreds writes:

It was fun while it lasted UT fans. We're done for a loooooooooooong time.
An excuse-based, woe is me culture is evident in Knoxville, starting from the,"head coach" on down.
It's been like this for years now, and we're going to be scrapping the bottom for the foreseeable future.
I remember the DE from McCallie (forget his name, but he and Gerald Riggs Jr were buddies) referring to being a UT football player as nothing but, "work" when I was there.
We have no chance when our coach is a crybaby, and our "best" players only want to get back to California/Georgia to sit in the sun.
The people whom should care, don't.
As fans, why should we?

Olcrow writes:

Winning is overrated don't be jealous of Vandy just remember they're going broke,we still beat'em and get last laughs!

xd9x19 writes:

I thought getting rid of Fulmer was supposed to make things better?

orangeman1 writes:

in response to xd9x19:

I thought getting rid of Fulmer was supposed to make things better?

So did alot of other people that were obviously wrong.

MemphisHog writes:

in response to justafan4ut:

It's funny that the staff spent more than the band, doesn't the band have many more people than the staff? Just thinking. That's probably my problem. Huh????????

Don't forget that UT decided not to pay for the band to go to Fayetteville this year due to "budgetary concerns." Maybe somebody needs to audit the UT athletic department. Seems there's not enough money available to pay for things all the other big time programs are doing.

ACWLY writes:

And to think, I questioned Dooley's substance as a coach when he insinuated how not going to a bowl game maybe a productive thing! HE WAS RIGHT ALL ALONG, WOW!
WELL, maybe fans NOT GOING to season games will also pay off for Tennessee.. WE WILL SOON SEE!

STLVOLS writes:

in response to BIVOLAR_BEAR:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

1986 or so. Vinnie Testaverde was Mimi QB and Vols beat Miami. Those were the days.

Artistspot writes:

in response to xd9x19:

I thought getting rid of Fulmer was supposed to make things better?

someone sold us a load of SHI&

STLVOLS writes:

OK, it is a very slow news day. Se where The Chimp that played Cheetah in some of the old Tarzan movies with Johnny W. just died at 80?? No joke. Died at sanctauray in FL.

ProfessionalHandicapper writes:

How do you put a price tag on seniors who were recruited to play for coaches like Fulmer and Chavis and end up being the class that lost to Kentucky for the first time in 20+years, and never won a Bowl, plus sat home after their senior year. When Vandy wins Saturday they will have two Bowl wins in the last 5 years while UT has none. The tables have turned and now UT rides the coat tales of Vandy. Vandy had a final four baseball team, a NCAA Tourney Basketball team, and a Bowl Team in football in 2011. They also had 80 combined wins in the three sports. UT had a putrid 56 wins, no Bowl team and an NCAA team in basketball that was embarrased by a 30 point blowout loss. Don't scoff at the 80 wins by Vandy last year in baseball,basketball and football as only Florida had more wins than Vandy in the three major mens sports. Ut has not had a Final Four team since 1998 with Fulmer in those named sports. Vandy is "The University of Tennessee". Sit home and enjoy the revenue Vandy hands UT. Go join the WAC, as Vandy heard for years from UT fans. It's not so much fun when you become the butt of the jokes huh

MemphisHog writes:

in response to STLVOLS:

OK, it is a very slow news day. Se where The Chimp that played Cheetah in some of the old Tarzan movies with Johnny W. just died at 80?? No joke. Died at sanctauray in FL.

I saw that. Who knew? Cheetah outlasted Tarzan and Jane by about 40 years. I read that one of his favorite hobbies in his later years was watching football on TV (no joke). No word on whether he was a Vols fan.

STLVOLS writes:

in response to MemphisHog:

I saw that. Who knew? Cheetah outlasted Tarzan and Jane by about 40 years. I read that one of his favorite hobbies in his later years was watching football on TV (no joke). No word on whether he was a Vols fan.

I used to watch all those Tarzan Johnny W. films. Cheetah had a lasting impact with me from childhood, as well as Johnny and Jane. I was reading about what Cheetah was throwing in final years and that is what I have felt like throwing in past 4 years watching Vols.

However,onward to the future and hoping that Vols come out their long transitional period to stability. A toast to Cheetah and his fan base.

tonyvick#213307 writes:

Lose and get UT in the black. The team seems to have that down.

SevenT writes:

The last two Bowl games were humiliating. Getting completely blown out by Va Tech two years ago then abused by a basketball school (North Carolina) last year. Good thing the Vols are taking a year or two off from Bowl games.

DavidB writes:

So now ProfessionalHandicapper is a Vandy fan. Wow, this dude just never gives up or makes up his mind which team he is for or against.

As for the article, call me slow but I didnt realize the teams that didnt make a bowl game actually got that much money. For me I would rather lose the money going to a bowl game (and winning) to send my seniors off on the right note.

MemphisHog writes:

in response to STLVOLS:

I used to watch all those Tarzan Johnny W. films. Cheetah had a lasting impact with me from childhood, as well as Johnny and Jane. I was reading about what Cheetah was throwing in final years and that is what I have felt like throwing in past 4 years watching Vols.

However,onward to the future and hoping that Vols come out their long transitional period to stability. A toast to Cheetah and his fan base.

As long as we're off topic and talking chimpanzees.....

Anybody remember the old Saturday morning show, "Lancelot Link"? Probably late '60s early '70s. A bunch of dressed up chimps solving crimes.

navarrebeachvol writes:

in response to MemphisHog:

I saw that. Who knew? Cheetah outlasted Tarzan and Jane by about 40 years. I read that one of his favorite hobbies in his later years was watching football on TV (no joke). No word on whether he was a Vols fan.

word was he was a professional handicapper...

ProfessionalHandicapper writes:

in response to DavidB:

So now ProfessionalHandicapper is a Vandy fan. Wow, this dude just never gives up or makes up his mind which team he is for or against.

As for the article, call me slow but I didnt realize the teams that didnt make a bowl game actually got that much money. For me I would rather lose the money going to a bowl game (and winning) to send my seniors off on the right note.

Sir you have no idea what you are talking about..I have posted many times I am a Vandy fan. But in my profession I cant really be a FAN of anyone as when you become a fan you become blind and stupid. I posted for almost two years on the way Vandy and Belmont do things right. My son also graduated from UT in the spring. Until UT decides to pay great coaches very good wages they will remain a doormat in SEC sports. The happiest people that Dooley coaches UT are the La Tech fans who love Sonny Dikes. In two years he made La Tech a good team and did very well in the near Bowl win this year, thus getting a huge raise and extension. Dykes also turned down the Houston job after Sumlin left. Don't worry UT is very safe with Dooley, nobody else wants him.

navarrebeachvol writes:

in response to MemphisHog:

As long as we're off topic and talking chimpanzees.....

Anybody remember the old Saturday morning show, "Lancelot Link"? Probably late '60s early '70s. A bunch of dressed up chimps solving crimes.

Loved that show. Lance was played by Tongo. Mata Hairi was his sidekick. The writers had written for "Get Smart", thus the similar plots and acronyms. Link worked for A.P.E., the Agency to Prevent Evil, in an ongoing conflict with the evil organization C.H.U.M.P., the Criminal Headquarters for the Underworld's Master Plan. They sometimes used peanut butter to get their lips to smack with the voice over. Kind of like the professional handicrapper....

MemphisHog writes:

in response to navarrebeachvol:

Loved that show. Lance was played by Tongo. Mata Hairi was his sidekick. The writers had written for "Get Smart", thus the similar plots and acronyms. Link worked for A.P.E., the Agency to Prevent Evil, in an ongoing conflict with the evil organization C.H.U.M.P., the Criminal Headquarters for the Underworld's Master Plan. They sometimes used peanut butter to get their lips to smack with the voice over. Kind of like the professional handicrapper....

HA! I do remember the "Get Smart" style but I had never really thought about it. I'll bet that show would still be pretty funny and wouldn't seem too dated.

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